RACHEL JONES discovers some traditional pie options and gets hints, tips and recipes from the experts.
Start with steak and kidney or apple and then get more adventurous, advises pastry and pie expert Andrew Jessup.
It’s British Pie Week and time for lovers of pastry-topped goodies to take to the kitchen.
The key to the popularity of the pie is variety, says Andrew.
And the course manager for pastry students at South Downs College lists some surprising options.
‘It’s becoming quite fashionable to go back to historic fillings like pigeon or things our grandparents used to make, like rabbit pie,’ he says.
‘One of my colleagues has even made a rook pie.’
Thankfully his recommendations for pie-making beginners are the simple classics.
National Pie Week celebrates all kinds of fillings, from the sweet and popular apple to the latest fashions in London restaurants.
Each year there is a pub pie winner. Below is the recipe for this year’s champion dish Cumberland Tattie Pot, created by Craig Hennessey, from the Queen’s Head Inn in Askham, Cumbria.
British Pie Week is sponsored by pastry company Jus-Rol.
And while Andrew thinks it’s always better to make your own pies from scratch, he says shop-bought pastry can be just as good for today’s time-strapped cooks.
‘People are busy and some of the products are very good. But there is more satisfaction in doing everything yourself,’ he adds.
His top tip for pastry makers is to let it rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes after making it. That stops the pastry shrinking when cooked.
But he adds: ‘It’s far better to buy pastry and make your own filling than buy a shop-bought pie. You know exactly what’s going into it and you can source local, seasonal ingredients.’
Cumberland Tattie Pot
1 x 500g shortcrust pastry block
1.5kg neck of lamb, diced
25g plain flour
3 shallots, diced
15g fresh thyme, chopped
15g fresh sage, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
200g Maris Piper potatoes
200g carrots, diced
1 ltr lamb stock
500g local black pudding
1 medium egg, to glaze
Salt & black pepper
Rapeseed oil, for frying
1. Fry the shallots in the butter until brown, then add the garlic and half the sage and thyme. Once cooked, add the lamb stock and bring to the boil and simmer.
2. Dust the diced lamb in the flour and fry in a pan with oil and a little butter. Once browned off, add to simmering stock and cook for two hours.
3. Add the diced carrots, potatoes and the rest of the fresh herbs. Season and simmer for a further 30 minutes.
4. Dice the black pudding and place on a baking tray and cook for 15 minutes at 200°C. Once cooked, add the black pudding to the stock and remove from the hob. Spoon the mixture evenly into 5 individual 10cm pie dishes.
5. Roll out the pastry to 1/2cm thick cut circles and lay on the pie. Trim and tidy any loose edges.
6. Glaze the top with beaten egg and place in the oven for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
7. Serve with braised red cabbage.