'Tis the season to dive head first into festive patisserie, and I have selflessly tried, tested and tried again a shortlist of London's most eligible mince pies in order to bring you what I believe is the rightful winner of the best mince pie accolade.
Above, efforts from Louis Patisserie (top left), Euphorium Bakery (top right), GAIL'S (bottom left), Maison Blanc (bottom right) and Carluccio's (centre). Read on for the verdict...
Many believe GAIL'S to be at the top of the mince pie game and it is true that this little bake was very delicious indeed. The pastry was very light, soft and crumbly and it had been packed full to the brim with mincemeat. I found the filling to be well spiced and good and fruity, but the texture was too smooth and rather mealy. It also had an odd over-cloved aftertaste rather like a Christingle.
This Hungarian Hampstead stalwart is famed locally for it's brilliant patisserie, so I had high hopes for the mince pie; it certainly looks magnificent with its beautifully scalloped edges. But sadly this one was all mouth no trousers as there was a meagre teaspoon of mincemeat inside, rendering the pastry: filling ratio all wrong. A shame, as the pastry had an exceptional shortness and a lovely little buttery snap to it.
A suspicious uniformity to this one from the French bakery mini-chain, and a very commercial taste and crumble to it. Not to say the pastry isn't good, it is perfectly nice. The filling was ok too but there was a synthetic taste of orange and lemon, however this may just have been from some overzealous zesting. On the plus side it was properly boozy, but overall average at best.
A pretty little thing with a good dusting of icing sugar and impressively flakey shortcrust pastry which was much lighter than other attempts. There was a nice helping of super sticky mincemeat which was very fruity but bizarrely could have been a bit sweeter. I'd happily eat 12 though.
This one stood head and shoulders above the competition - quite literally, as this was about double the height of the little GAIL'S and Carluccio's ones. Amazingly short pastry topped with caster sugar instead of icing sugar and full to the brim of properly textured properly homemade mincemeat with discernible soaked fruits and little nuts. The only one I couldn't help finishing from my 'tasting'. A triumph of a mince pie, and luckily for non-Londoners Euphorium are finding their way into some Tesco stores with a concession bakery...
All we need now is some thick alcoholic cream and a tot of Harvey's Bristol Cream.