Christmas mince pies are an institution in my family and something which we have all enjoyed eating together for years.
My beloved Gramps, Roy, used to call them his “tranquilizers”, which we continue to laugh about years after he sadly left us. Admittedly I wasn’t always a fan, but much like Christmas cake, I’ve grown to appreciate these delicious little fruit-filled shortbread pies.
If you’ve been following me for a while now you might remember I reviewed a few brands last year, so I decided to do it for the second year in a row and am hoping to turn this into a Christmas tradition of sorts. This time around, however, I roped my parents in to assist me.
We tested 10 varieties of retail brand packs of mince pies in one sitting, and while I’m sure there are many more we might have missed (especially the independent retailers and bakeries, which I’m still very happy to sample) I think this number gave us a broad enough idea of what’s out there.
Please note that this review was in no way sponsored by any of the retailers.
The findings were interesting – especially the discovery that my Dad is somewhat of a mince pie connoisseur and takes these things very seriously!
Christmas 6 Fruit Mince Pie Selection (Woolworths)
This 6-pack of mini mince pies comprises of 2 Chocolate Crinkle Cookie, 2 Pecan & Cashew Nut and 2 Viennese Biscuit mince pies.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookie
We all agreed that this mince pie was utterly tasteless and quite underwhelming. A pity because we had high hopes for it.
Pecan & Cashew Nut
Dad: 10/10, absolutely delicious!
Mom : Wish they were available in bigger packs.
Me: Exactly what I expected, with good ratios of nut to fruit mince filling and pastry. Also wish these were available in larger packs.
Dad: Way too much pastry and very little filling. Disappointing.
Mom: Delicious but less pastry on top would’ve been nicer.
Me: I’m confused. WTF is this supposed to be? It’s dry and severely lacks filling.
Forage & Feast All Butter Hertzoggie Fruit Mince Pies (Checkers)
I talked these up based on how much I enjoyed them last year. Could immediately see they were smaller than the 2021 version. Even went back to my photo of them from last year to compare and there was a remarkably noticeable difference.
Dad: That coconut topping isn’t winning.
Me: I’m really disappointed in these. They had the same last year which were probably in my Top 3 but remember them being a lot bigger and much tastier. There’s some big-time skimping going on here. They’re also underbaked, the pastry tastes a bit raw.
Gluten Free Fruit Mince Pies (Checkers)
It was at this point in the tasting when things took a turn and I started realising my Dad was taking this very seriously and has definitely picked up a thing or two after years of watching MasterChef Australia with my Mom.
Dad: These aren’t baked properly.
Dad (getting very annoyed): SUE. You can’t just say everything is tasteless!
Mom: I’m beginning to think I’ve got Covid.
Me: Okay these have very weird texture, I can feel the rice flour on my tongue and definitely not baked enough. Awful aftertaste.
The Bakery Fruit Mince Pies (Checkers)
Dad: Now these are properly baked. Good ratio of pastry to filling and would buy again.
Mom (trying to change up her adjective game and now realising her husband is showing up her tasting skills): Pleasant, although the pastry doesn’t taste like it has butter in it?
Me: I’m also picking that up.
Me (looks at pack for list of ingredients): It says ingredients available on request! That’s a bit sketch.
Santa’s Village Deep Filled Mince Pies (Pick ‘n Pay)
Mom (horrified look on face): Are these WOOLIES?!
Filling lacks proper flavour.
Me: No Ma, Pick ‘n Pay.
Dad (being disagreeable): There’s more flavour in this filling!
Me: I’m not convinced. Wouldn’t bother with these again.
The Bakery Chocolate Mince Pies (Checkers)
Me: Hard no. I do not like these at all!
Dad (hardcore chocolate fan): Agree. Doesn’t work. Chocolate conflicts with filling.
Mom: Nah. This trying to blend chocolate with a mince pie doesn’t work. Just stick to a mince pie.
Plantlove Citrus Fruit Mince Pies (Woolworths)
In addition to gluten-free mince pies, this year saw the introduction of vegan mince pies so was especially excited to try these. It’s either hit or miss for me when it comes to vegan baked goods, so I was definitely skeptical. Loved the addition of the pastry leaves, definitely the prettiest of all the mince pies.
Mom: Lovely thin pastry. Delicious.
Me: OMG this filling is yum! I’d buy these again.
Dad (can see on his face he’s trying to process the vegan thing): Yes.
Fruit Mince Pies (Woolworths)
I’m beginning to think that FAIRLADY Test House possibly need to taste more varieties of mince pies, because these seem to continuously get their stamp of approval for best of the best every year, and yet again I’m not sure why.
Dad: Both the pastry and filling absolutely bland. Don’t like these.
Mom: Totally agree. Tasteless.
Me: I expected as much, year on year these disappoint in comparison. The Woolies vegan ones are way better than these.
Clemengold Fruit Mince Pies (Woolworths)
Both my mom and I have absolutely loved these ever since they first came out a couple of years ago, so the bar has always been high here.
Dad: Love the crumble topping, pastry is delicious and the filling is the best.
Mom: Absolutely agree!
Me: They’re still the best, haven’t changed from last year. Actually, think they might be even better?
Free From Gluten Fruit Mince Pies (Woolworths)
Another gluten-free contender and based on how much we disliked the other brand, we were skeptical. At first glance, they looked fab though, like the perfect little Christmas mince pies.
Mom: Delicious! Lovely thin pastry, filling delicious. Can’t tell that these are gluten-free.
Me: Agree. The taste and texture are spot-on. I’d definitely get these again.
Dad: Very good!1