It’s British Pie Week, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate the joy that is pie! We are a nation of pie lovers, with research showing that 75% of us enjoy one at least once a month.
Tip Top Pie Trivia
The Guinness World Record for the most expensive meat pie ever sold goes to the Fence Gate Inn in Lancashire which sold its pie for £1,024 a slice to eight guests on 14th November 2005.
It was made from £500 worth of Japanese wagyu beef fillet, Chinese matsutake mushrooms, Winter Black truffles, French Bluefoot mushrooms, gravy made from two bottles of vintage 1982 Chateau Mouton Rothschild wine and was finally topped with edible gold leaf.
Held at Harry’s Bar in Wigan, the annual World Pie Eating Championship has been going since 1992. Originally, contestants had to attempt to eat as many pies as possible within the given time limit, but this was changed in 2006 to a race in which competitors vie to eat a single pie in the least amount of time.
In 1644, Oliver Cromwell banned pie as he decided it was a “pagan form of pleasure”. The ban was eventually lifted in 1660.
Chicken and Leek Pie
The type of weather we’ve been experiencing lately, calls for wholesome and tasty food – and there’s nothing better than a Chicken and Leek Pie! If you fancy making your own, why not try this recipe courtesy of Good Food Magazine.
1½ kg whole corn-fed chicken
½ tsp peppercorns
2 bay leaves
3-4 thyme sprigs
1 onion, halved
1 celery stick
½ tsp salt
4 large or medium eggs
2 tbsp olive oil
6 bacon rashers, cut into large pieces
2 leeks, thinly sliced
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp grainy mustard
4 tbsp crème fraîche
4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Squeeze of lemon juice
250g bought puff pastry or home-made rough puff
Beaten egg, for glazing
- Put the chicken into a deep pan that is just large enough to hold it quite snugly. Pour in enough water to half cover the bird, then tip in the peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, onion and celery. Add the salt and bring to the boil on the hob, then reduce the heat, cover tightly and simmer for 1-11⁄4 hours until tender.
- Transfer the chicken to a plate. Strain 425ml/3⁄4 pint of the stock into a measuring jug (top up with water if you need to). Strip the meat off the chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces and put in a 1.7 litre/3 pint pie dish.
- Put the eggs in boiling water and boil for 6 minutes. Drain, cool them under cold water and remove the shells. Quarter the eggs and nestle them in the pie dish among the chicken pieces.
- Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan and fry the bacon until crisp. Add the leeks and cook for 2 minutes until softened. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the chicken stock a third at a time, stirring continuously and making sure the sauce is thick and smooth before adding the next batch. Stir in the mustard, crème fraîche and parsley, then add a squeeze of lemon juice and black pepper to taste. Add salt if needed. Spoon over the chicken and leave to cool.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C/Gas 7/fan 200C. Reserve a quarter of the pastry for decoration and roll out the remainder to a shape about 5cm/2in larger than the top of the pie dish, then cut a 2.5cm/1in strip from all round the edge. Brush the edge of the dish with water and stick the pastry strip to it. Brush the strip with water. Flip the pastry lid over the rolling pin, lift it up and unroll over the pie. Press the edge on to the pastry strip to seal and trim any excess with a sharp knife.
- Tap the blade of a small sharp knife all along the outside edge of the pastry (this helps the edge to rise during cooking), then flute it using the back of the knife. Make a hole in the lid centre with the tip of the knife, to allow steam to escape as the pie bakes.
- Roll out the pastry you put aside earlier so as to cover the pie dish. Brush with egg.
- Chill the pie for 15 mins, if you have time, to set the pastry. (Can be made a day ahead up to this point. Keep chilled and add 4-5 extra minutes at baking time.) Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the pastry is crisp, puffed up and deep golden brown.
Get all the ingredients, cookware and accessories you need for your pie making from The Pantiles!