Our mince pie Top 8 is fast becoming an annual Battle of the Bakeries. We’ve never had it so good in Cork with more bakers than ever providing excellent choice.
There are plenty of exciting supermarket options on the shelves. We tried several flavoured with chocolate, with sloe gin, frangipane paste, topped with almonds. The latter from Dunnes Stores appealed to two tasters who don't like too much mincemeat and favoured the addition of almond sponge and apple purée (€2.69 box of six). If we weren’t so spoilt by the fresher options from bakers who deliver almost every day, more supermarket varieties might have made the cut. There are also plenty of gluten-free mince pies. Of those we tasted, Foods of Athenry came out tops (€4.99 for four).
Not to be a festive killjoy, remember that one pie adds 250 calories to your day’s intake, and that’s without cream, requiring at least 25 minutes of brisk walking or cycling to work it off. Keep the balance and get out for a walk, and make it vigorous.
A generous-sized sweet pastry shell is copiously filled with juicy in-house mincemeat and topped with frangipane and cinnamon crumble and a scattering of oatmeal. Optional icing sugar garlands add colour and child tasters went for them. The best ever from these bakers. Excellent. Best to order ahead at Rochestown, Cork. 021-4894922 and TheCinnamonCottageCork@gmail.com
Always terrific value, these generous pies are finished with a thick dusting of icing sugar, topping a tasty shortcrust pastry filled with traditional, plump fruit. A beautifully redesigned triangular box makes for a superb family gift of 12 (€20), or a rectangular box of six for €10. Available from units at selected Dunnes Stores nationwide and English Market, Cork.
Frangipane in almost equal quantity to mincemeat, with a hint of orange, results in an overall cake-like texture. Slivers of almonds sprinkled on top of flavoursome pastry made this one of our most popular pies.
Available in the Midleton bakeshop and their bakeshop just opened on Washington Street, Cork.
We have tasted this bakery’s pies for many years, and this dark golden coloured 2021 version is the best yet. Flat in style, they still pack a punch with a good ratio of light, crisp pastry to plump fruit.
These pies have always done well in surveys and this year is no different. We found the light, flaky pastry a perfect foil for lively sautéed apple, plumped-up dried fruit, spices, brandy and almonds. Available in the Ballinspittle bakery. Best to pre-order at divaboutiquebakery.com.
There’s a deliciously homemade feel to these pies with their genuine shortcrust pastry style. Good quality fruit balanced it well. All tasters liked them. From the English Market stall, Cork.
Attractively chunky and naturally irregular in shape, the generous fruity filling has big, plump sultanas and a decent amount of apple which hold their shape for interesting texture. Spicing is low, and for one of our new tasters (new to Irish Christmases too) this was her favourite. At Sealy’s Lane, Bandon and English Market Cork.
One taster thought the aromatic peel a little overdone here, which created a debate. Plenty of fruit, delicious nuts, flavoursome pastry and a general heartiness won the day. Bought separately or in a neat, beribboned gift pack of six on a bamboo tray, a good buy. From the shop in Blackrock village, Cork.