pie club

...mince pie mayhem


Pie Club 2015

It's still a knockout

There's been an awakening, have you felt it? Really? Well, we have. Pie Club is back to guide you through the shelves aching with mincemeat treats and all things pastry-encased ready for Christmas 2015, partly using The Force, but mostly our lunch hour.

The sixteen finalists in our tournament draw have been selected by applying a comprehensive formula, based on variables including but not limited to: historic performance, number of previous appearances, and likely availability.

Look out for misfiring motifs, boozed-up inners, acid indigestion and shattered dreams...Bring on the pies!

Quarter Final - Morrisons Signature vs Aldi Specially Selected - 6th Dec 2015
It seems a long time since Morrisons Signature got us underway at the start of November, vanquishing the eternally misguided Mr Kipling. We were certainly much further away from World War Three. So, here they are again, Bradfords finest, looking to shrug off the thought of inexorable crises to come and continue their strong defence of 2014s crown with what could be another comfortable victory. The upstarts, Aldi Specially Selected are playing their first quarter final, and have a notorious history of under-achieving, even when espoused by the media as the next big thing.
You have to say, it has been a great draw so far for the reigning champions, but can they bring their A game to such an uninspiring tie? Or will they suffer from over-confidence like the lazy executive producers of Tom Hanks' ill-fated sequel/cash-in The Bi-Polar Express?
Morrisons Signature, safe as houses Aldi SS, having a big night
Morrisons Signature, safe as houses Aldi SS, having a big night
Morrisons Signature Aldi Specially Selected
The only unblemished pie lid in the competition smacks a little of trying to emulate Barcalonas erstwhile high moral code. The sleeve conforms to this years trend for simple, dark frontages, and joins the ranks of the gratuitous crumbshot lovers. A rainbow of red hues reminds the potential scoffer of the organs to be affected. The broadest motif for Christmas 2015; their gargantuan snowflake covers most of the crust and sets the tone for a distinct edge cogging. Aldis black sleeve is perhaps the least black of its peers, using a chalkboard effect to lighten the mood and a playful stacked crumbshot to create photographic frisson. Is it balanced? Are they glued? Did the inner run down the side? I could go on.
Match Report
A cold and sour start from MozSigs outer wall, up against an altogether sweeter proposition from AldiSS. Advantage to the Germans.
No panic from the Yorkshiremen, simply a smooth, deeply festive fruit, developing into a full mouth burst of candied peel tang. Its AldiSS turn to chill the senses, by issuing a brandy-fuelled, glucose syrup punch. Less Christmas Eve anticipation, more Black Eye Friday anxiety.
Theres no rush to call this one, so the full pies are eaten in turn. Have AldiSS managed to find another gear, perhaps one where the many other constituent parts are given space to see the light of day. Or have they slipped to another embarrassing defeat by being that strange uncle that seems fun as the drinking starts but overshoots the pleasantly merry line by a distance?
And the winner is: Morrisons Signature kept a cool head amidst the spirits with Aldis chances for another year evaporating along with its surplus brandy.

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Quarter Final - Lidl Luxury vs Tesco Finest - 3rd Dec 2015
Quarter final two sees the old take on the new. Tesco Finest have a fine, if patchy, tradition in this competition. Theyve never made a final, but have contested the latter rounds on a handful of occasions and topped the old style group stage in 2012 before succumbing to the eventual winners in an oddly one-sided semi.
Lidl Luxurys 2013 win surprised many, but since then theyve gone on to attract attention from some of the more famous, if lightweight, reviewers. Which? fancied them, which was then picked up on by a few of the newspapers and all of a sudden, you find yourself with a bandwagon.
We at Pie Club reserve our bandwagon jumping for trolling reality stars or trashing expensively made franchise prequels.
Lets shut up and find out who will join M&S Classic in the semis
Lidl Luxury, gurning madman Tesco Finest, What is thy bidding?
Lidl Luxury, gurning madman Tesco Finest, What is thy bidding?
Lidl Luxury Tesco Finest
Ive had a few local dry-stone wallers on criticising the amateurish stacking of sultanas in that vivid crumbshot on an otherwise blacked out sleeve. Perhaps it was meant to elicit such debate. Well never know. The pie lid has been similarly dumped atop the walls showing an equal lack of care. Solid eight-point star motif though. Tescos busy sleeve relegates their visceral UFO crumbshot to side panels, but still has enough going on up top to please the eye. Both these teams loudly boast Courvoisier VS Cognac to the pie buying public but Tesco take the honours for clearest nod to the crafty tippler, putting their booze credentials in a faux stamp. All products should be so kind to the functioning alcoholic.
Match Report
In a sublime start, LidlLux lead off with a soft but insistent butter crust, matched almost exactly by TescoFin but with an even more traditional oven-baked finish to the afterglow.
The first full bite forces a cherry and citrus peel top note to the fore for LidlLux in combat with a barrage of raisin textures from TescoFin which threaten to spill over into gritty. Worrying times for the Tescoans.
The finish sees LidlLux hand a role to turps amid their fluid apple pie romance, leaving TescoFin a chance to impress with their port laced vine army.
I have to say, that there are small margins here, and on another day the loser could easily overturn the result to come.
And the winner is: The boys from Snowy Lodge Lidl Luxury have pinched this one due to marginally better consistency. Be careful with that cherry in the semi though.

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