We have sampled the town's tastiest festive treats
This sweet pie has been a staple of British Christmas festivities for a few hundred years, though its appearance and contents have evolved since the 1600s. Back then, the pies were a large, oblong shape, and contained meat (typically mutton), but by the time Queen Victoria was on the throne in the mid-1800s, the pie had shrunk in size, while the recipe had grown sweeter. Today, shortcrust pastry is filled with a sweet mixture of dried fruits such as raisins, sultanas and mixed peel, along with spices including cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger.
If you think you love mince pies as much as Time Out, think again. Determined to unearth the best pies Dubai has to offer, our devoted panel of pie-lovers put their palates on the line, noting pastry texture, ratio of filling to casing and flavour of the mincemeat.
Circle’s mince pies Though not traditionally shaped, the crumbly, citrusy pastry of Circle’s freshly baked offerings is full of flavour, and holds a generous helping of well-spiced mince, topped with a light dusting of snow-like icing sugar. Best for: Tradition with a twist. 5/5 Dhs40 for six. Orders must be made 24 hours in advance. Jumeirah Beach Park Plaza branch only, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 342 8177).
Costa’s mini mince pies Possibly the prettiest of all the pies we tasted (though according to our online editor, ‘they look too posh’), these small, almost bite-sized offerings, each with star-shaped pastry hats, encase a surprisingly smooth, runny mincemeat, and have the pastry-to-filling ratio spot on. Best for: Easy on the spice, they’re good for the uninitiated. 3.5/5 Dhs5 each, or two for Dhs9. Various locations, including Mall of the Emirates (04 340 1009).
Marks and Spencer’s classic lattice mince pies The upsides of M&S’s traditional pies are the festive sugar dusting to add a touch of sweetness, and the crumbly, biscuit-like pastry, though there’s higher ratio of pastry to filling than some of the others we tried, which can leave them a little dry. Best for: Serving with cream or ice cream. 3/5 Dhs20 for a box of six pies. Festival Centre, Dubai Festival City (04 206 6466); Mall of the Emirates (04 395 8977).
More Café’s mince pies Given their large size and thin, slightly greasy pastry, you’d be forgiven for mistaking these for meat pies, but there’s a phenomenal amount of mince inside, and for this we salute the bakers. Best for: When you have greedy guests. 4/5 Dhs9.50 for one, Dhs56 for six. Various locations, including Mall of the Emirates (04 395 0967).
Waitrose mini mince pies Rich, crumbly and buttery the pastry may be, but these are bite-size, so they aren’t too sickly. The four different toppings provide welcome variety, and the mince inside is well spiced. Best for: Christmas canapé parties. 4/5 Dhs21.75 for a box of 12 pies. Waitrose, various locations including The Dubai Mall (04 434 0700).