Thursday, 31 October 2013

Heston Blumenthal 6 Spiced Shortcrust Mince Pies

Returning to fight for the top spot on the Administration’s leader board is the controversial is-it-or-isn’t-it-a-mince pie from the man who was clearly never told not to play with his food as a child, Heston Blumenthal. While this debate rages on within the Administration, once these turned up, silence fell, as we were all eager to sink our teeth into one.

Presentation - 3

While last year we only scored on the mince pie alone, this year we are looking at everything, and unfortunately, the packaging is as far from Christmas as you can get. A mostly plain black box, with what appears to be an x-rayed image of an orange and cinnamon is all that is there. The box itself is good quality and it feels expensive, but that does not give it a Christmas feel. The box could be on the shelves all year round and nobody would complain. (In fact – I think it should be!)

The pies themselves look very different from what we are used to seeing. They have a lattice top and are very much tart shaped rather than mince pie shaped. The debate within the Administration rages on this point. While this may not appear to be a regular mince pie, I feel it has all the components of a mince pie, in the correct order. Let us know if you feel differently.

Nutritional content and price - 8

The mince pies (yup, we’re going with that) are much smaller than last year. If you remember, we were only treated to 4 of them, this year we have 6. As a result these appear to be much better for you than a regular mince pie at just 194 calories, 6.4g of fat and 19.2g of sugar.

However, at £3.50 for a box of 6, these are at your top end of your readily available supermarket mince pies and balance out the (sort of) health benefits above. (Fortnum and Mason are excluded from this as they are not easily accessible to everyone other than those in Central London.)

Pastry - 35

Well, what can I say, last year, many people believed that I gave these mince pies an unfair advantage by heating them up. In my defence, I was expecting something to happen to them (fireworks, if memory recalls!), after all, they are a Heston Blumenthal mince pie. This year, you may have noticed I have kept some consistency and decided to have all the mince pies cold, right out of the box.

I actually think they taste better cold! I cannot fault these in the slightest. Cinnamon lovers out there will go crazy over these as they ooze the taste and smell of the stuff, from the moment you open the cellophane wrapping. They are lovely and crumbly - perfectly cooked all around. It is not sweet at all as the amazing taste comes from the mincemeat. With a generous sprinkling of the enclosed tangerine flavoured sugar, you can really taste the orange flavour with the pastry. Absolutely fantastic.

Mincemeat - 34

Lemon curd? Rose water? Orange oil? These are the extra's that need to be made standard in any mince pie. I cannot taste the rose water specifically, but you can definitely taste the orange and lemon whether it is from the curd and oil is another question as there is also juice and zest peels from both oranges and lemons present in addition to the tangerine sugar dusting. Wherever the flavour comes from, it is there and in troves. Again there is a lot of cinnamon coming through in the mincemeat, but it is not hugely overpowering as you can taste everything else. The mincemeat is moist and juicy from the whole currants, raisins and sultanas with a little nutty after taste from the almonds. My only preference would be that I would like a little more - but this is my preference as I tend to like more mincemeat.

Overall satisfaction - 9

There was no doubt that these would rocket up our leader board. They are mouth-wateringly moreish. While we cannot decide whether these really should be classed as a mince pie, we can all agree that the components of a mince pie are there, just in a strange shape. Those that are not huge cinnamon lovers may not be fans of this mince pie, but I still believe that it is worth a try as there are so many other flavours that come through.
These are a treat for all your senses from the moment you open the box to the moment it touches your tongue. Heston has pulled it off again - surely someone out there can come close??

Here are the scores from my fellow mincers;

Tester 1 
Presentation (7) Nutritional content & Price (4) Pastry (34) Mincemeat (35) Satisfaction Level (9)
"The only reason it loses a point is because it is quite a different mince pie & therefore it didn't actually taste like a normal mince pie. Well done Heston, I don't normally like you.... but I do like your pie!!"
Tester 2
Presentation (8.5) Nutritional content & Price (8) Pastry (25) Mincemeat (32) Satisfaction Level (8.5)
"I have an "issue" with marking the pastry element, as I'm not convinced I ate pastry with this pie (but concede the point)"


86.7 / 100

Look at where these fit in on our leader board.
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