“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Mince pie filling „
Today I made my practice batch of mince pies ready for Christmas. I always like to make a "practice" batch, not because I need the practice, but more because my family like mince pies.....and as we put the tree up today, I thought it would be nice to start getting us into the Christmas mood. I used the mince pies using Just Rol pastry and Tesco's Finest Mincemeat - and so it really was low energy expenditure on my behalf! A glass jar that contains 411g of the mincemeat concoction costs just £1.96 from Tesco - which I think is a pretty great price, especially for such a luxurious mix.
The mincement contains a generous proportion of fruit, namely sultanas, raisins, apples, glace cherries, and citrus rind and then marinated with spices, brandy and ruby port. It has that exact right balance of flavours that has that festive taste that I've never been able to replicate when I make it from scratch! The largest proportion of fruit is the sultanas but it is possible to identify the individual flavours really well and there is not one overwhelming flavour - which I think is a mark of things being mixed in exactly the right proportions. The mixture tastes rich and not overly sweet and the spices really help to lift it to the next level.
Overall, I do recommend Tesco's Finest Mincemeat because it is a luxurious quality product but the price is very reasonable. Oh....and the mince pies were lovely!
WHY WOULD I BUY MINCEMEAT?
Well over Christmas I thought I'd make some cheat mince pies... using my shortcrust Jus Rol pastry. So I went on a hunt for some mincemeat in the cake section in Tesco. I picked up Tesco's Finest since it wasn't too much more than the ordinary mincemeat and I knew it was going to taste far better.
IS IT ACTUALLY MINCE AS IN MEAT?
No of course not, I do not fill my mince pies with real meat. One of my housemates actually thought it was meat, with her being vegetarian she probably would not pick up a jar saying mincemeat even if it was in the cake aisle.
IS THIS JAR APPEALING TO THE EYE
Well the jar is pretty basic, just a clear jar with mincemeat in and a Tesco Finest label on. But the picture of mince pies on the front certainly wet my appetite when I picked the jar up. It certainly looks festive if I cannot compliment the look of the jar in any other way.
SO WHAT DOES THIS JAR OF STUFF ACTUALLY CONTAIN?
Well I feel like this is the time to actually give all the main ingredients in the jar since I found it quite interesting to know when I read through them myself. It also gives you ideas on what to include if you make the mincemeat from scratch.
In order of largest percentage in the mincemeat:
- sultanas with a whopping 23%
- sugar, apple and raisins making 7%
- glacé cherries with 6% which I really love in the mincemeat to give it that added sweetness
- currants 4.5% which I cannot actually distinguish in the mincemeat from the rest of the ingredients
- a sweet glucose - fructose syrup and port makes up 3% and to be more precise it is ruby port - that must be where the Tesco Finest badge adds its name
- candied mixed peel - which again will give similar tastes to the glace cherries with 3%
- brandy 2.5% - although that is not a huge percentage along with the port I have to say that when taken out of the oven they do smell quite alcoholic and they taste a little bit alcoholic - perhaps I am not hugely accustomed to alcohol at the young age I am (cough), but my dad buys the luxury Marks and Spencers Mince pies - he says that no other mince pies beat them, however, I find them overpoweringly alcoholic... Which is obviously why my dad loves them!
So altogether I have explained 49% of the making of this mincemeat. The other 51% contains very minute amounts of the followings:Vegetable suet, acetic acid, water, treacle (to give it that gooey stickiness - mmm), cinnamon and nutmeg (to give that gorgeous Christmassy smell and taste to it). Colourings and of course preservatives.
MY HORRENDOUSLY DIFFICULT MINCE PIE RECIPE
Firstly defrost Jus Rol shortcrust pastry... or make your own pastry. Then cut the pastry out with a medium circular pastry cutter and line a cake tin with these pastry circles in the holes. Then add a tablespoon of mincemeat to each one. Then cut out some slightly smaller pastry circles to put on the top of the mince pies... and sprinkle with sugar... and VOILA! (Ok maybe that was a pretty easy cheats way of making mince pies). They taste divine by the way especially when removed from the oven piping hot. They smell great too! I'd say the jar makes about 8 quite large mince pies or 12 slightly smaller ones.
HOW MUCH DOES THE FINEST MINCEMEAT COST?
It cost £1.98 for 411g. In my opinion 411g is a very strange amount to have in one jar but still it is not badly priced. It would cost a lot more to buy all the individual ingredients to make this up yourself. However, if you often make mince pies or other recipes containing mince meat then it may be better value to buy the ingredients separately and make bigger batches or just store the ingredients since most of them will store in the cupboard for a long time.
WAS IT FIRST CLASS MINCEMEAT?
...It certainly tasted like it. I would not buy any other mincemeat. This one is so delicious that there would be no need for me to try another brand. I am always so surprised by supermarket own brand products.
Tesco Finest mincemeat certainly made me the finest mince pies I have ever had! Just the right amount of alcohol for my taste. Perhaps not enough for those who buy supermarket mince pies that contain a little more alcohol. But I suppose more alcohol could be added to the mixture.