Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Udi's Gluten Free - Mince Pies

The first (and most likely last) time this year we'll see a gluten free mince pie on this blog! Udi's Gluten Free have stormed the UK from across the pond (USA) with their range of Gluten free foods to help those suffering from Coeliac disease, gluten sensitivities or for people who generally want to cut gluten from their diet for a healthier lifestyle. Udi's were kind enough to send me some of their mince pies to see how they compare to their gluten filled brothers. It's going to be a tough challenge!

Presentation - 4

The box looks like these are going to be on shelves all year around. I hope so, even if they are gluten free. However, in terms of decoration, it is pretty simple. Just a picture of their mince pies on a plate, and someone was inconsiderate to take a bite out of one and before finishing it, taking a bite out of another! There is a little sprig of holly on the plate too as a little nod to the festive season.

In side the box, you will find 4 rather pale mince pies on a plastic tray sealed in cellophane wrapping. They almost look uncooked. Each mince pie is coated with a layer of what looks like icing sugar on top. You will also notice that these mince pies do not come in a foil or paper base, reducing your box to mouth time dramatically!

Nutritional Content & Price - 5

I'm very much conflicted with this section hence I have gone down the middle with the score. In terms of nutrition, these mince pies have 202 calories, 7.1g of fat and 17.7g of sugar. These are the lower end for a mince pie, but as these are shallower, there is less in them. Also, lets not forget they are gluten free, so will be slightly healthier than other by default.

In terms of price, these are a fairly high £2.45 for just 4 mince pies. Yes, I know we've reviewed much more expensive mince pies, but those pies carry a strong luxurious brand behind it and can almost justify the higher price tag. These (so far) do not, and with only 4 mince pies per box, you're paying a fraction over 61p per mince pie. I have to attribute the higher price tag to the fact they are gluten free.

Pastry - 12

The cinnamon challenge - These mince pies invoke almost the same facial reaction. For those that have never tried this challenge, you just have to eat a teaspoon of cinnamon. It's surprisingly tough and for those watching you, fantastic entertainment. This mince pie has a dense cake-like and powdery texture and does tend to fall apart in your hands. There is no crunch or brittleness you get with a shortcrust pastry. In terms of taste, it is quite plain. Despite the layer of sugar on top, it still felt like I needed a little more. I believe the main ingredient that needed to be gluten free is the flour used in the pastry, i'm not sure what has been used in its place, but it needs re-thinking! I realise they want to make it healthy, but a little more butter wouldn't have hurt the pie.

Mincemeat - 25

This is far better. Sweet, slightly tangy and plenty of fruit. It is like Udi's knew their pastry would be dry so have packed the mincemeat with plenty of moist apple purée to counter the dryness of the pastry. To some extent this has worked, but because the mince pie is quite shallow, they cannot fit enough of it in there. I was impressed to see that although the mincemeat is very moist, none of it has been absorbed by the pastry.

Overall Satisfaction - 6

I'm not totally unimpressed by the mince pie. The mincemeat was definitely packed full of flavour and did it's best to help the pastry, but because the mince pie is quite shallow, they couldn't put enough in there to balance out the dryness. For a gluten free mince pie, this is great and definitely better than some regular gluten mince pies out there, but comparing it to the mince pies that have not restricted themselves, there are many better ones. This is Udi's first attempt at a mince pie in the UK and they should be proud of what they have produced. Maybe next year's entry will rival the best!

Here are the scores from my fellow mincers; 

Tester 1 
Presentation (5) Nutritional content & Price (5) Pastry (10) Mincemeat (29) Satisfaction Level (6) 
"If the pastry was better, the pie would definitely taste better. Some pies just need gluten!"
Tester 2
Presentation (3.5) Nutritional content & Price (6) Pastry (20) Mincemeat (25) Satisfaction Level (5)


55.5 / 100

Look at where these fit in on our leader board.

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