I’ll mention this from the outset, the box describes these as a cross between a shortcrust pastry pie and a Sussex pond pudding. If you’re after a traditional mince pie, this might not be for you. If you are after something different and want to know more, read on.
For the eighth (and ninth!) pie being reviewed, thanks need to go to Chay once again. He turned up at my desk with two different boxes of mince pies from Waitrose and I gladly accepted them with open arms! His only stipulation was that he wanted to sample a pie from each pack. How could I say no to those terms?
I reviewed a pack, albeit a different type, of Heston’s mince pies last year. They were a reinvention of what I consider a mince pie but I didn’t complain. I scored them very highly and had a lot of pleasure devouring them.
I get the impression that Heston doesn’t like to do the conventional; the box is square instead of the standard rectangle and the picture grabbing your attention is a giant lemon sat in a boat adorned by holly. You can’t make this up. To make sure you don’t forget who created this product, Heston is written in shiny silver, which, apart from the sprig of holly, is the only part of this that looks festive and it does catch your eye.
I take out the pie with baited breath. For £3.00 you get four large pies. They have a random-spread, crumbled topping but look enticing. They do not come in metal, or indeed any trays so you are that bit nearer to tucking in immediately. The pastry is dark brown like it’s been overcooked but that’s not the case. It is dry and crumbly and perfectly acceptable. And sweet. If you are the type to just tuck in without reading what the pie contains, you get a surprise. If you know your Sussex pond puddings, you’ll know that lemon features quite heavily, hence the gigantic rowing citrus from the front of the box. In this pie, the homage to the Sussex pud’ is a layer of smooth lemon curd, sat just on top of the mincemeat. It took me by surprise, but guess what? I love lemon curd!
This is a feature pie, a special event sort of pie and one that has the potential to wow and divide the room in equal measure. After three bites, I was very happy with the harmony of flavours socialising in my mouth, but there were a couple of spices, cinnamon and cloves to be precise that are a little overpowering. I finished the pie and could still taste the spices which I didn’t enjoy. The taste become stronger the more I ate and I do wish there had been more mincemeat. The lemon curd was delicious and very welcome.
Sometimes you don’t have to give something a twist to make it stunning. With slightly less spice and more mincemeat I would have given these a ten.