An exciting week of the year in the British calendar – British Pie Week (6th-12th March 2023) – is a chance to celebrate all things pie, whether that’s your favourite filling, what makes the perfect shortcrust pastry or deciding how much gravy is too little or too much.
DUBBED a meal with a lid, the British love affair with pie dates back to the 13th Century. The Medieval word ‘pyes’ with the pastry described as ‘coffyn’ meant meat or fish enclosed in pastry.
In Britain – by the mid-14th Century the first pies had mainly meat fillings and the pastry cases were not necessarily for eating. As a sea-faring nation, the pastry was used to help food last longer on sea voyages and also to save space – stacking pies in a hold was far more realistic than bringing a cook and livestock along for the journey. Enjoying a pie with fowl’s legs dangling out was more suitable.
In Medieval Britain, cooks would compete for the exclusive centre-piece at banquets. With elaborate fillings and sometimes the pastry lid was lifted to reveal live actors reciting poetry or even a band of musicians!
Fit for a Queen – Queen Elizabeth 1
Cherry pie was reportedly made especially for Queen Elizabeth 1 although nobody knows if she actually enjoyed it.
British Pie Week
Award-winning Rippon-based Yorkshire Handmade Pies, is on a mission to out-gourmet the rest with its new creation, a premium gourmet Outdoor Reared Pork, Black Garlic and Orchard pie.
The unusual combination of outdoor reared pork, black garlic, red wine, cherries, apples and figs is wrapped in crisp light short crust pastry. It is set to delight pie fans looking to indulge in its balance of sweet and savoury flavours.
“There are so many intricate layers to this pie, which we’ve designed to give a really interesting balance of flavours. Sweetness from the figs, sharpness from the cherries and apples and a little acidity from the red wine sets up the amazing savoury flavour of black garlic. The star of the show is of course the delicious outdoor reared pork, which is stunning, said Yorkshire Handmade Pies founder James Sturdy.
Yorkshire Handmade Pies officially produces one of the best pies in the world after being awarded the elusive three-star Great Taste Award 2022 for its Steak and Kidney Pie last year.
It’s Steak and Black Pudding and Yorkshire Samosa Pie won two stars and its Mushroom and Ale and Steak and Ale pies both won one star.
The Pork, Black Garlic and Orchard pie is available online.
Pie lovers can also try the award-winning range at SPARK community street food hub, Piccadily, York until the end of March. The collaboration is with York chef Jack Richardson, previously of vegan Cantina El Rayo.
Pie aficionados will be spoilt for choice with a menu featuring four pies all served with Jack’s smoky garlic mash, Yorkshire peas and umami gravy.
The pies which come with mash, peas and gravy and cost £9.95. You can choose from: Yorkshire Steak & Hambleton Ale, Herb-fed Chicken, Smoked Bacon, Leek and Tarragon, Mature Cheddar, Smoked Applewood and White Onion, Wild Mushroom and Nightmare Porter Ale (vegan).
Here are some other places around the North to celebrate pie:
The Piebald Inn – North Yorkshire.
65 Sands Lane, Hunmanby, North Yorkshire, YO14 0LT
Everybody loves a pie, it’s good wholesome food! The Piebald Inn makes a whopping 52 pies, one for every week of the year. If pie is your thing, then there is a pie for everyone: On the menu this week includes The Irish Draught – Steak braised in Guinness and onion with mushrooms and thick Guinness gravy, The Kentucky Saddle Horse – Pulled brisket and diced beef slowly braised with baby silverskin onions in its own Smokey Jack Daniels BBQ sauce and The Shire -Diced steak and potato cooked in Wold Top bitters with onions in a thick gravy.
Special dietary requirements require 72-hours notice to allow the chefs to prepare using locally sourced ingredients.
Bury Market – Bury, Lancashire
The award winning Bury Market has over 350 stalls. Its Market Hall & Fish & Meat Hall is open every day except Sundays.
Choose from sweet pies, savoury pies – any kind of pies you want!
True North pubs – Sheffield and Barnsley
Bars under the True North Brew Co. will be celebrating pies from 13th – 19th March encouraging customers to try one of their “100% homemade, fresh pies.”
Chefs at venues across the city will be serving up classic favourites such as steak and ale as well as some special pie additions to the menu too.
Participating venues include: Riverside Kelham, The Broadfield Ale House, The Horse and Jockey, The Crown & Anchor and the Punch Bowl.
Redhouse Pub – Newcastle’s oldest pub
Sandhill NE1 3JF Newcastle upon Tyne
Handmade quality pies from Newcastle’s oldest pub. The pies are sourced from local suppliers, Peace of Pie.
Made with prime Northumbrian meats, fresh stocks and perfectly prepared pastry, the pies are mouth-wateringly good.
Choose from a selection of pies – MasterChef chicken, bacon and mushroom – to mince and brown ale. Add thick creamy mash with the choice of flavourings, or homemade roast potatoes, chunky chips or ‘wey aye’ fries and mushy minted petit pois or homemade pease pudding then pour lashings of homemade liquor gravy.
Scott Brothers Butcher – Dundee, Scotland
Three shops and available online
Tuck into local Dundee classic, the handmade Scottie’s Pehs, the tasty result of our three generations of pie-making.
They sell over 250,000 of these pehs a year, with versions including macaroni, mince and baked beans, or a traditional Scotch. And you can shop online.
Pies – Steak, Pork, Mince, Curry – Scott Brothers Butchers or in their shops around Dundee: Scott Brothers, 206 Strathmartine Road, Scott Brothers at Nethergate and Brook Street.