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M&S mince pies top Which? Christmas 2017 taste test

Best Buy gluten-free mince pies from Asda, Morrisons and Tesco also revealed

Mince pies

The Collection Mince Pies from M&S (£2.50 for six) are the must-buy mince pies of 2017, beating premium traditional mince pies from 10 other major supermarkets.

Our panel of four bakery experts ranked every pie, including festive offerings from the likes of Aldi, Lidl, Tesco and Waitrose, for appearance, aroma, taste and texture. When we combined these scores into an overall percentage, M&S was the clear winner. Most experts rated them highly across the board, and were particularly impressed with the fruitiness and citrus notes of the juicy mincemeat filling.

The same can’t be said of Morrisons’ The Best All Butter Mince Pies (£2 for six), which are propping up the bottom of our table. Our panel found the pastry soft and cloying and the mincemeat under-spiced. Unless that sounds like a mouthwatering combination to you, consider buying your pies elsewhere.

See where your usual supermarket ranks in our list of the best mince pies for Christmas 2017.

Mince pies with a twist

Not a fan of traditional mince pies or looking for something a little different this year? Our experts also tasted 11 pies with a difference, including puff pastry mince pies from Asda and a chocolate and ginger concoction from Waitrose.

Watch the video below for our experts’ thoughts on all 11 pies.

Best gluten-free mince pies

You don’t have to miss out on mince pies this year just because you’re avoiding gluten or dairy. In what was a bit of a mince pie marathon, our expert tasters also sampled nine free-from pies to help you avoid pale pastry and flavourless mincemeat.

Three impressed our panel enough to become Best Buys. They were Asda’s Free From Mince Pies (£1.50 for four; gluten and wheat free), Morrisons’ Free From Mince Pies (£2 for four; gluten wheat and milk free) and Tesco’s Free From Deep Filled Mince Pies (£1.75 for four; gluten, wheat and milk free).

But too many free-from pies are still a little too free-from flavour and imagination for our experts’ liking. That was certainly that case with LoveMore’s offering (£1.99 for four), the lowest-scoring free from pies of 2017. Our panel was particularly disappointed by the pastry, which they felt was pale, dry and under-baked on the base.

You can read the tasting notes for all nine pies and see a list of all the free from Christmas foods supermarkets are selling this year in our guide on the best gluten-free mince pies for Christmas 2017.

Easy mince pie recipes

Not convinced by the supermarkets’ offerings this year?

Try adding a bit of extra pizzazz to plain pies with our frangipane topping recipe. We first published it in 2011, when baking expert and mince pie judge, Patrick Moore, gave it to us. But we’d all but forgotten about it until a Which? staffer told us that she’s been making these every year since and is yet to be disappointed.

Or, you could go the whole hog and bake your own mince pies from scratch. We’ve got mince pie tips from Mary Berry and Jamie Oliver, alongside our frangipane topping recipe, in our ultimate guide on how to make mince pies.

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