15 October 2012

Heston’s Spiced Shortcrust Mince Pies (@Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

Is it too early for Christmas posts? It might be – but let’s pretend that it’s okay, because I just had to write about these mince pies as soon as I tried them!
Last year I was rather excited to be able to try Heston’s chritmas scented mince pies which were especially out for the festive season. I wasn’t a fan to be honest; the pine scent was a bit of theatrics and ended up smelling more like soap than Christmas trees. This year I see that Mr Blumenthal has stepped away from the pine scent and included a packet of tangerine dust to sprinkle on instead, this sounded a lot more appealing to me!
The box clearly states that there are 4 mince pies in the packet, but I have to say I was expecting them to be smaller and spaced out more, so I was very impressed when I found four huge pies inside. Not only are the pies large in diameter, they are also quite thick. The topping looks amazing too, with some mince showing through a criss-cross of golden pastry and a generous dusting of sliced nuts.
I popped the pies onto plates, and opened up the sprinkles. Unlike the pine scented version everyone in the room said how lovely the aroma was, fresh and citrusy but sweet too. I dusted all the pies and it looked like a light but seasonal dusting of snow on each one. I then tucked in. Oh my, this is something a bit special. I have never eaten anything quite like it before. The texture is spot on, the pastry is firm, but gives easily when bitten, the mince was soft and the almonds just nicely increase the complexity of the texture. The flavour was, in a word, perfection. There are so many tastes working together, the sweet but rich mince, the spices, perfectly balanced cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves all go in harmony with the filling. Then there is the buttery pastry and then the sweet orangey citrus tones, turning very gentle into a sharper twist of lemon. I have never tasted a mince pie this good before. It was pure and simply the taste of Christmas packed into pastry, and every flavour and spice had its place. There are no theatrics just every ingredient working alongside one another.
Sometimes Heston misses; I really didn’t like his sweet and curry flavour popcorn, but sometime Heston hits. To be fair though the word ‘hit’ isn’t anywhere near strong enough for these pies. They are just about the nicest mince pie I have ever eaten, and they are indeed mince pie perfection. I fear Heston may now have ruined other mince pies for me, because I will now continue to compare any I try back to these, and they just won’t come close. This is a total wow product and to leave them until Christmas would mean you are totally missing out!
By Cinabar


bob said...

Those look a lot more tempting than the Walkers I inevitably get every year.
Probably the only down side that I can see is that they don't look like they need Brandy butter.
A lot of fun to make the stuff. "Needs a little more Brandy and the butter could do with a few further drops as well..."

Anonymous said...

I tasted one - a nasty taste, heavy and far too flavoured. Everything tastes artificial. Will give asay the other 3 or throw in the dustbin - glad they were reduced!

Jennet said...

I agree with Anonymous, i found the spice flavour far to strong! no subtlety, i could barely taste the tangarine sugar, (but it did smell nice) all in all i much prefer a normal (good quality) mince pie where the pastry acts as a foil to the mincemeat, rather than trying to compete with it. love heston's tv, own all his books, love the sausages (duck & cherry, YUM) but will steer clear of these in future.

cinabar said...

It seems these are a bit of an acquired taste... but for me they just work. More than that - they are the perfect mince pie! I just lap up all that spice!!! mmmm ;-)

Anonymous said...

These are about the worst thing I have ever tasted - I'm sorry Waitrose and Heston but you got it wrong this time.

cinabar said...

Wow - such strong feelings on these mince pies. I still love them. I have my last box of them in the cupboard ;-)

rana62 said...

I also bought those Heston mince pies.
I usually make my own, but after seeing so many programs about Heston's amazing trickery, I wanted to try for myself.
I also agree, there is far too spice, a very overpowering flavour.
It 'repeated' on me for hours!! the last two got their insides removed and refilled with farm bought brandy mincemeat. Hubby declared it an improvement.
My own: I buy mincemeat, add brandy, hopped apple rings, sliced almonds and let it stand overnight.
The pastry has ground almonds and orange zest in it.
Won't be buying anything Heston Christmassy after this.
I have a small Heston cookery book, which is mostly excellent.

Anonymous said...

Quite simply the very best I have ever tasted. They are WOW!!! Shame I have to drive 120 miles to fetch more home!! Definitely recommend very highly! :0) nom nom !

Anonymous said...

I think these are the tastiest mince pies I have ever had!

Anonymous said...

Overflavoured not nice at all, left feeling like I had just been to the dentist