The great Christmas mince pie taste-off

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Copy of ST AD Mince pies 20

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Angela Day's mince pies. Picture: Chris Collingridge

Johannesburg - On the 2012 mince pie taste test panelwere Marty Klinzman, marketing and public relations manager for Kenwood home appliances, Benny Masekwameng, the executive chef at Tsogo Sun, and Patronella Sello, a popular MasterChef judge, actress and television producer at M-Net.

There were 10 fruit mince pies for the panel to taste. It was a blind tasting so no one knew where each pie came from.

The pies were served slightly warmed, and the panel was asked to rate them according to appearance, ratio of pastry to filling, taste and value for money.

The panel took to their task with great enthusiasm and each pie was carefully assessed.

At the end the winner was declared and, surprisingly, it was a pie imported by Checkers from the UK, Mr Kipling’s Mince Pies.

In a very close second place were the in-store bakery fruit mince pies from Checkers in Southgate and, in third place, Woolworths classic fruit mince pies.

Copy of ST AD mincepie panel

The testing panel, from left to right, Marty Klinzman, Chef Benny Masekwameng and Patronella Sello.

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WINNER

Checkers Mr Kipling fruit mince pies Imported from the UK R29.99 for 6

Benny: Nice-looking pie and the filling tastes luxurious.

Marty: Really good flavour, I love the cinnamon taste.

Patronella: I love the detail in the pie, it has lots of character.

 

SECOND

Checkers in-store bakery fruit mince pies Southgate. R19.99 for 6

Benny: Very good value for money, nice and generous on the raisins.

Marty: Good-tasting pastry which is not too thick.

Patronella: Nice generous size.

 

THIRD

Woolworths fruit mince pies R24.99 for 6

Benny: The proportion of filling to pastry is good.

Marty: This is a very neat, pretty pie.

Patronella: Good tasty filling with a nice spice taste.

 

OTHER PIES TESTED

Spar fresh line fruit mince pies R23.99 for 6

Benny: I like the taste, it’s not too sweet.

Marty: The filling is a bit on the thick side.

Patronella: Not enough filling, but very tasty.

 

Checkers Classic fruit mince pies R29.99 for 6

Benny: I don’t like the pastry and there’s not enough filling.

Marty: Pastry too thick with too much sugar on top.

Patronella: Pastry is too thick.

 

Spar in-store bakery fruit mince pies Hobart Centre. R19.99 for 6

Benny: Not traditional. The pastry is nice but there’s not enough filling.

Marty: Too much puff pastry in proportion to the filling.

Patronella: Looks a bit flat.

 

Pick n Pay deep filled fruit mince pies R29.99 for 6

Benny: The pastry is too thick.

Marty: This filling is a bit bland.

Patronella: The pastry is way too thick and the filling could have had more spice.

 

Pick n Pay cranberry & ginger fruit mince pies R36.99 for 4

Benny: Although not traditional, I like its appearance.

Marty: Nice buttery pastry although it’s not sweet enough.

Patronella: Nice filling with a buttery aftertaste.

 

Woolworths almond fruit mince tartlets R26.95 for 4

Benny: More like a cupcake than a mince pie.

Marty: Not nearly enough fruit mince and far too cakey.

Patronella: Not good value for money.

 

Pick n Pay in-store bakery fruit mince pies Pick n Pay on Nicol. R19.95 for 6

Benny: The filling is generous, but there is not enough spice.

Marty: It needs more spice. It’s nothing special.

Patronella: Looks like it wasn’t made with love, a bit lumpy and bumpy.

 

AND A RECIPE: ANGELA DAY’S MINCE PIES

Makes 18 pies

Fruit mince filling:

1 jar fruit mincemeat

125ml dried cranberries

80ml nibbed almonds

juice and finely grated rind of 1 orange

50ml brandy

Pastry:

750ml plain flour

pinch of salt

250g butter, cut into small pieces

grated zest of 1 lemon

180ml icing sugar

2 egg yolks

30-50ml ice-cold water

beaten egg for glazing

FRUIT MINCEMEAT: Spoon mincemeat into a small saucepan. Add remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes. Set aside.

PASTRY: Combine the flour, salt, butter, lemon zest and icing sugar in a food processor, then whizz to form crumbs.

Add the egg yolk and cold water, then pulse to form a dough. Do not overmix. Add a little extra water if necessary. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Roll out pastry to about 5mm and cut out 18 discs to fit your patty pans. Place a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat in each pastry case, but don’t overfill.

Roll out the remaining dough and stamp out 18 star shapes as lids.

Moisten edges with water then place the lids on the pies.

To finish, brush the pies with beaten egg. Bake at 180ºC for 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown.

Remove from oven and sift over some icing sugar if desired.

Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then remove and cool on a rack. - The Star

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