Clive's pies and cakes
Clive's are a dedicated and committed vegetarian organic bakery in South Devon, and we had a lovely time sampling their excellent gluten and wheat free pies and cakes.
Their gluten-free pastry is really excellent. It is lovely, crispy, thin and light, flavoursome, and it holds together well. Having a good pastry is clearly the starting point for a pie, and Clive's have got this pastry absolutely right. Even more impressive since it is not only wheat and gluten free, but dairy and egg free as well. The top is golden brown and crusty, and the rest of the pastry behaves as a pie pastry should - moist and thick in all the right places, but with just enough crunch to keep it interesting.
Since all the pies are vegetarian pies, the French Cassoulet was never going to get too close to a real cassoulet (full of sausages, duck breast and whatever else the French country folk have handy to bottle for the winter). In fact, the insides were more like upmarket herby Italian baked beans - but very tasty, none the less.
The Lentil & Olive is delicious, with an interesting, olivey filling. Clive's have used small brown lentils and kalamata olives, so the insides are wonderfully dark and mysterious with deep flavours. Exquisite and certainly moreish.
The Aloo Gobi pie's packaging is a little misleading with a luscious green spinach leaf on the photo, but no spinach anywhere in sight. However, this does not stop the pie being excellently spiced and curried, and very more-ish.
The Minty Chickpea is nicely minty with the vegetables (carrots, potatoes, onions and apricot) combining to give good flavours.
One of our favourites was Cheese & Potato - although we felt it could have had just a wee bit more cheese in it, it was full of potato, carrot and onion, with mature cheddar, cheesy and filling.
Lastly, keeping the Vegetable Chilli til the end, we found this pie mildly chilli, with lovely Mexican spices adding a warmth to the red kidney beans, cabbage, sweet corn, onions and tomatoes.
The ingredients of all pies are very virtuous – no hydrogenated fats, preservatives or additives – and their website explains why they have chosen to use sustainable palm fats in their products. We wondered whether the pies could be juicier - although the juicy pie may have to be the reserve of the meat pie and it's gravy... We did feel that the lack of dripping juice would be much appreciated by those who choose to eat their pies a la Cornish Pasty perhaps, straight from the hand.
All except the Cheese and Potato pie are vegan – so no dairy or egg – and the pies are also soya, yeast and sugar free.
Now to the cakes.
The Coconut Dream is certainly a dream if you like dessicated coconut – pure coconut, with a delicious syrupy, citrussy stickiness, and plenty of citrus peel.
Passion cake is not made with passionfruit, but with carrot and pineapple. It is very sweet with lots of fruit and a light icing – jsut right for some of our tasters, a little over sweet for others.
Choco Mocha is rather like a fridge cake, lovely, moist and dense, with chopped almonds and ground coffee in it - although our tasters felt that maybe it could have a slightly stronger coffee hit...
Almond Bliss is an almond addict's dream: quite dense with a slightly chewy macaroony texture, and cinnamon for a warm spiciness - a great idea.
The Brownie is pleasant and nutty, moist and dense but – maybe, a bit more chocolate?....
The pies are available online from Goodness Direct for £2.60 for a 260g pie, and from other stores in London as well as Planet Organic. Be careful when ordering as they also make non-gluten-free pies! The little individual cakes cost approx £2.10, and the brownies approximately £1.30, and are also available from Goodness Direct as well as independent shops, retailers and organic shops across the country.