After the various dusted finishes that Mr Blumenthal uses on his mince pies, I was quite intrigued when I spotted these ones from Jamie Oliver. These mini pies are dusted with a pretty pink sprinkle of mulled wine sugar. Sadly they come pre-dusted, which meant that there was no choice on how much sprinkle to put on, and some of the pies had uneven amounts as the boxes were standing on their side in Boots. That’s a curiosity in itself; these were indeed purchased from Boots (as in Boots The Chemist). To be fair I know Boots has a good selection of lunchtime foods, and even a meal deal with sandwiches etc, but I’m still not sure that if I was after purchasing some mini mince pie canapés Boots would be my first port of call! Either way, I spotted them as I was stocking up on cold medicines and nail wraps, so my purchases were a little eclectic by the time I got to the till!
Once I was home Spectre looked at them and frowned. I’m not sure he gets the idea of delicate looking canapé sized extra small mince pies. If mince pies need to change shape, Spectre would prefer bigger rather than smaller. I did explain that he could eat two (or three) to compensate, but to be honest he does still have a point. The problem when you change the size of something like that is that you mix up the ratios. The pastry stays the same thickness, so you end up with less space for mince. I much prefer mince to pastry, and the pastry exists as a mechanism for holding the filling, rather than something I get excited about. I know some people love pastry, and if you are in that category I can say the pastry was really good. It was buttery and sweet, and soft and flaky and it melted in the mouth. It was in summary excellent pastry, but there was lots of it, and it diluted the flavour of the mince. The mince was nice, it had a slight tang and a hint of seasonal spices, but I would have liked a larger serving of it. I was aware that there was a nice gentle Christmas spice to the pie, but I couldn’t quite pick up on anything specific by the way of mulled wine sugar. I even deliberately licked one just to check, but it was mostly sweet and not that flavoursome.
I don’t mean to be negative with these pies. If you bought them and served them as canapés or with a coffee to visitors nobody would complain at all. Those that like pastry may even love these. It’s just that for my taste buds I need a hard hit of tangy mince, loads of citrus and a good helping of Christmas spice so I can’t beat the Heston version. I know I shouldn’t compare everything to them, but I am at a stage where everything else is starting to look inferior.