Some people love them, others can’t stand them – no, we’re not talking about Marmite, but rather the humble mince pie. The nation is divided into two camps: those who declare Christmas officially open back in October because they couldn’t wait to tuck into their first box of mince pies, and those who would couldn’t care less about the classic festive bake.
However, what can unite both sides is the alternative mince pie – that is, mince pies spiked with unique flavourings such as rum and coconut or salted caramel; fun toppings like crumble or frangipane; flavoured pastry such as Lidl’s speculoos-flavoured casings; or an entirely different filling altogether for those who really can’t stand the traditional mincemeat filling.
All the tradition of a mince pie combined with fun twists and unique flavours makes for a thoroughly Christmassy bake that can bring everyone together, both mince pie lovers and haters – and maybe even convert a few in the process.
Alternative mince pies
Everyone loves Percy Pig so even the most die-hard traditionalist will find it hard not to be tempted by these bright pink Percymas Pies from M&S. Shortcrust pastry is filled with a berry and grape flavour sponge and fruity jelly, which is topped with pink fondant icing and hand-finished with none other than the pig himself.
Aldi has alternative mince pies by the sackful this Christmas: not to be missed are the award-winning Millionaires Mince Pies, which bring together golden salted caramel, rich chocolate and hazelnut sauce with a generous helping of spiced mincemeat underneath a buttery shortbread lid.
Don’t forget to leave room for Aldi’s Sloe Gin Mince Tarts, Salted Caramel Crumble Mince Pies, Blood Orange & Gin Crumble Mince Pies and Frangipane Mince Pies, as well as the Miniature Mince Pie Selection, which come in packs of 9 with three distinctive flavours in each: Walnut & Buttercream (brandy-infused mincemeat topped with rich Cognac, hazelnut buttercream and a golden-dusted walnut), Amaretto, Cherry & Kirsch (Amaretto-infused cherry mincemeat with a Kirsch buttercream) and Rose (rose-infused mincemeat finished with fragrant dried rose petals) (available in store from 3 December).
Waitrose’s mini mince pie selection is receiving rave reviews online: each box of 9 contains 3 almond topped mince pies, 3 orange & juniper flavoured mince pies and 3 caramelised hazelnut topped baklava pies.
Salted caramel lovers will adore these: the all-butter pastry is generously filled with juicy spiced vine fruits and an extra special salted caramel filling.
For a touch of decadence, try Harvey Nichols mini mince pie selection. Jam-packed with rich fruit and Christmas spices, they come in three festive flavours: Traditional (laced with rum and brandy), warming Ginger and the ‘verging-on-sinful’ Amaretto.
Have a taste of the tropical this Christmas with Sainsbury’s Piña Colada-inspired mince pies filled with a rum and pineapple mincemeat filling and finished with a coconut crumble topping.
Lid’s Biscoff-inspired mince tarts combine the wonderful flavour of Speculoos with almonds, tasty mincemeat and buttery pastry. Also at Lidl this Christmas is their Deluxe Gingerbread Star Mince Pies, Deluxe Florentine Topped Mince Pies and Deluxe Salted Caramel and Black Forest Crumble Topped Mince Pies.
These are one of Bettys bestsellers, and for good reason. Freshly baked everyday, the box of 12 contains 6 Frangipane Mince Pies and six Ricciarelli Mince Pies, all presented in a beautiful gift box.
Morello cherry mincemeat and a cherry and Kirsch filling combine inside the buttery chocolate pastry case, topped with an all-butter chocolate chip crumble and finished with a sweet glittery dusting.
One for the chocoholics, cherries, chocolate and clementines take residence in classic shortcrust houses to offer a new take on the classic mince pie at Harrods.
If they’re mini, you can just eat more, right? Booths delicious all-butter shortcrust pastry is filled with brandy-soaked fruity mincemeat, but 3 are topped with an all-butter shortcrust pastry star, 3 are topped with almond crumble and 3 are topped with a toffee nut florentine.
Tesco has spiked its mincemeat with a dash of rum for a lightly spiced festive warmth inside its finest mince pies.