It’s December! And this can mean only one thing – no, not lamenting that the Gluten Eating Husband hasn’t (yet) bought me an advent calendar (I live in hope); but it’s officially time to start the mince pie munching! But, dear reader, you don’t want to waste your precious Christmas pennies on an inferior pie. You need to know which is the best pie! Here at Gluten Free B, we know that a mince pie is a very personal choice. Some prefer them drowned in custard, whereas others don’t dig on moo (dairy). Some like them topless (oo-er!) whereas other strange people like a spot of marzipan.
With some new pies on the market this year, we turned to 3 expert taste testers for one our our trademark scientific roundups of the best the supermarkets have to offer – awarding marks for quality of pastry, yumminess of filling, crust-to-filling ratio, and general festive cheer. Which pies are good enough to leave out for Father Christmas? And which are going on the naughty list?
Delicious filling, but short, soft pastry divided the judges.
EDITOR’S PICK: Miss American Pie?: Udi’s Gluten Free Mince Pies (link)
Sadly these pies are not available for Christmas 2014 :(
The transatlantic divider! Do we really trust a traditional mince pie from our American cousins? These pale, flat little pies are similar to last year’s Genius pies that have been discontinued, and like them, have divided opinion! Whilst I loved the soft, short, homemade-style pastry, Sarah from Wuthering Bites wasn’t convinced: “If i’m gonna have pastry in a mince pie it’s got to be nice and buttery with a firm base!”. They did, however, hold together well, and we were united on the rich, apple-y filling – one of the nicest tasted.
Average GF Nomability: 7/10
Carry on Baking: Sainsbury’s Freefrom Deep Filled Mince Pies (link)
£2.19 for 4, 226 calories per pie (also available with an iced top)
Last year’s dairy-free winner of ‘best pastry’ is back – this time with innuendo-laden reviews! This year the firm pastry failed to impress. After a few pies shedding their tops (!) Laura (Little Missed Gluten
) judged them not “durable
“, whereas Sarah found dreaded “soggy bottoms”
on hers. They are still limited on the festive cheer, and looking a little machine made, but our tasters were rather fond of the super-sweet and generous deep fill (cough
), especially paired with a big splurge of cream. These were the best value pies, so if you’re after a cheap (dairy free) thrill – head to Sainsbury’s!
Average GF Nomability: 7.25/10
No contest on festive cheer: M&S are this year’s best of the pies
WINNER: Magic & Sparkle: Marks & Spencer Mince Pies (link)
Let’s face it, Marks & Spencer aren’t just winning at mince pies, they are winning at Christmas this year – having cottoned on that coeliacs were annually hoarding the gluten-free pigs in blankets, their Christmas and party range is full of coeliac-friendly delights. Hurrah! They have made some adjustments to the recipe for 2013 – chiefly removing the marzipan star in favour of a pastry one to much controversy (“sooo 2012!”). Despite this, the pies still trounced the others for festive cheer (just look at the lovely box!), and the perfectly balanced buttery crust-to- curranty filling ratio. There’s more than a little hint of citrus in this year’s winner. Head to M&S for the pies, but better take some pennies to stock up on the other treats while you are there.
Average GF Nomability: 9/10
Solid Waitrose pies best for your lunchbox
Portable Pie: Waitrose Love Life Free From Mince Pies (link)
£2.50 for 4, 216 calories per pie
No major changes from last year for this “robust” pie. Whilst the thick, firm pastry won’t please everyone, it does mean you’ll be free from the perpetual problem of a crumbly snack. In fact, Laura enjoyed eating them straight from the tray by hand and rated them a “definite must for any coeliac”, so we reckon these are the best bet for your lunchbox, to enjoy when your colleagues start passing round the off-limits gluteny treats. Generous filling, a good all-rounder, just what we expect from Waitrose. (Worth noting that these pies contain syrup derived from wheat, which is suitable for GF-ers, but not for some people with wheat allergy).
Average GF Nomability: 8/10
Big thanks to: