Mince pies baked by Thomas the Bakers have been applauded by consumer magazine Good Housekeeping.

The festive treats were awarded 73/100 for their homemade appearance, fruity filling and thin pastry, putting them in the runner-up position, just off the top spot.

The influential magazine tested 165 festive foods this year, including 19 mince pies from all the big-name supermarkets and high-end retailers.

The independent, family-run Yorkshire bakery beat stiff competition from third-placed Tesco Finest, Asda Extra Special in fourth and Bettys’ Classic in fifth, to secure a strong second position with only Heston from Waitrose scoring higher points.

General manager Simon Thomas said: “Winning the official approval of the Good Housekeeping Institute is an amazing achievement for us. It’s like Santa’s come early this year and given us the gift at the top of our wish list.

“We’ve worked very hard to get our mince pies just right, putting together the perfect combination of tender, crumbly pastry and sweet yet sharp filling. To receive this level of national recognition is very sweet indeed.” 

Thomas the Baker products have hit the top 10 in four separate high-profile taste tests in 2012, out-scoring premium ranges from top names like Marks & Spencer, Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, and have won a further 10 independent taste tests over the years.