Posted: 27 Nov 2012

Have you been good
little boys & girls?

Superstitious types like to make a little secret wish after eating their first mince tart of the festive season. Others reckon the sweet little fruit bombs bring good luck.

So let’s make sure your first bite of buttery pastry and boozy fruit is the best you can get.

La Madre Fruit Mince Pies1. La Madre

La Madre’s baking crew pump out thousands of these fruit-filled, cinnamon-laced mince pies every festive season. The first batches will be on the shelves at the Geelong bakery this week, popping up across Melbourne soon after..

Phillippa's mince pies2. Phillippa’s

A festive fave for many years, Phillippa’s bakery has upped the ante this year by cramming organic fruit into their delightfully buttery pastry. These little beauties appear in Phillippa’s stores and speciality retailers as soon as Melbourne Cup Week is done and dusted (the real start of silly season in Melbourne’s calendar).

3. Abbotsford Kitchen

New to the mince pie scene, Abbotsford Kitchen’s festive flavour bombs are made fresh in small batches and will soon be found at Carlton North’s Rathdowne Deli (or ordered with an email to Ground hazelnuts make the buttery shortcrust pastry deliciously nutty, and the shells are stuffed with quality hand-chopped fruit, soaked in fortified wine and liqueur for several weeks.

Ferguson Plarre mince pies4. Ferguson Plarre

These mince pies are more old school than the others, but no less delicious with sweet and juicy fruit jammed into a buttery shortbread case, topped with a light puff-pastry lid and dusted with icing sugar ($12 for 6). They are best warmed in the oven at 150C for 5min and washed down with a strong cuppa.

Heston Blumenthal's puff pastry mince pie 5. Heston Blumenthal

Food snubs might scoff at the mass-market power of Coles, but there is much to recommend in the supermarket’s “Heston Blumenthal designed” mince pies ($8 for 6).  The British chef has found a way to release the smell of pine trees when heated up and sprinkled with a pine-infused sugar (included in the box). The fruit filling is also a winner, boosted by lemon curd,  rose water and apple puree, all encased in puff pastry.

Honorable mentions to Dench Bakers in North Fitzroy, Baker D. Chirico in Carlton and St Kilda and the shortcakey mince pie pastry at Baker’s Delight.

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