Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Aldi - Holly Lane - Specially Selected - Luxury Mince Pies

The second of the two boxes my colleague's mother bought for me are Aldi's luxury brand. Their regular mince pies were good, so these should be even better, right?

The Facts



Another window on the box. Must be in fashion this year. You can see these are much larger mince pies. I'm not sure about the box design. I cannot decide whether this has done enough to be a Christmas design. I can see the holly leaves on the left hand side of the box and the same in the background at the top, but other than this, there is little else that can be specifically related to Christmas (except for the picture of the mince pie of course!). Whoever designs these boxes at Aldi needs a good talking to.

These are "all butter shortcrust pastry cases with a luxury mincemeat of vine and citrus fruits with nuts and cranberries, infused with brandy and with a sugar dusting". Firstly, thank goodness there is some real butter in here rather than the same margarine its younger brother has. Secondly, I don't think I've had a mince pie with cranberries in it!

These have 241 calories, 21.9g of sugar and 8.9g of fat per pie.

First Impressions



Compared to its non-luxury counterpart these are much better decorated. It's something original too - a snowflake. These pies are definitely larger, but they seem larger than normal because of a clever trick. I don't know whether this is intentional, but the lids are all larger than the base of the pie so it looks (from above) that they are much larger. Cunning!

The pie looks well cooked, especially around the edges. I found the edges were a little brittle. I broke part of one just taking it out of the box. Like the non-luxury mince pie, these too lack a great deal of sugar sprinkled on top.

The Bite




As you can see from the picture, there is way too much pastry. It's far too soft and I don't think oven heating this mince pie will rescue it. This is another box that has no serving suggestions and no heating instructions, so it is unclear as to which way Aldi say is best for their pie. While I am very pleased to taste some real butter in this pastry, there is way too much sugar in there with it.

The mince meat has far too much purée, you could almost pour it out if it wasn't for the fruit holding it in. The fruit that was there is very similar to the non-luxury mince pies, they are big, distinct and because they taste like good quality fruit, they add to the overall sweetness in this pie making this rather sickeningly sweet. You can still taste the brandy despite the sweetness.

The pie holds up well when eating which I was surprised with, as the pastry is so soft.

Overall

I think this may be the first pie where the luxury version tastes worse than its non-luxury! It feels like Aldi have just taken the same recipe from their non-luxury pies and added more of everything already in there, plus some extras like cranberries, brandy and butter! This is not how to make a luxury mince pie. Yes, more of some things can work, but other aspects need to be refined and reworked so that the tastes compliment each other. I had high hopes for these luxury mince pies, but sadly they have not lived up to my expectation.

"The pie is a LIE!"

  1.8 / 5

Please share your views in the comments below if you have tried this pie or any other pie.