Morrison’s Free From Mince Pies

Gluten free and very nearly vegan mince pies

Ingredients – Mincemeat (45%) (sugar, apple puree, raisins, sultana, glucose syrup, currants, vegetable oils (palm, sunflower), glucose-fructose syrup, orange peel, spices, rice flour, acidity regulators (acetic acid, citric acid), lemon peel, dill, treacle, orange oil, preservative (sulphur dioxide)), Brown rice flour, Tapioca starch, Sugar, Vegetable oils (palm, rapeseed), Water, Ground almonds, Dextrose, Salt, Thickener (xanthan gum), Cornflour, Colour (plain caramel), Emulsifier (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids).

May contain egg, other nuts and peanuts.

This was a pretty good find for a supermarket own brand.  If it wasn’t for that pesky “may contain egg” then these would be vegan as well as wheat free, gluten free and milk free.  The pastry was crisp, and the filling was plentiful and full of flavour.  My only complaint was that these were a little dry, although that’s a problem with mince pies in general, so they benefitted from being accompanied with something moist.  I went with Alpro Soya single cream.

20171124_111309

Gluten free Mince Pie Grudge Match

On the red plate, weighing in at 220g, it’s Hale & Hearty’s Luxury Mince Pies.  The ingredients list is: Sugar, Sultanas, Bramley apple, Currants, Glucose syrup, Candied mixed peel (orange peel, lemon peel, sugar, glucose syrup), Vegetable suet, Modified maize starch, Water, Mixed spice, Acetic acid, Raisins, Colour (caramel), Orange oil, Maize starch, Vegetable oil, Rice flour, Free range egg, Potato starch, Xanthan gum, Natural flavouring.  May contain traces of nut.  Recipe and ingredients milk free.  Factory may have traces of milk.

20151222_222527

On the blue plate, weighing in at a mighty 280g, it’s Lovemore Luxury Mince Pies.  The ingredients list is: Sugar, Sultanas, Bramley apple, Acetic acid, Currants, Glycerine, Vegetable suet, Maize starch, Orange zest, Sulphur dioxide, Mixed spice (Coriander, Cassia, Cinnamon, Ginger, Carraway, Cloves, Nutmeg), Sunflower oil, Raisins, Lemon zest, Orange oil, Palm oil, Rice flour, Potato starch, Water, Dextrose, Maize flour, Egg, Sugar beet fibre, Disodium diphosphate, Potassium carbonate, Xanthan gum, Potassium sorbate.  May contain traces of nuts and peanuts.  Suitable for Coeliacs, Dairy Allergy Sufferers and Vegetarians.

20151222_222810

First impressions count, and the first round was all about the look of the pies.  Hale & Hearty Mince Pies (H&H) did not start well.  There seemed to be hardly any filling, and they seemed a bit crumbly and bashed about.  “They don’t look like the picture on the packet,” grumbled Allergy Dad.  The Lovemore Mince Pies however seemed perfect, which weirdly just made them look artificial and wrong.  They were a bit pale looking too.  Lovemore won this round on points.

The second round was judged on flavour and mouth feel.  The Lovemore Mince Pies looked good, but they were both bland and too sweet.  The pastry was soft and they were coated in sugar.  The H&H Mince Pies, despite being rough round the edges, packed more of a flavour punch.  The texture was better too.  This was H&H’s knockout blow against Lovemore.

As a final test, we offered the H&H mince pies to a family member without telling her that they were gluten and dairy free.  She remarked afterwards “I would have never known.”  That’s pretty much the gold standard of Free From food, if people, who don’t normally eat Free From, don’t notice.  So Hale & Hearty Luxury Mince Pies were the undisputed champ of this grudge match.  Have you tried any other brands of Free From mince pies?  Let us know what you thought in the comments.

Sainsbury’s Free From Panettone Style Loaf Cake

Ingredients

Raisins, Rapeseed oil, Caster sugar, Rice flour, Potato starch, Water, Maize flour, Mixed peel (Orange peel, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Lemon peel, Sucrose, Citric acid, Sulphur dioxide), Tapioca starch, Glycerine, Maize starch, Dried egg, Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, Sodium Stearoyl-2-Lactylate, Dried egg white, Disodium Diphosphate, Potassium Hydrogen Carbonate, Flavourings, Rice starch, Orange zest, Xanthan gum, Carboxymethylcellulose, Potassium sorbate.

Not suitable for customers with an allergy to nuts due to manufacturing methods.

20151220_103158

I don’t buy a lot of supermarket Free From products because they are nearly always unsuitable for the Allergy Brothers, but this just had to be tried.  I can take or leave mince pies, stuffing, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and almost all the rest of the gluten-riddled seasonal treats, but I was really mourning the absence of Panetonne this Christmas.  This is a pretty good substitute.  It has the richness of Panettone, despite not being made with butter.  However, it definitely doesn’t have a Panettone style texture.  Regular Panettone has a light, fluffy texture because it is made from risen dough.  The Free From version has a much denser texture that is closer to sponge cake.  Like a lot of Free From foods, it’s nicer if you don’t compare it.  Is this a good approximation to panettone?  Ish.  Is it a nice, rich, Christmassy cake?  Yes.