The cost of a gluten-free Christmas aka the quest for a decent Christmas mince pie

I love Christmas. I especially like the food – Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, Christmas mince pies – you get the drift! Being gluten-intolerant presents certain challenges in this regard, notably the cost.

I solved the Christmas cake problem by amending my normal Christmas cake recipe to a gluten-free version. Last year, I looked at the price of Christmas mince pies, winced, and couldn’t bring myself to buy them. This year, in the interests of scientific research for you, my gentle readers and also my visiting coeliac sister-in-law, I invested in four different brands of mince pie.

The first was the Pavilion brand, purchased from Pak n Save at $7.50 for 4 pies.  See, told you they were pricey. I prefer a higher proportion of filling to pastry, but these were OK.

The second was the Bakeworks brand, purchased from New World at $12.50 for 6 pies. More expensive again. These tasted great and looked great, but had very crumbly pastry. They were also in tinfoil cases and did fall apart a bit when i took them out to microwave.

The third was Phoenix brand pie from the Gluten Free Grocer. At $15.50 for 6, these were so expensive I almost didn’t get them. They had lovely pastry but the filling was very high in maraschino cherries, both green and red. I felt for the price, they weren’t substantially better than the middle price brand.

The fourth brand I tried was the Busy Baker in Katikati, made in their own kitchen there. These were mini pies, $5.99 for half a dozen, so comparable in price with the others. The pastry was the nicest – not crumbly, but light and almost like ‘real’ pastry. The filling was dark and rich and tasty. So The Busy Baker mince pies get my vote, although there is the obstacle of the 2-hour drive to Katikati to purchase them!

My verdict is that next year I’m going to buy some gluten-free short crust pastry and make my own. I just can’t justify the cost.  I make a Christmas cake every year and that has converted beautifully to a gluten-free version. I’ll post the recipe for that separately because the cost of the commercial ones is ridiculous. I think I’ll also try and make a gluten-free Christmas pudding – the $30 for one at the Gluten-free Grocer was too rich for my blood! Either that or just eat the normal one, take the antihistamines and hope for the best.

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