Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Iceland Christmas Mince Pies

Iceland. The place where mums go, supposedly. Like the country, their mince pies have always been a bit chilling. If this year is different, there will be more than just mums flocking to their stores.

The Facts

One thing I have noticed around Christmas time in Iceland, is that all their boxes and packaging dons the same style. This year is no different. While this keeps some continuity through their range, it does confuse me and make everything look the same at a glance. This pack of 12 mince pies are a LIDL-beating £1.50. Unfortunately they do not beat them on nutrition. These have 214 calories, 17.4g of sugar and 8.4g of fat, which puts this mince pie just under the other supermarkets. The back of the box says these are "Deep shortcrust pastry cases filled with mincemeat, topped with a shortcrust pastry lid and a light sprinkling of sugar".

First Impression

This is not the prettiest of mince pies. The lid is placed in the middle of the pie allowing the edges to rise up around it, rather than placing the lid over the top of the whole pie. It is not a perfect fit and some of them have been placed incorrectly leaving gaps around the sides, exposing the mincemeat underneath. The lid also does not lie flat, so, depending on the placement of the mincemeat inside, the lids slant to one side too. Keeping with the lid; "a light sprinkling" they say? If you call pouring sugar only onto one half of the pie "a light sprinkling", then yes, top marks! This is also smaller than your average pie.

The only redeeming factor so far is that the star on top is perfectly cut. It may not be quite in the center of the lid, but perfectly cut. Kudos to the star cutter at Iceland HQ.

It is well cooked all around, but on some pies it does appear to be over cooked around the edges. For example, in the picture above, you can see that half of the pie is slightly darker than the other.

The Bite

The pastry is way too thick all around. You can see after I bit into it that it has almost squashed together. This is because it is soft all around the sides and bottom. The star on top is slightly crumbly (must be due to the perfectly cut star, he deserves a raise) but any deeper and it's dough. The pastry claims to be shortcrust, but it didn't really taste of anything. I checked to see how much butter there was in it and to my shock there is not only no butter, but no margarine either! I have no idea what they have used but there are plenty of ingredients you should find in a laboratory, not a kitchen.

Once you have dug through the masses of soft pastry, you will find the mincemeat. Yes, it's there, trust me. These claim to be 46% mincemeat, but that cannot be right. The filling is dry, sweet and mainly full of mashed up sultanas and apples. You can just about make out whole fruit, but they are so small, it is barely noticeable. Again, looking at the back of the box it seems like there are loads more ingredients that don't belong in a kitchen.


What a mess, from presentation to taste. After eating a couple of these, I'm not only left with a horrible after-taste, but also an odd feeling at the back of my throat. It feels like these mince pies have burnt me. Not so much that I need to seek medical attention, but that's the only way I can describe the feeling that it has left. This entire pie is artificial with very few real ingredients. I'm still wondering how they can make pastry without butter or margarine.

There is a saying that comes to mind, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Well, I don't even think the monkey's would want to eat this mince pie, especially if it's trying to kill you.

"You mince pie me in a dream, you better wake up and apologise."

  0.7 / 5

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.