Among the most expensive mince pies available from the main supermarkets, the Duchy Originals from Waitrose cite the use of all-butter pastry and the addition of cranberries as their main selling points.
As ever the package has a classy look to it, suggesting a quality product, though the little window in the front reveals a fairly lacklustre looking pie. They’re flat-topped and not obviously finished with an fancy extras.
Taking the pies out of their wrapper, though, reveals the rather thick looking pastry top has a light sprinkling of granulated sugar.
The blurb on the front of the pack suggests serving these warmed through and with a dollop of cream – generally the best way to serve any mince pie, though some target a good eat when served straight out the box – but I chose to try these straight out the box.
First impressions weren’t great. The pastry is quite thick and the depth of the pie makes them quite a mouthful, to the point where the first mouthful was almost all pastry. However, a couple of chews and the pie comes to the life.
The pastry may be thick but it’s tasty, with a welcome sweetness to it and the rich, tastiness that butter always brings. The filling is plentiful and, while thick and almost dry – as any good mincemeat should be when cold, it’s nice and evenly flavoured; there’s a hint of spice, plenty of sweetness and lots of fruit.
There could be a bit more of it and I’d prefer a little more spice, plus there’s no booziness here and some may find them just a little too sweet.
Warmed through and eaten as suggested with a bit of cream they do even better, with the filling lightening up and the pastry softening too.
Are they worth £4 for a box of six? Not quite. Although pretty good they don’t quite wow enough when even Heston Blumenthals signature pies are only £3.50.
Price: £4 for six