Welsh Witterings. The Making of the Great British Pie What Pie shall I choose?…A Noble Affair too!
There are many discussions on Britain’s national dish, from traditional Roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding to Fish and Chips! However I believe that the Great British Pie should be among those discussions and has stood the test of time over the years and should still be ranked as our national dish. Together with it’s long history, good looks and gorgeous flavours it should still be ranked at the top!
Pies in all their guises and forms can still be ranked among the top for our ‘comfort foods’ especially when the days are dark and we want a meal which will warm us.
There are many types of pies, Sweet or Savoury, the standard pie in some form of a dish with pastry on the bottom, usually blind baked then the filling added with a pastry topping, usually filled with sweet or savoury fillings. You can also choose a pie topped with mashed potato, usually used for Cottage pie or Shepherds pie. Additionally there are pork pies which are generally known as ‘raised’ pies and this method can also be used for Meat pies too.
Sweet and Savoury standard pies are made in an oven proof dish and would often include fruit fillings, but can include items such as chocolate too! This method can also be used for meat and vegetarian fillings. These are normally made by placing pastry on the bottom and sides of the dish and then ‘blind baking’ to ensure that the pastry below the surface doesn’t become soggy when cooked. All that is required is to place the pastry around the sides and on the bottom having greased the dish so that the pastry will come out easier. The filling is then added and then pastry placed on the top before placing in the oven.
Cottage and Shepherds Pies can have the fillings added and then are usually topped with mashed potato afterwards. The filling will normally already be cooked and then the mashed potato cooked before adding as the topping.
Pork pies are a more complex pie to make and is known as a raised pie. Of course the contents are pork shoulder, jellied stock and involves the making of a warm dough which is moulded. The raised pork pie is something to be savoured in both the making and eating too. There are many different recipes available to suit different tastes but all go well and make a delicious pie that can be accompanied with pickles to make a super supper. The making of the pie is reminsicent of pottery classes in making the raised pie crust. Many of our raised pies are a gourmet delight and are in the style of the famous Melton Mowbray Pie.
A Noble pie is one that is made for a special occasion. These pies are steeped in history and they go back to the days when the pie pastry was a mere container to protect the delicious filling. They use a hot water pastry which is sturdy enough to absorb the meat juices and fat during the cooking, but remail crisp on the exterior.
Many of the Great British Pies that we make can be celebrated, by entering the Great British Pie Awards. This is an annual competition and the judging takes place in Melton Mowbray, the home of the Pork Pie. I have entered over the past few years with notable successes in some and not others. Why not google the Great British Pie awards and see for yourself?
Whatever Pie you choose you can be assured that when it is served it will all be consumed, particularly if you are looking for that ‘winter comfort food’!