When it comes to a good, hearty meal, there are few things as versatile as a pie. Whether you’re at a chilly football game, sat snug around a pub fireplace or sitting down for a decadent dinner, there’s a pie for every occasion.
It could be a rich beef and ale with delicious gravy and melt-in-the-mouth puff pastry, or perhaps a simple pork pie with an irresistible shortcrust. Even those with a sweet tooth can indulge themselves, perhaps with a tangy apple pie or something cheekier like chocolate.
In Britain, pies are part of our culture — we eat more than a million of them every year. That said, people around the world have loved pies for a long time. Going way, way back to ancient Egypt, there’s evidence to suggest that pie making was common as early as 9,500 BC. Bakers to the pharaohs had developed a primitive bread dough pastry for pies, with drawings of this treat etched onto the tomb walls of Rameses II in the Valley of Kings.
Today, pies are particularly fashionable. Exclusive pie shops are popping up all over the country, serving a whole host of exciting fillers and flavours, with the obligatory mash on the side. So, with British Pie Week coming up (2-8 March 2015), we thought we’d give you some practical tips from our chefs to help you create some truly delicious pies at home
You can use anything you have in the fridge — pre-rolled pastry does the job just as well as one you’ve made from scratch. Either way, you end up with a finished product you can be really proud of. If you’re rolling out your own dough and you don’t have a rolling pin to hand, just use a chilled wine bottle. Pie dough needs to stay cold so this is the perfect way to achieve a great pie base.
Making a fruit pie? Avoid a soggy bottom by soaking your fruit in sugar for half an hour, and then drain the juices. Another top tip is to let your pie sit before serving. This avoids the dreaded runny filling, giving it time to set and serving you a firm and delicious slice, every time. So go for it — create your own favourite pie in no time at all.
We love celebrating gorgeous food, especially something as adaptable and timeless as the pie. We put the same love and passion into our food as us Brits have been doing with the pie for many, many years. And, just as with the many different types of pies you can find around the country, you’ll always find choice and variety in every meal we produce for you.