Taste tested: 2023’s flavoured mince pies
Mince pies are one of the great traditions of Christmas – so much so that, for some people, eating the first mince pie of the year signifies the start of the festive season. While mince pie fans might believe there’s no improving a classic, retailers annually compete to create new takes on the traditional festive treat, making mince pies in all sorts of flavours, from frangipane to tiramisu and salted caramel – and not all of them are successes.
The delicious. team put 12 flavoured mince pies from 10 major retailers to the test – including gin, amaretto, Irish cream and black forest flavours – to determine if any of these additions really do improve a classic mince pie. Testing was conducted blind and without packaging, so tasters didn’t know who produced each product or how much it cost. Keep scrolling to discover our pick of the most intriguing flavoured mince pies for 2023. What do you reckon Father Christmas would think of a bakewell mince pie?
We were looking for pies that held their shape and had a satisfying bite. Golden, tender, short and buttery pastry adds to the appeal and the mincemeat inside should be juicy with a good balance of textures and well judged sweetness and acidity. A good pie needs a pleasing ratio of filling to pastry, enhanced (rather than overshadowed) by extras such as frangipane or icing – it still has to be recognisable as a mince pie. We’re always open to variations in flavour and presentation, but in our view additions need to complement the whole and leave a pleasant aftertaste – no lingering flavour of synthetic almond essence, please! Here’s our pick of the pies…
The 4 most interesting flavoured mince pies
Morrisons The Best Cherry Bakewell Mince Pies
The top-ranking pie of those we tested, Morrisons’ twist on the classic features a cherry mincemeat filling topped with a layer of frangipane sponge and flaked almonds. It received the highest average score from our testers, who liked its cake-like frangipane and noted that the almond flavour didn’t seem synthetic. Available from Morrisons (£2.50 for 6/235g)
Waitrose No.1 Crumble Top Mince Pies with Cranberry & Orange
Waitrose’s alternative pies include mincemeat with orange oil, cranberry purée and a sweet crumble. They were praised for their prettiness and textured topping – although they reminded one tester of a jam tart. The taste split opinion: most liked the filling but some wanted more oomph from the flavour, while others weren’t so keen on the berry twist. Available from Waitrose (£3.75 for 6/358g)
Lidl Amaretto Mince Tarts
These bakewell-esque tarts from Lidl feature an amaretto-spiked mincemeat. Testers commented on the toothsome texture and attractive finish. The almond flavour is intense but some found the pies too sweet, wanting more fruit filling and for it to be sharper. Available from Lidl (£2.49 for 6)
ASDA Extra Special 6 Brown Butter & Rum Mince Pies
Asda’s take on the classic features a splash of booze and brown butter to add a nutty taste. Testers praised the buttery pastry and the mincemeat’s fruitiness, but would have preferred more fruit. They could taste the rum, along with subtle bitterness and citrus flavour. Available from Asda (£2.75 for 6)
Fancy making your own flavoured mince pies? Try our easy clementine and sloe gin-flavoured recipe, which jazzes up shop-bought mincemeat with a few simple additions. Or, browse the rest of our mince pie ideas.
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