I do hate the misuse of the word tart. It is perfect associated with Bakewell but when I hear people say mince tart meaning mince pie it seems wrong somehow. I know people who do this do you? Anyway, Ive just misused it in my title, but its my review so I can be a brazen tart if I want to be.
Such a Big Tart
There are six big mince pies in each pack of Sainsburys Taste the Difference Brandy Rich Mince Pies. They also come in packs of 12 mini pies. The packaging is quite smart, with a plum coloured card box. This has a window baring the tops of three of them. Each upper crust has three neat holes in a triangular pattern and there is a little dusting of caster sugar granules on each. Classy.
The packaging inside the box keeps each pie in its place. There are six walled compartments rather than the standard moulded tray so the pies cannot slip on top of each other even if the box is tilted or placed upside down. The pies are beautifully behaved in situ.
Each pie comes out of the box in perfect form unless you have dropped a crate of beer on them on the way home from the shop. The nice man from Sainsburys brought mine to me in perfect condition, he usually does.
The pie is in fact quite perfect, certainly not at all home made looking. It has three neat holes in the crust, a perfect fluted pattern around the edge, a light dusting of sugar grains and sits very neatly in a silver foil case.
Firm and Buttery
The pastry on the pie is firm and oh so buttery in taste. If you nibble the edges it is slightly sweet and shortbread like in taste. It is firm and delicious and begs further tasting. It may come as no surprise that these pies are 14% butter. The pastry is good. Personally, I cant stand sogginess, can you? The pies do not crumble into a mess all over your clothes when bitten.
Rich and Spicy
The mincemeat in these pies is really fruity and has plenty of substance. There are sultanas, currants, apple and apricots, cherries, orange and lemon peel. Not only is the filling fruity, it is also spicy with distinct flavouring from the brandy and port but also from the almonds and spices which include cassia, coriander, ginger and caraway.
Each pie will cost you 25p and will provide you with 8.7g fat, 242 calories, 38.1g carbohydrate of which a horrendous 25.5g is sugar (red alert). Nice treat at 11am though (all for the purpose of a review of course). They contain nuts, milk, wheat glutens and sulphites.
DIY v STTD
Obviously everyone knows that home made mince pies are the best, that is if youre a domestic goddess like me of course. My hubby says mine are superb but then he would because he loves me.
When you think about it though, not all home made mince pies are nice. I remember my grandma telling me she was sick all night from eating some home made ones at an old folks' dinner(and how she felt she was dying) - we are so alike. Home made mince pies are best avoided at all costs if they look anaemic, especially if you don't know who made them.
If you cant make pastry or simply just dont want to then these might be a good escape. Perhaps you have been asked to make some pies for the school nativity performance and you are getting in a cold sweat at the thought. Panic not. You can pretend they are homemade, using some tips from me which I read somewhere in a girly book.
~ Remove the mince pies from the box and slip their tart clothing off
~ Using a rolling pin use firm pressure to flatten the tarts down and crack them around the edges.
~ Get a knife and make a homemade looking cross in the crust.
~ Dust heavily with icing sugar. Ta da.
I really like these mince pies. They are tasty and rich but you really would be silly to eat more than one at once. They are available in packs of 12 mini pies if you just have to have two (if this will make you feel better). They cost around £1.49 for six or £2.19 for 12 minis. They are a great treat for adults with the added benefit that the children probably wont like them due to the rich brandy flavour. Dont forget you can have them hot too, just place in the oven on a baking tray for 10 minutes at 180°C / Gas 4.
I will give them five out of five stars because they are the nicest bought mince pies I have tasted.
Each year many reporters around the country go in search of the best mince pies. In relation to the Sainsburys TTD Brandy Rich Mince pies, heres a summary of what some papers say about them.
The Observer: Average flavour. Very short pastry, though. Nicely cooked. 3 stars out of 5
Sunday Mirror: My best f***ing mince pies. Generous amount of moist filling in a shortcrust pastry that keeps its shape well. Added texture from crunchy slivers of almonds in the filling.
Woman & Home (Best Mince Pies) Rather sweet, but lovely buttery pastry with a nice, boozy kick.
Manchester Metro News: Father Christmas will have to hold tight to Rudolf's reins if you leave Sainsbury's Taste the Difference brandy rich mince pies out on the mantelpiece. The soft all-butter pastry is generously filled with rich brandy and port-laced mincemeat. Brandy and port are the overriding, and slightly overpowering, flavours. Their richness batters the mincemeat flavour into complete submission. The pies taste luxurious but also slightly sickly, although that might be offset by a generous dollop of cream. One is definitely enough and wouldn't sit well on top of a full Christmas lunch.