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Best fruit mince pies in Sydney

Christmas mince pies are from British origins and were traditionally made with savoury meat, suet, chopped fruit and spices such as clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. Over the years the pies became sweeter until eventually the savoury meat was no longer included and we were left with the sweet pies we have today.

Nostalgia hits me every December and 2017 is no different. Local bakeries start making all the desserts I grew up eating at my family Christmas lunch. I decided I wanted to know who made the best fruit mince pies in Sydney. I strongly believe that certain foods cannot be determined as "the best" due to extrinsic factors. For example, if (like me) you grew up having a traditional British Christmas meal, with mums homemade mince pies every year, you are likely to consider her recipe the yard stick by which all other mince pies are judged. Mums are forever the best cooks in the world, yet most have different recipes, leaving us with slightly different expectations of what a mince pie should taste like.

This list starts with my favourite mince pie and works its way down the list, concluding with a creative mince pie substitute. I have included detailed descriptions to help you make your decision on which is the best mince pie for you (other than your mums version of course.) I hope you enjoy reading through the different types Sydney has to offer as much as I enjoyed eating my way through them! Merry Christmas.

Price: $5:50 (110g)

Look: classic, star shaped lid dusted with icing sugar

Aroma: moderate Christmas mince pie scent

Pastry: thick, crisp, stable

Mince: juicy, well balanced sweet and tartness

Ratio: perfect ratio

Overall: perfectly balanced in all areas, the mince is addictive, and the improved pastry recipe from previous years is much more stable. I could eat multiple of these in one sitting, and by multiple I mean a lot.

Price: $4 (70g)

Look: rustic homemade look, unique shamrock lid

Aroma: mild Christmas mince pie scent

Pastry: thick, crisp, stable, gluten free

Mince: Moorish alcohol flavor, slightly on the dryer side

Ratio: ratio of mince to pastry was great

Overall: great home made style mince tart, the thick pastry made it slightly dry as a whole but that is the only critique I could make. Another pie I could eat multiple of in one sitting. You wouldn’t know they were gluten free.

Price: $4.50 (80g)

Look: unique combination of heart and star lids

Aroma: boozy

Pastry: ginger bread pastry, thin, soft, unstable

Mince: moist, boozy mince

Ratio: mince heavy

Overall: packed full of flavour, super boozy, soft pastry. Possibly a few too many flavours happening, personally I like strong flavours. Can’t eat too many of these bad boys, two per sitting was ample.

Price: $5.50 (50g)

Look: rustic homemade look, heart lid hidden with icing sugar, small

Aroma: none

Pastry: flaky, stable

Mince: sweet, balanced complex flavours

Ratio: perfect ratio

Overall: The mince was made up of an enjoyable balance of sweet and tartness, with a thick jam like texture. A lot of thought was put into this recipe, I particularly enjoyed the tartness and caramelised flavour. It could be a little less sweet and larger in size.

Price: $3.50 (55g)

Look: cute star shaped lid, small and under filled

Aroma: very mild

Pastry: thin, crisp, stable

Mince: moist, flavorsome, a little sweet

Ratio: good ration of mince to pastry

Overall: flavoursome pie largely due to the unique stout and brandy soaked mince. Good balanced pie, with an fantastic Christmas pie flavour. I would like to see a slightly larger version.

Price: $6 (100g)

Look: unique galette style

Aroma: mild

Pastry: stable, flakey

Mince: juicy, flavorsome

Ratio: perfect ratio

Overall: Interesting take on a fruit mince pie, easy to hold and eat, juicy and very flavoursome. I'd have preferred a tartness to balance off the sweetness.

Price: $7 (120g)

Look: Enclosed pie, a bit dull

Aroma: mild

Pastry: cinnamon short crust, buttery, soft, unstable

Mince: moist, robust flavours, strong citrus notes

Ratio: perfect ration of mince to pastry

Overall: A delightful citrus and apple flavour, encased in a cinnamon short crust. This is one of the best pies on my list, however I found it lacked that nostalgic Christmas taste and aroma I was looking for. The soft pastry made it a little hard to eat with out making a mess, but it was worth it.

Price: $3.80 each (60g)

Look: cute unique rustic look, smallish

Aroma: almost no aroma

Pastry: thin, crisp, stable

Mince: mild flavor, reliant on sultanas, caramelized

Ratio: mince heavy,

Overall: gorgeous little rustic pie, with a nice homemade flavour to it. Enjoyable caramelised fruit, although slightly dry. These were a nice change to the moist open pipe varieties, i'd like to have seen more variety in the fruits used.

Price: $3 each (60g)

Look: unique look

Aroma: mild

Pastry: thin, crisp, stable

Mince: consistent, slightly on the dryer side, not a strong alcohol flavour

Ratio: mince heavy

Overall: Pastry and mince work perfectly together. This is a versatile pie, if you are buying for the whole family and need a mince pie that everyone will enjoy this is it. For me it lacked that x-factor, but that’s largely due to my love of strong flavours.

Price: $3 each (70g)

Look: plain, unassuming

Aroma: mild

Pastry: soft, stable, buttery

Mince: moist, good flavour could be stronger

Ratio: could do with more mince, slightly pastry heavy

Overall: Another versatile pie. If you’re passing by and want a mince pie on the run, this will hit the spot. The ratio of pastry to mince was too high, but the pastry is so damn good I didn’t care.

Price: $4.50 (80g)

Look: plain, unassuming, good size

Aroma: vanilla scent

Pastry: soft, stable

Mince: Sweet, not alcoholic in taste, strong vanilla flavour

Ratio: perfect ratio

Overall: Perfect balance of mince to pastry, with a jam like rhubarb and apple filling. The filling was over spiced with vanilla for my liking, and ultimately found the pie lacked that nostalgic Christmas flavour and aroma.

*Fruit mince tart alternative

Price: $8 (160g)

Look: unique, decorative

Aroma: mild

Pastry: firm sable (biscuit), crunchy

Mince: boozy

Custard: creamy, spiced

Ratio: good ratio of custard to mince, and sable

Overall: This is a creative alternative to the traditional fruit mince pie, and ever so Indulgent as you would expect from an Andy Bowdy dessert. It’s a Christmas spiced custard, with boozy brandied fruit, topped with a decorative sable. Delicious and decadent, I tried to eat this slowly to no avail.

Note: This is an independent review, food purchased was a combination of complimentary visits and self funded visits by "Itd be rude not to".

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