A recipe mash-up helped create New Zealand's best fruit mince pie
New Zealand's best fruit mince pies come from Rangiora Bakery in North Canterbury.
The bakery's distinctive "snowflake" topped pie was judged the country's best in a national competition run by the Baking Industry Association.
Association president and chief judge Kevin Gilbert, of Dunedin, says Rangiora Bakery's mince pies have a traditional approach, but feature a rich fruity, crunchy, spicy filling that has a hint of alcohol. The filling marries perfectly with the light pastry.
On top of the pies is a pastry snowflake decoration with fine feathers.
"That shows really good technique. The pies have finesse," he says.
"Great fruit mince pies have balance, the balance between the pastry and the filling. And balance within the filling. You don't want too much of one flavour."
More than 30 bakeries entered from Christchurch, Wellington, Mount Maunganui, Hamilton, Napier, Masterton, Auckland, Hastings, Taupo, Kaitaia, Masterton.
But few bakeries attempt fruit mince pies.
"Fruit mince pies go in and out of fashion. There seems to be a resurgence at the moment, a resurgence for tradition," Gilbert says.
Rangiora Bakery product development baker Stephanie Muethel says the fruit mince recipe she entered is the first time it has been used.
It's a mix of the bakery's standard recipe and one she got from her fiance's mother. The bakery has entered before, but this is the first win.
"i tried to keep it really nice and fruity but it still has those standard Christmas flavours."
"We are trying to find the right mix between the pastry and filling, we concentrated on the pastry, getting it so it melts in the mouth."
The snowflake was developed with a special cutter and it worked. "The pastry is just right, I'm really happy with that," she says.
The mince pies were judged on presentation (20 per cent), pastry (35 per cent), filling (35 per cent) and Innovation and flair (10 per cent).
The judges were Gilbert, Mat Keys, from Farmers Mill, Steve Adams, from Rustic Cafe, and Dave Bradley, bakery tutor at ARA Institute of Canterbury.