Wednesday, 23 November 2016

NEW! Chocolate Orange & Salted Caramel Mince Pies (ALDI)

A few nights ago when enjoying my mince pie and fresh salted caramel custard, I was informed about some rather delicious sounding mince pies by fellow instagrammer Amy. She had tried ALDI's new salted caramel flavoured versions, and promised me that they were "amazing". I wondered whether they were the same salted caramel tarts that came out last year -as an alternative to mincemeat for the people who can't stand the dried fruit filling- but no, apparently not, they were mincemeat and salted caramel pies.

Amy also dropped the bombshell that the discount supermarket are also selling chocolate orange flavoured ones too, and that was all a I needed to hear. The very next day I cajoled Bert into taking me to our closest ALDI (on Specialbuy Sunday I might add) but the store had completely run out. Unperturbed I trekked to the branch in my uni city on Monday (yes, In that torrential rain) and eventually found both flavours, priced at £1.59 per six pack.

Admittedly I cursed Amy that afternoon for tempting me with the curious sounding mince pies, especially when I turned up to my lectures drenched through to the skin (hence the rain damaged boxes) with my big 'nuttier than a fruit cake' ALDI bag. Can you tell I'm the cool kid in class? I really hoped that the mince pies would be worth the effort, and that I'd be thanking Amy instead later...

Chocolate Orange

"All butter shortcrust pastry cases filled with an orange flavoured mincemeat, topped with a chocolate and hazelnut filling."

That very evening I tucked into the chocolate orange mince pies. I mean, I love chocolate and often forget how much I like chocolate orange, but would this be a step too far? The pack said they could be enjoyed warm or cold, so of course I tried half and half.

Slicing into the very attractive mince pie revealed an off centre smattering of chocolatey paste stuck to the inside of the lid. There wasn't as much of it going on as I hoped there would be, but the shop assistant in ALDI was glowing with positivity about the deliciousness of these pies so I hoped the chocolate would be more potent than appeared.

The first non heated half was good, but nothing to write home about. The pastry was sweet and crumbly, whilst the mincemeat was zesty and not overwhelmingly rich -but the chocolate was barely distinguishable. There was a little there, but it just felt a bit lacklustre. Humf.

Admittedly the second half was the side with the most chocolate in, and I deliberately chose to heat this side as I tend to prefer mince pies warm anyway. 10 or so seconds in the microwave later and I could see the steam emitting from the pastry.

Wowzer! This side really was chocolatey. The cocoa orange came through in full pelt, so strongly that it completely overshadowed the mincemeat. The texture of gooey chocolate and fruits however was divine, and I found myself delighting in the sheer decadence of the combination.

It's a shame that the chocolate wasn't better spread out, but I still can't wait for my next chocolate orange mince pies. I did wonder how I would get through the 18 mince pies that I've bought in the last week (to myself, Bert hates mince pies) but now I realise that there's no chance I'm giving these babies up.


Salted Caramel 

"All butter shortcrust pastry cases filled with fruity mincemeat of vine fruits and mixed peel, topped with salted caramel."

Now I realised after my concoction last week that salted caramel and mincemeat shouldn't be a feared combination, but instead heralded for it's scrummy-ness. 

Again, I decided to try half warm and half ambient, so sliced the pie in two. I soon wondered why the pastry was only half filled, and then realised that quite a bit of the caramel had bled into the casing. My head filled with thoughts of Mary Berry disgracing the soggy sides.

The ambient half was first to make it to my mouth. It was good but, as with my first experience of the chocolate flavour, a bit non-committal. The second portion suffered the same quick blast in my microwave, and I kept my fingers crossed that the same sort of taste transformation would occur. 

Sadly it didn't, and whilst the caramel offered an extra sweetness to the already rich mincemeat, it wasn't special enough to stand out. It was still delicious, and an ingenious twist on the classic, but nowhere near as mind-boggling as the chocolate orange. 


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