A lighthearted look at a classic favourite

By Jacky Farbrace

Pie, not the mathematical kind but the kind that is filled to the brim with succulent chicken and mushroom, steak and kidney or apple and blackberry. Us Brits love a good pie, it says home cooking, comfort food, a meal in one go and what we have with our pie is an individual preference. Some of us have mash potato, so much so that there are Pie & Mash shops up and down the country. The origins of Pie & Mash are from the East end of London where it was seen as a working mans meal. Others of us like to have chips with our pie. In 2018 Pukka Pies did a survey during British Pie week, Chips v Mash, and chips came out as our favourite with 56% of the British public saying they preferred chips to mash. And do you add veg to the plate? Mushy peas, peas, other vegetables or Baked beans? Then there is sauce, red or brown or gravy? Drink? Pie and pint or good old cup of tea? Oh my goodness, I think I need a pie & pint now to calm down!

British Pie Week was started by Jus-Roll in 2007 as a fun way to highlight the British love of pie. Be it savoury or sweet, we just love pie.

Pie can come in may forms. Short crust pastry, Rough puff pastry, Flaky Pastry, Filo Pastry, Crumble, pasty, pizza, family size or individual. Pies can have a top and bottom or just a top and although referred to as a flan, pie can just have a bottom too.

According to the internet, these are the top 10 pies us Brits search for.

  1. Cottage Pie
  2. Fish Pie
  3. Shepherds Pie
  4. Chicken & Leek
  5. Chicken & Mushroom
  6. Steak & Ale
  7. Meat & Potato
  8. Pork Pie
  9. Steak & Kidney
  10. Corned Beef

Interesting that there isn’t a sweet pie in that list, so here are my top 5 sweet pies.

  1. Apple Crumble
  2. Apple & Blackberry Pie
  3. Rhubarb Pie
  4. Pear & Ginger
  5. Apple & Pear

Here are some fun facts that I have found about pies.

They are first thought to have been around in Roman times and the pastry was used as a lid to preserve the filling and then used as a utensil to eat the pie with. The crust would have been very hard as it was made using just flour and oil. In medieval times they used the pie as entertainment, quite often with birds flying out of it. This is where the nursery rhyme `Four and Twenty black birds baked in a pie’, comes from. It is thought that the first sweet pie was a Cherry pie served to Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century. In the 17th century the Mince pie was banned by Oliver Cromwell as it was seen as gluttony. The term `To eat Humble (Umble) Pie’ was seen as a dish for the lower classes as it was made from the innards of a deer where as Venison was only eaten by the wealthy. To die by pie, can be found both in a Shakespeare play and in the story of Sweeny Todd. In the play Titus Aduronicus two characters were killed off by baking them in a pie, where as the Victorian Sweeny Todd killed his victims in his barbers shop and disposed of them in pies. And lets not forget a classic British pie man, Desperate Dan and his cow pie.

So, if after those last couple of facts you still fancy a pie, go fill your face with your favourtie and send us a picture of you tucking in so we can have a pie face gallery.

Happy British Pie week…………………………….