With mince pies for purists, vegans, chocoholics and cocktail fans — there’s a pastry-encased treat for all this Christmas in London.
The award-winning classic mince pie
Tried having a (great) coffee at one of Melrose and Morgan's north London shops and not succumbing to their mince pies? We are yet to succeed, such is the temptation of these perfect little pies and their heady aroma — that'll be the signature vanilla pastry to blame. Boasting a Great Taste Award and various other accolades, the mince pies here are well proportioned (read: you can manage three) gloriously short and buttery, with a full pastry lid containing carefully spiced homemade mince meat chock-a-block with gently boozy fruits. Everything at Melrose and Morgan's shops is painstakingly sourced with British ingredients playing a starring role. This pie is everything your classic Christmas demands.
Melrose + Morgan, 42 Gloucester Avenue, NW1 8JD and Oriel Hall, Oriel Place, NW3 1QN
The dairy-dodging mince pie
Konditor's rich, ultra-buttery shortcrust pastry mice pies truly are a thing of beauty, filled as they are with plump vine fruits and just a touch of booze. But this year we're really here for their vegan versions: meat and dairy-dodgers will already be aware how tricky it is to achieve a beautifully short pastry without the aid of verboten butter and (whisper it) lard. But Konditor have only gone and done it. These cruelty-free Christmas pies are just as indulgent-tasting as the naughty ones, and only a smidgen crumblier (usually a vegan mince pie's downfall is that it disintegrates immediately). The filling is sweeter than the standard versions but if you didn’t tell us it was vegan you’d never know. A triumph of a pie.
Konditor, six London locations, see website
The viennoiserie-inspired mince pie
Popham's Bakery has been on every baked-goods-fan's hot list since opening in 2017. Their viennoiserie in particular receives great acclaim for an ever-changing list of pastries: think Marmite, schlossberger cheese and spring onion; poached quince and brown butter custard; and the famous bacon and maple varieties. It's no surprise then that their seasonal bakes are just as special, and we're expecting queues to form for their mince pie which, for 2019, is traditional homemade mince meat encased in 27 (count them!) layers of laminated croissant dough and baked inside. Not enough indulgence for you? It's then topped with a smear of clotted cream and served warm. Name a better way to spend £2.80. (From 1 December).
Popham's Bakery, 19 Prebend Street, N1 8PF and 197 Richmond Road, E8 3NJ
The mince pie made by the King of Pies
Is London's Lord High Commander of pastry, Calum Franklin, doing a mince pie to add to his many pie-stringed bow? Of course he is. The mince pies coming out of the Holborn Dining Room are a sight to behold: a weighty, glossy, burnished full-pastry-covered mince pie with star-shaped hand crimping and a sprinkling of sugar ready to put all other contenders to shame. So far they're sadly not available to take away from The Pie Room, which means you’ll have to enjoy warm, served with clotted cream and as part of the pie-heavy festive menu at The Rosewood. What a hardship.
Holborn Dining Room, The Rosewood, 252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN
The mince pie you need for a Joyeux Noel
We’re fully on board with mince pies for breakfast and even better should they present themselves in the form of a legitimate breakfast item: the croissant. Yep, PAUL's mince pie croissants (£2.55) are back again this year by popular demand to meet your morning crimbo craving needs. Here, PAUL’s quality French patisserie meets the Victorian classic in a flaky, buttery croissant crammed with tangy, sweet mince meat before being dusted with icing sugar. We're tres, tres into it.
PAUL, 28 London locations, see website
The gourmet chocolate mince pie
Brownies? Good. Mince pies? Good. And why choose between them, when you can pop in to Paul A. Young, the excellent chocolatier/patissier in Soho or Angel and grab yourself a deliciously Christmassy hybrid? These pies are a cross between the classic pastry encased mince pie and a gooey American fudge brownie — and are sure to make even the most strident mince-pie-denier admit the error of their ways. With ruby port infused mince meat and the most decadent, artisanal chocolate going, housed in a buttery pastry base, we are very glad to see Paul's brownie mince pies back for another year.
Paul A. Young, 143 Wardour Street, W1F 8WA and 33 Camden Passage, N1 8EA
The biggest, booziest mince pies in town
If you can manage to ignore St John's famous Eccles cakes, doughnuts and croissants you're a better person than we are. But we wager that few are immune to the seasonal charms of their mince pies. They mean serious business; we're talking a substantial golden bronzed specimen of super short pastry rammed to the hilt with sticky raisins, sultanas and spiced fruits — and with more than a dram or two of the good stuff. We'll take four and a slice of Lancashire cheese from Neal's Yard Dairy while we're in the neighbourhood thanks.
St John Bakery, 3 Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials, WC2H 9DP
The Great British Bake Off-worthy mince pie with a Taiwanese twist
Remember lovely Kim-Joy from last year's GBBO and her cute, quirky animal bakes? She's now teamed up with one of London’s oldest butchers, C Lidgate, for a spin on the classic Christmas pudding: enter the Mince Bao. Kim-Joy was brought up eating homemade bao cooked by her mum and now her own sweet, sticky, citrusy mince meat is embedded in a delightfully soft, pillowy sweet bao bun for anyone who fancies a Taiwanese take on the season this year. If you're not planning to go west this December, order from AmazonFresh for £6.99, for a pack of four.
C. Lidgate, 110 Holland Park Avenue, W11 4UA
The mince pie with extra Christmas spirit
Party season means all bets are off when it comes to indulging, so here we present to you Maison Bab's Mince Pie'd cocktail. Kitscher than a Snowball, this boozy, pastry-topped creation is made up of Grey Goose Vodka, a mince meat flavoured infusion and prosecco all housed in an actual mince pie for the relatively unprincely sum of £8. Pop down anytime to pair it with one of their ridiculously delicious kebabs.
Maison Bab, 4 Mercer Walk, WC2H 9FA