There’s a lot to love about mince pies: the taste, the smell, all the lovely fruit, even the tiny little foil packets they sit in. But when it comes to the pastry, gluten-free mince pies can often be a huge disappointment.
The pastry is either very dense or incredibly crumbly, often both. Basically, it’s impossible to eat them, and often not a rewarding experience if you manage it.
But some are very much better than others. Question is: which? We gathered a team of taste testers – some coeliac, some not – to eat yet more mince pies (yes, we’ve already published one review of the high street’s best offerings ) and set them on a mission to find the best – and worst – GF mince pies out there.
Free From Mince Pies 4 Pack 220g, Morrisons, £2, in stores and online
There’s a really nice crunch on the shortcrust pastry, and this pie is really balanced flavour-wise – we can’t quite believe these lovely morsels are vegan, too. These Morrisons mince pies won the Good Housekeeping taste test this year – but while the filling is delicious, one reviewer felt short-changed on the serving.
Made Without Wheat Mince Pies, M&S, £2.50, in stores
Made with really buttery pastry – possibly too buttery for some of our tasting team – it was a surprise and a pleasure to find that these pies don’t just crumble to nothing. The filling is very fruity, while the pretty star pattern means they look lovely on a plate. (If they last that long.) “It tastes exactly like a normal mince pie,” wrote one non-coeliac reviewer. “You wouldn’t know it wasn’t.”
Free from deep filled mince pies, Tesco, £1.75. In stores and online
These crumbly pastry cases, made with rice flour, maize starch and potato starch, don’t really taste much like pastry at all – one reviewer labelled them “disappointing”. The servings of filling inside, however are generous but could be more boozy.
Gluten Free Mince Pies, Aldi, £1.35
These pies, with their “chalky” pastry and “synthetic mincemeat” which leaves a lingering aftertaste, might have scored the lowest in our test, but one of our reviewers was very impressed, talking about their “amazing texture with the perfect amount of crumble”. Structurally they are definitely not the best: one had lost its top entirely by the time we’d removed it from the packet.