“ Food Type: Pies / Manufacturer: Marks & Spencer „
Ok the title is a little odd but as strange as it may seem eating mice pies on Christmas day is actually against the law. It dates back to Oliver Cromwell who made them illegal as he saw them as a form of gluttony. It is just that the law has never been repealed. Although no-one has been prosecuted under it since the restoration of the Monarchy. Anyway, I have to say I am not a fan of mince pies (as I have said in my profile) and I tended to eat my mum's and gran's home made ones out of politeness than anything else. An 'old wives tale' once told to me was that if you took the lid off and there was a current stuck to the inside of it it was meant to bring you good fortune in the new year. This has never worked for me but then again neither does any other 'good luck' sign. I think one of the reasons I dislike mince pies is that I am not a big lover of pastry. And in mince pies if this is wrong then the whole pie is ruined. Also poor quality mincemeat can also be a problem as much as the lack of alcohol in the fruit. This bugs me almost as much as the cart load of sugar all shop bought ones have dumped all over them. This usually gets scraped off before I'll even consider eating them. These pies: Well as pastry is not one of my favorite things when I saw these in my local M&S I thought I would give them a go. They were on offer when I bought mine at £1.75 and I did not see the 'full price' anywhere. The main reason why I went for them is that I thought that the puff pastry would be lighter and so would be less of a problem for me. Well I got them home and opened the box of six I had bought. They are a fairly standard size of mince pie but much lighter than the ordinary ones. There was my pet hate of sugar sprinkles over the top but it wasn't overloaded with it. Smell/taste: Well the smell all I can detect is the butter in the pastry so this is a good indication that the fruits haven't been soaked in any alcohol so it isn't a premium mincemeat that has been used. There is also little in the way of a fruity smell which also did not bode well. Still this was the pie unbroken or bitten into so I wasn't put off too much. The texture of the pie is actually quite good, the puff pastry is nice and crisp and does flake well. It has a light consistency and is not overly sweet, it is also quite obvious in the taste that they have been made with butter rather than vegetable fat in the pastry. The mincemeat in the pie was actually quite disappointing and I am surprised at this as it does not measure up, in my opinion, to the high standards M&S claim for their food. Firstly there was little of it, just enough in fact to taste. Whilst not over sweet this is all I can initially taste - the sugar. Then comes a sharp acid tang to it, whilst not exactly unpleasant it isn't what I expect. I can only think someone was a little have handed with the lemon juice. There is a slight apply after taste but very little else. The mincemeat by its self has a slight smell of cloves but there is little, if any taste of it. Also there are no cherries in the mincemeat. For a good quality mincemeat these should, in my view, be included. The fruits have not been soaked in any alcohol which meant the fruits in the mincemeat were a little dry. They contain no artificial colours or flavours which do earn a few bonus points. There are a surprising number of calories in these pies at 185 kCal each and for me they are not worth them. If something has this many calories I expect to be able to taste every one, here I can taste at most half of them. Considering half of the size of the pie is air between the layers of pastry I don't know where all these calories come from. Nutritional info (per pie) Energy - 765 KJ / 185 Kcal Protein - 2.3g carbs - 22.1g (sugar 14.6g) fat - 9.5g (Saturated 6.5g) Fibre - 2.0g Salt - 0.33g Who can eat them: These are suitable for vegetarians but not for vegans as they contain both eggs and butter. Whilst there are no nuts in the recipe they are made in the same factory which handles nuts so they may contain nut traces. For me these will be mainly for adults as I don't think children would like them as they are not 'like my mum makes' (usually what is bought from the shop) Summary: Although different to the traditional mince pie these will not be going into my basket again. Whilst they are not exactly unpleasant they are disappointing and they have not changed my view over my dislike of these festive little 'treats'. I think that if I were ever to want any mince pies in future I may keep the idea of the puff pastry as I do think this is a good idea but make my own with home made mincemeat as this way I can have the fruits soaked in which alcohol I like, put as many cherries in as I want etc.
Mince pies are one of my most favourite things to eat. With Christmas looming loads of offerings are saturating the market and me, I'm in seventh heaven! I could live on them for real lol! My Step-Dad nipped into Marks & Spencers the other day and picked a box of these up with a tub of brandy cream for a dessert after our Sunday roast and to say I was excited is a bit of an understatement! I couldn't wait to get tucked in and wolfed me dinner down knowing what was coming lol. The Packaging: Oblong box which is burgundy and orange in colour and on the front of the box I'm told they are Marks & Spencers 'Classics For Christmas' 6 All Butter Puff Pastry Mince Pies which are 'All butter puff pastry filled with a rich, fruity mincemeat' and there is a photograph of the mince pies on the front and then I'm told they are suitable for Vegetarians, suitable for freezing, the weight of the product is stated which in this case is 300g and the best before date is stamped clearly on there. On the back of the box other information includes ingredients, allergy advice, storage and nutritional information is all given along with heating instructions (pop them in the oven for 9-10 minutes if you'd prefer them warm/hot to cold) and contact details for Marks & Spencers are given and the mince pies come in individual silver foil trays and sit in a red plastic container. It's a nice, classy and informative box and very in keeping with the Marks & Spencers brand looks wise. The Mince Pies Themselves: Well I had one hot and one later on in the day. Really there is very little difference apart from heat of course and they do go a little more puffed up warm and appear a bit flatter cold. Appearance wise well they visibly look made of puff pastry looking fat and weighty and they are rather deep. The pastry is golden and sprinkled with a nice amount of white Castor sugar to the tops of them and the pastry tastes good quality and buttery though not one bit greasy. The inside of the pies isn't overly filled but what is in there is a dark, gloopy thickish mixture of fruits. It's sweet but really tasty made up from black treacle that you can really taste along with spices and brown sugar and contains little crunchy lumps of apples, sultanas, orange and lemon peel and has a hint of zesty lemon flavouring in there too. It's lovely and sticky and if I have one complaint I would of liked a tad more filling in the vast quantity of pastry however it really is juicy, textured and tasty! At about £2.75 a box for 6 they're not what I consider to be cheap but my Step-Dad who only really ever eats Mums home made mince pies admitted these tasted almost as good as hers! Good quality, weighty and very tasty though I'm not sure they're worth the high price tag they have! Allergy Advice: Contains: Cow's milk, eggs, wheat, gluten. Made in a factory that uses nuts and soya ingredients. No artificial colours or artificial flavourings Nutritional Information Per Pie: Energy: 185Kcal Protein: 2.3g Carbohydrate: 22.1g of which sugars: 14.6g Fat: 9.5g of which saturates: 6.5g Fibre: 2.0g Sodium: 0.13g Equivalent as salt: 0.33g Only available in Marks & Spencers.