As we come to the end of British Pie week, why not round it off with a bang and cook up a pastry based storm in your kitchen? Pie making is a craft. From savoury to sweet, pastry to potato, a pie brings together all food groups to make an entire meal in one dish. So a really great pie will take you to every corner of your kitchen as you gather the ingredients to make it lip-smackingly delicious.
Are you a pastry purist? A ready rolled or a flour and butter kind of person? You’d be amazed at the passion that pastry can inspire amongst home cooks across the country. Some love the convenience of reaching into their Neff fridge freezer to grab a pre-made pastry. Others can’t beat the feeling of working their own pastry on a cool stone worktop.
What’s a pie anyway?
Hectic family kitchens will tend to prefer a pie with just a top crust – it’s quick and simple and feeds the braying hoards in the blink of an eye. However, this has been deemed to be merely a ‘casserole with a lid’ by traditionalists. The dedicated cook, on the other hand, may have more time in their kitchen to work, roll and blind bake in the necessary process to create a fully enclosed pie. Luckily, anything goes in Pie Week! And besides, you can do what you like in your own kitchen!
On to our top 5. These pies cover savoury, sweet, pastry top, pastry bottom and no pastry at all! They delve into every corner of the pie universe.
1. Chicken, Bacon & Leek Pie
This classic savoury pie is a favourite to use up leftovers from a Sunday roast. Whether you want to encase your creamy filling in pastry or just pop a puff pastry top on a dish, this pie is a full meal. You can also diversify based on whatever veg you have in your pantry or fridge. So it’s an icon of waste reduction!
2. Pork Pie
Not one that many of us seek to try from scratch as it involves hot water crust pastry which can be daunting. Really the main difference to other pastries is that this is made with hot salty water. This is a pie for a quiet weekend afternoon when you want to enjoy the space of your kitchen and take time to use its facilities to the max.
3. Lemon Meringue Pie
Strictly a tart since the shortcrust pastry is just a base, this is a wonderful pud. The lemon curd is sweet and zingy and the meringue pie top a dramatic finish. The great thing here is that this pie uses pantry cupboard and fridge staples (lemon, flour, sugar and eggs). Perfect for those with a sweet tooth and basic kitchen stock.
4. Cheese Pies
Greek-inspired shortcrust pastry parcels containing feta, pine nuts and spinach make a delicious starter. Keep them small for a canapé that’s something different for any social gathering in your kitchen. Indeed, once you’re prepared a batch, keep a load in your freezer for a handy snack to fill a hole when you have unexpected guests.
5. Shepherd’s Pie
Is it really a pie, though? Minced lamb, veggies, the all important Worcester Sauce and a mashed potato top aren’t the components of a pie under the pastry based definition. However, this is a great dish to get the whole family involved in the kitchen.
From a pull-out pantry to a strictly partitioned fridge, cooking becomes a lot more straightforward when your kitchen is well designed. For dishes like pies, you’ll be repeatedly making journeys from the sink to the surface to the hob to fridge. So the next time that you plan to refit your kitchen, ensure that you pay due heed to practical pie making considerations.