10: Winter palace
Principles have little weight in this series, as we have already established, multiple times, nothing stands in the way of pie sampling. I did pause in front of this box for a few seconds, because, “Duchy Originals” is a tough pie for this staunch republican to swallow. What won me over was the fact that it’s a box of four. One of the toughest logistical points of this stupid enterprise is that cycling a pie a day, when they mostly ship in boxes of six, or even twelve is leading to quite the backlog. In many senses.
So here we are. “Waitrose and partners Duchy Organic All Butter Mince pies”. We’ve gone posh. “All butter” again, but this time, not “All Butter pastry”, just “all butter”. The entire bloody pie is butter. Not vegan then.
For those not in the know, the “Duchy” brand is a the business wing of the Prince of Wales’ charitable foundation. Set up by Prince (now King) Charles at some point in the 90s, the impression is that these puffed up food products are somehow linked to produce from the agricultural resources of the Duchy of Cornwall, and traditional recipes overseen or inspired by agents of the crown. So far as I know, they’re nothing of the sort, they’re just products made under license by various manufacturers, who pay for the privilege of slapping the label on. Typically companies like Waitrose who think that the branding lends the sort of cachet that would appeal to their market demographic. It’s true, I don’t shop at Waitrose much. It’s also true that Waitrose have a very wide range of mince pies.
Enough politics, let’s pie! How is it? Well the pastry is rich and a surprising mixture of crispy, and creamy, reminiscent of eating a fruit crumble. That’s kind of fun. The filling has a stiff jam paste to it. Not much raisin. There is apple. I’m not really feeling coder or walnuts. They’ve gone in very hard on the spice here. Nutmeg, strong cinnamon, maybe clove. I’m almost left with a lingering menthol aftershock. I want to say this pie leaves a bad taste in the mouth, but that would require a little too much poetic license. In truth, it’s a well made entry, but the politics as well as the flavour profile are not really my jam.