Monday, 19 November 2012

Aldi - Holly Lane - Deep Filled Mince Pies

I have been hearing a lot of promising things about Aldi and thanks to a work colleague's mother, I have kindly been given a couple of boxes of their mince pies. Let's hope they beat their direct competition, LIDL (although that's probably not hard!).

The Facts


Described as "delicious shortcrust pastry generously filled with rich and fruity mincemeat". The first thing you notice is that the box is much smaller than the usual mince pie box and it's also not very Christmas themed. You could quite easily overlook these boxes as just being any other kind of pie. The colour and style also remind me of yesteryear's Mr Kipling boxes. These have 236 calories, 22.1g of sugar and 8.3g of fat. If the box size is anything to go by, they have either been efficient in their packaging or the mince pies are just smaller than the rest.

First Impressions
 

The lack of a clear Christmas theme continues into the box. I think there is meant to be some sort of design on each mince pie, but it's almost impossible to make out. After piecing together the design from the tops of the other pies, it is meant to be a holly leaf with a couple of berries on another stem. The whole mince pie just seems a little worse for wear. It is slightly smaller than your usual mince pie and to be honest, it's generally a little depressing. There is also next to no sugar dusted on top.

The pie does look well cooked all around - maybe a little overcooked around the edges, but it looks like it would have a good crumbly texture to it.

The Bite


Thankfully, this pie redeems some of its pride in the taste.

The pastry is soft, but a few minutes in the oven will fix that. I felt there was a good pastry to mincemeat ratio. I think I would have preferred a little more sugar dusted on top. This would have added a little sweetness to the pastry, as it's a quite bland without it. The one thing I noticed is the pastry lacked the taste of butter, however, I could taste something in its place that I have had before. I scoured through the ingredients list and found that Aldi have replaced butter with vegetable margarine. I am not happy about this!

The filling was quite sweet, but there is a good selection of vine fruits and apple pieces. The fruits are also a decent size and generally the filling is not dry. The ingredients list lemon peel, but I could not taste it in amongst the sweetness. The pie holds up pretty well after a bite which is always good.

Overall

These are better than LIDL's by a long way and are firmly in the same league as the big supermarkets. The very sweet mincemeat was oddly subdued by the bland pastry, making this quite palatable. However, I cannot forgive Aldi for using margarine instead of butter, especially in shortcrust pastry. I'm afraid, although the mince pie overall (when heated) was quite plesant, I have to deduct a few points in the presentation and decoration area as these were horrendous. If I was presented with this pie without a box it would have been anyone's guess as to what was inside.

"You had me at deep filled!"

3 / 5

Have you had an Aldi pie and felt they were better or worse than my rating? Let me know in the comments.