Mince pies hold a special place in the hearts of the British public, comforting, portable and one of the few British Christmas bakes only a few “don’t really like”. British Baker takes a look at 10 great places to buy these little pieces of festive heaven:
Gail’s Artisan Bakery – London
The special touch to these pies is the sour cream used in the pastry, making it very rich and crumbly. The mincemeat is also high-class, made in August and fed with brandy over the following months. Each pie is completed with a snowy dusting of icing sugar.
Harrods – London
Topping a recent Which? poll to find the best own-label mince pies, Harrods’ Classic Mince Pies with Brandy are the archetypal classic pie with a full lid and brandy-spiked filling.
Cinnamon Square – Hertfordshire
Cinnamon Square’s secret recipe mincemeat is what makes these pies truly special, winning them a Great Taste Awards gold star in 2008. The pies are star topped to allow the filling to peek through and are a hearty snack at four inches in diameter. For 2015, the bakery used the mince pie as a base for its innovative, British Baker Christmas Star-winning Mince Pie Pud, which stacked two pies with caramel and festive-spice flavoured pastry on top of each other to form the shape of a Christmas pudding.
Warings – Berkshire and Hampshire
Another variation on the topping comes from Warings, which adds a Viennese whirl top to a classic mince pie. So popular are they with customers that last year they outsold Waring’s regular mince pies.
Patisserie Mark Bennett – Dorset
Multi-award winning Patisserie Mark Bennett brings a unique offering with its German Mince Pie. A layer of mincemeat in a shortcrust case is topped with cream cheese before being finished off with a crumble topping.
Warrens Bakery – West Country
Warrens Bakery created a mince pie pasty this year in an attempt to do something a bit different while celebrating the business’ Cornish roots. The cocktail-sized, hand-crimped pastry cases are filled with custard and mincemeat and finished with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.
Pullin’s Bakery – Somerset
Bramley apples makes the mincemeat in Pullin’s’ deep Artisan Mince Pies stand out. The mixture also includes orange zest, cranberries and brandy and the lids are an unusual inversion of star topper, with a star-shaped hole putting the filling on show.
Bettys – North Yorkshire
Bettys’ Speciality Mince Pies come in two varieties of luxury topping. In each box of 12, six are topped with frangipane and the rest ricciarelli, an almond-based Italian macaroon. Those with more traditional tastes can buy Bettys Classic Mince Pies, which use the same mincemeat made with sherry-soaked vine fruits, golden cherries, almonds, stem ginger and seasonal spices but are topped with pastry stars.
Walkers – National
Shortbread bakers Walkers has gone with a something a little different with its Orange and Cranberry Mince Pies, with the mincemeat offering a sharp, tangy mincemeat to act as a counterpart to the rich pastry. A crumble topping completes the pies.
Heston from Waitrose – National
Heston Blumenthal going anywhere near a mince pie was always going to divide the crowd and that is exactly what happened with his Spiced Shortcrust Mince Pies. A basic mince pie is vamped up with the addition of lemon curd, rosewater and apple puree, along with a sachet of tangerine sugar to sprinkle on at home. Views range from “different and delicious” to “absolutely vile”.