Mince Pies are one of the most popular Christmas treats and are widely available from supermarkets and bakeries during the festive season, but what actually makes a really great Mince Pie? This handy guide will provide you with interesting information about the beloved treats and explain why you should choose our award-winning Jack & Beyond Mince Pies.
A Short History of Mince Pies
Today's Mince Pies have come a long way and the first recipes are in fact many centuries old. Over time they have had many shapes and names such as ''Crib Cakes'' and ''Mutton Pies'', with the latter hinting towards their original filling. Back in the day Mince Pies used to be savoury and usually filled with minced meat (such as mutton) mixed with spices, fruits and alcohol which were acting as natural preservatives for the meat.
Although Mince Pies are perceived to be a classic British Christmas treat, the first recipes were actually brought to Europe from the Middle East (where spiced meat pies were a common treat) in the 12th and 13th Century by crusaders returning home. Nowadays Mince Pies are usually vegetarian and contain a sweet mixture of fruits and spices alone – even through the term ''Mincemeat'' is still widely used to refer to the filling.
The Characteristics of a Great Mince Pie
You can recognise a high quality Mince Pie by checking the ingredients and use-by-date:
- The pastry used for Mince Pies should always be made with proper butter and it should have a lovely soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture.
- A truly amazing Mince Pie is filled with plenty of mixed fruit such as sultanas, currants, raisins and apples, enriched with a fragrant spice blend. The filling should not be overly sweet as this will overpower the Christmassy taste of fruits and spices. It should also not contain Palm Oil or artificial flavourings.
- A lot of commercial Mince Pies have a very long shelf life (e.g. several months) and this usually indicates that additional preservatives have been used which is something that should be avoided, especially because the texture of the pastry might not be as nice after a few months. Even if you buy your Mince Pies from a bakery and not from a supermarket, it is worth checking the shelf life and if they are truly homemade as many bakeries make the pastry in house but buy the mincemeat ready to go from a supplier.
- A truly great Mince Pie relies on natural preservatives such as lemon and spices which will still make the pies last for several weeks but without compromising on texture and flavour – although if it's really delicious, it probably will not last that long anyway!
What makes our Jack & Beyond Mince Pies special?
Our Mince Pies are 100% homemade using only high quality ingredients such as British butter and free range eggs for the pastry and our irresistible, handmade Mincemeat is packed with bramley apples, sultanas, raisins, currants and plenty of flavourful spices. We do not use palm oil and artificial flavourings or preservatives for our Mince Pies and they are lovingly baked in our on-site bakery.
Jack & Beyond homemade Mince Pies have a shelf life of two weeks when stored in an airtight container or tin and can be frozen for up to one month.
Many of our customers have told us that ours are the best store bought Mince Pies they have ever enjoyed and they have also been award 2 stars in the 2020 Great Taste Awards with a clear verdict from the judges:
"A beautiful, artisan mince pie which looks totally different from a more commercial pie. Generously filled with an immediate aroma of Christmas."
Make the best decision of your day and shop our range of classic Mince Pies and varieties now: https://jackandbeyond.com/collections/mince-pies.