We thought we would write a little guide on what we think makes the BEST mince pies! Nothing marks the start of the festive period other than these little treats!
Why are mince pies associated with Christmas?
Thanks to a tradition from the middle ages, which saw people eat a mince pie for 12 days from Christmas day to Twelfth Night, these little bites of bliss have become very popular during the festive period. Doing this was believed to bring you happiness for the next 12 months!
Greedy?.. No! Traditional?.. Yes!
What is mince pie filling made of?
Mincemeat is a mixture of chopped dried fruit, distilled spirits and spices, and often beef suet, usually used as a pie or pastry filling. Mincemeat formerly contained meat, notably beef or venison. Many modern recipes replace the suet with vegetable shortening
The best packaging?
We think packaging is super important. It’s what makes your eyes light up when purchasing or receiving them as a gift. Shinier the better, we say! It’s when you start to visualise yourself with a nice cuppa and mince pie ready to indulge. It gives you the festive feelings, it’s the beginning of Christmas! So we think if the packaging is bad, you can often assume the pies maybe aren't that great either!
Presentation is key!
A classic mince pie is often finished with a star-shaped lid. Star lids were once popular to depict the star the three wise men are said to have followed to find the baby, Jesus. When observing your mince pies ( usually through the packaging window) ask yourself the following questions; Do the lids fit the base? Is mincemeat squeezing out of the tops? Are the pies burnt? Is there a soggy bottom? Do they look appealing? Are they all uniform? Then you're pretty much good to go!
How do they taste?
The sign of a very tasty mince pie?...You don't stop at one! The taste is ultimately the STAR of the show and a few characteristics of a dreamy mince pie are as follows;
- Tangy, fruity flavour
- Buttery aftertaste from the pastry
- Sweet...but not too sweet!
- Thick but crumbly pastry
What do you serve with yours?
Typically you can eat your mince pie cold...however some say its bad etiquette! Traditionally it should be warmed through. Brandy or rum butter are recommended accompaniments, as is ice cream – cream or custard are okay too, though, don't worry.
You can freeze mince pies for up to three months!
After this, the changes to the taste and texture will affect the mince pies too much. A great idea when it comes to Christmas preparations is to make your mince pies in September or October, then defrost them in time for the festive season.