Sunday, 9 December 2012

Pret A Manger - Mince Pie

This gourmet sandwich shop that started in London has grown substantially. With stores as far east as Hong Kong and as far west as Chicago, I want to know whether they still care about their home town by making a decent mince pie this Christmas.

The Facts



As with all bakery/hand made pies they have no requirement to list nutritional information, however a quick glance at their well laid out website gives me everything I need to know. They state, "Handmade in Yorkshire by artisanal bakers, Pret's Mince Pies are made in small batches to a traditional recipie. The mincemeat was made in July and has been gathering flavour ever since. Topped with the Pret star, and a dusting of icing sugar, these pies stand out from the crowd!". I knew wine, cheese and some alcohol get better with age, but mincemeat? I have a feeling someone at Pret read the calender wrong!

These have 241 calories, 20.4g of sugar, 11.6g of fat and one of these pies will set you back £1.25.

First Impressions



This looks like a pretty standard mince pie. One thing that is different is that this has not been placed into a foil base, but a paper one instead. Similar to the type of paper cupcakes are placed in, but stronger and more robust. I'm guessing this design choice is because it is easier to recycle paper than foil and that the colour fits in nicely with the rest of the Pret image.

The star on top is coincidentally the basis of their logo and Christmas related, so I would say they had it easy here. I would not call this a mince tart simply because of the star does look quite hefty and takes up much of the top of the pie.

The pie as a whole looks perfectly baked. It looks well filled too, with mincemeat right up to the lip of the pie. However, the filling does look a little dry, but that could be because it has been lying around since July!

The Bite



This is lovely, soft and crumbly mince pie. The pastry is fantastic. It is an all-butter shortcrust pastry and there is plenty of it all around. It is not sweet as it leaves that for the mincemeat. My sister described it as "cakey". This pastry is definitely up there with the best.

The mincemeat was also quite pleasant, however, it does taste a little dry, which does not help the mince pie as a whole. The pastry is perfect, but like all shortcrust pastry, it will be slightly on the dry side. In a mince pie, I would expect that moisture brought back by the mincemeat and unfortunately it has not done so here. The aged mincemeat does have a different taste to it than your average filling and I could not put my finger on what it was I was tasting. It's like a nutty flavour. It is not a bad taste at all, in fact I found it quite welcoming. It felt like I was eating a traditional mince pie (post actual meat filling!).

Overall

This is an excellent mince pie. I have my gripes about there being way more pastry than filling, but that is purely my preference. I am certain that the shortcrust pastry lovers out there will go crazy over this one. The aged mincemeat filling might not have made a difference, except make it a little dryer, but the filling was packed with vine fruits and was very palatable. It's not the largest of mince pies, so at £1.25 each, you do feel like you are paying for an upmarket pie.

"If it's not warm in 5 minutes... just wait longer."

4 / 5

On a separate issue, please support the Pret "Hope for the Homeless" campaign.


We love Christmas. But for some it can be the hardest time of year. Pret believe a little from each of us can make a big difference to those who need it most. 
Pret are donating 5p from every sandwich and baguette to help them achieve their £300,000 goal. They'll also donate another 5p every time you check-in to a Pret shop with Foursquare (and you get yourself the rather exclusive Pret Badge), if you follow Pret on Twitter or Like Pret on Facebook

Together we can help break the cycle of homelessness.