Thursday, 24 October 2013

Waitrose Christmas - 6 Shortcrust Mince Pies

Remember that imaginary hierarchy I spoke about back in the Co-Op review? Well, I'm going to assume Waitrose were at the top of your list too! Waitrose have many different types of mince pies available, from the budget "essentials" range to the organic mince pies (yes, organic - review coming!). In fact, I counted 6 different types, all under the Waitrose name. Lets see how their standard mince pies fair on the blog first.

Presentation - 6

I have to admit that the design on the box is very creative. I like the woollen knitted Christmas jumper look. It doesn't stand out as being obviously Christmas and coupled with the lack of any pictures on the top of the box, it is difficult to spot on the shelf at a glance. Fortunately, Waitrose keep these along with their other types of mince pies, which are more literal in their packaging. Their subtle approach, although creative, I'm sure would have otherwise been overlooked by the majority of customers.

In the box we have some good sized mince pies, all very neat and evenly baked. The depth of the pies indicate that they should really have been described on the box as "deep filled". They were all very uniform, bar one. 

This one, as the picture shows, lacked the star design on top. I'll assume this is a one off and not every box is missing a star. However, do let me know if this is common in the comments below.

Nutritional Content & Price - 5

At 263 calories, 10.0g of fat and 20.8g of sugar, this has one of the highest calorie and fat content I've come across in a mince pie.

These will set you back a rather wallet friendly £1.70 for a box of 6. As they are cheaper than Mr. Kipling, I would say they are very reasonable considering the quality one would expect from a Waitrose mince pie.

Pastry - 25

Take a bite out of this mince pie without concentrating and you'll lose the majority of it to gravity. The pastry is very crumbly and as can be seen in the picture, I struggled to take a picture with it all on one piece. Getting past the initial panic with structure, the pastry is pretty good. It tastes buttery and it's not too sweet. There is a large amount of it and pastry lovers out there will appreciate that. Once you get to the bottom of the mince pie, the pastry unfortunately has a little soggy bottom, which results in it losing the crumbly texture and makes it rather stodgy.

Mincemeat - 12

This is pretty poor from Waitrose. There was very little inside for starters. I was hoping for a more deep filled mince pie, but there is clearly unused space. What little mincemeat was there was dry and lacked any depth in flavour. I was hoping to be able to taste more than just the sugar, raisins and apple purée. On closer inspection at the ingredients list, this really is all they have put. Yes, there is the usual orange peel and lemon peel, but neither of these flavours could be detected. This really is quite a basic recipe.

Overall Satisfaction - 4

I was not expecting to be blown away by this mince pie, but I have been left very disappointed. It's a shame they didn't spent as much time on what went in the box as what went on the box. The pastry is nice, but overall, the mince pie is very dry. I honestly had to get a glass of water after. The soggy/stodgy bottom of the pie meant that I also had to spend the next few minutes after eating, dislodging clumps of pastry from between my teeth. These are very much style over substance.

However - My fellow mincers appear to have had a much different experience with the mincemeat. They felt the mincemeat was fruity, full of flavour and nicely moist. I'm not so certain we were eating the same mince pie. I returned to have a second and still felt the same. My score will remain. I fear the perception and expectations from the Waitrose brand have overshadowed their taste buds!

Here are the scores from my fellow Mincers. 

Tester 1 
Presentation (6) Nutritional content & Price (4) Pastry (29) Mincemeat (30) Satisfaction Level (9)
"Yummy, this could give Greggs a run for it's money!"
Tester 2
Presentation (8.5) Nutritional content & Price (8.5) Pastry (33) Mincemeat (32) Satisfaction Level (9)
"Best so far by quite a mile."


73.7 / 100

Look at where these fit in on our leader board.
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