TOP 8 mince pies TESTED

THIS year’s crop of mince pies yielded not just one or two, but three worthy winners of our gold star.

No doubt previous producers to whom we awarded a star are selling very good pies this year too, but we have replaced them with samples from a few new producers.

We tested quite a few mini mince pies, but only one stood out. This, of course, is the best way to keep control of fat and sugar intake. However, this year’s pies are lighter than many in previous years, so perhaps cutting down on, or eating less of, cream or brandy butter would be worth the sacrifice.

Next week, for our last pre-Christmas issue we are looking at some delicious stollen and panettone.

As well as today’s great pies, the combination of mincemeat and flaky or puff pastry is irresistible, so I have made a short video for easy puff pastry mince pies with a surprise ingredient.

¦ See my blog for further Christmas tips at and join me on Twitter at rozcrowley1.

Diva Ballinspittle, €1.90 each, 6 for €15.50

Last year we criticised the fruit content of these pies and it seems Diva took it to heart. This year’s improved version has lots of plump tangy fruit inside crisp, flavour-some pastry. Superb. All tasters wanted this to a gold.

Score: 9

Heaven’s Cakes, €1.50 each, 13 for the price of 12

Deliciously plump fruit, and plenty of it, in a crisp and tasty shortcrust pastry case dusted thickly with icing sugar makes this an excellent mince pie. A decent size, too. A favourite of all tasters. Another star winner.

Score: 9

Noreen’s Home produce, 60c each Coal Quay Farmers’ market, Cork

Deliciously crisp pastry packed tight with lovely fruit. These are mini pies which have so much flavour you won’t need another. Tasters agreed this one was just right for a few bites. A star for the best mini pie.

Score: 9

Jam at Hanley’s Garden Centre Cork, and in Kenmare, Killarney, Tralee, €13.50 for 12

Traditional-style light and crumbly short-crust pastry is jam packed with dark fruit with an attractive star shape on top. Delicious and in a nice box for a gift.

Score: 8.5

Hassetts Bakery, Carrigaline, Crosshaven and Adelaide Street, Cork, €1.20 each or five for €5.50

The crispest of the shortcrust pastry, nice fruit, maybe could do with a fraction more, but quite an elegant mince pie.

Score: 7.75

La Spoon Patisserie, box of 12 for €15

These mince pies have a dense shortcrust pastry and lots of juicy, tasty filling which has a lovely tangy citrus finish. Christine Giroult (ex Sugar café and Petits Fours patisserie) will deliver in Cork and 087-64814 52.

Score: 7

Healys, English Market and Blackpool, Cork, €1.80 (5 for €5)

A pleasant pie with a fair amount of fruit and real shortcrust pastry.

Score: 6.75

Lidl 9 luxury mini mince pies, €2.29

While small and tidy and better for the waistline than a large one, this pie feels heavy in the mouth and even with a whiff of brandy the balance of fruit and pastry isn’t quite right. Much better heated.

Score: 5


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