Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Open Letter to Mary Berry about top crust pies

A Mary Berry Steak "Pie" we made
It's not that we're angry Mary Berry... we're just...well... disappointed! I mean, we'd expect it from a lot of pubs, who are trying to earn a fast buck. We'd even expect it from some of the more quirky chefs out there who are "trying something new". But not our Mary! Not this!

And yet on her cookery show Mary Berry Everyday the legend that is Mary Berry was accused of making a casserole with a pastry lid and calling it a pie! And people - we of course included - were not happy!!!



I know it's not got the same gravitas as the pie v pastry debate of the British Pie Awards 2016. It's not even as bad as Sainsbury's claiming a tart is a pie! But of all the baking heroes we'd hope were championing a fully encased pie, it would be our Mary! Which is why we feel the need to write an...


Open letter to Mary Berry

I have to admit it takes a lot to shock us aboard the Pierate Ship these days. Pies - our passion and dedication for over seven and a half years now - have a tough press. People often mis-label many things as pies - the shepherds pie (which should be a shepherds potato bake), pumpkin pie (which is really a tart), even whole pizzas are called pies in America!

But perhaps the thing that bugs us most - because it is so close to a proper pie and yet is not - is a casserole with a pastry lid being called a pie! And unfortunately Mary, we can't sit back and watch you bake casseroles with a pastry lid and call them pies on prime time BBC TV!

To help you out here, our Pierate Pie Dictionary clearly states what a true pie actually is:- filling fully encased in pastry with clearly defined base, sides and lid. A casserole with a pastry lid does not meet these stringent criteria and it's not even the first time you've called a casserole with a pastry lid a pie, as the Steak and Mushroom pie made by our Ship's Cook for our Great British Bake Off Steak Pie Off was also sadly a top-crust pie!!! Even the British Pie Awards - who have a far more liberal definition of a pie than us and even let a blooming pasty win their top award in 2016(?!) - would not consider a casserole with a pastry lid to be a proper pie!

With so many people looking to you for ins-pie-ration and important pie making knowledge, the future of British pie making is in someways in your hands Mary. So please... please don't keep on making casseroles with pastry lids and calling them pies! The real art of a pie is making it fully encased in pastry - something you can pick up in your hands and eat wherever you are (not stuck in a ceramic dish due to lack of base pastry!) Let's avoid the controversy and make British pies great again! Do the right thing Mary, and next time, line your pie dish with pastry before you add your filling!

Yours in pie,

Pierateer RAS


You'll be pleased to know that we at Pierate Pie Reviews will always mark a top-crust only pie down in our pie rating, so that only true, fully encased in pastry pies can get anywhere near close to our pie-fect score of 7 out of 7! You can find out more about this by viewing our "7 Cs of pie rating".



You'll also find that there are many others who agree with us that pies should be fully encased in pastry, not just casseroles topped with pastry. One person above all others stands with us in this view and that is Bill T Wulf. Not happy at being served casserole after casserole topped with pastry hats, Bill T Wulf took matters into his own hands in 2015 by creating an e-pie-tition to “make wrongly describing a casserole with a pastry lid a criminal offence”.

While sadly it fell short of the 100,000 signatures it needed to be debated in parliament - in part due to the government changing part way through the e-pie-tition phase which meant there wasn't the usual whole year to gain signatures in - it raised awareness of the need to highlight this dishonesty that has affected hundreds of menus up and down this land.

Too many pubs and restaurants don't distinguish properly if their pie is a proper pie (fully encased) or just a casserole with a pastry lid - or even worse, really just a potato bake! We continue to seek change in this regard, in continuing the legacy set by this e-pie-tition. For full comment by Bill T Wulf on the latest Telegraph article please click here.

As Matthew O’Callaghan - chairman of both the British Pie Awards and the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association - pointed out in his interview with The Telegraph:

“The awards are about celebrating the craft of pie making. It’s a lot easier to put a bit of pastry on top of a dish and call it a pie. A real pie encased in pastry means getting the ingredients right, making the pastry, and ensuring an even bake throughout.”

We're pleased to hear that the British Pie Awards were set up for similar reasons to the petition – "to celebrate and distinguish artisan British efforts like the pork pie from "pastry-topped casseroles" and to "rescue" the word pie from what purists consider to be decades, nay centuries, of misuse." (Although it is then rather ironic that the British Pie Awards still let pasties enter!!!)

While we realise some people will disagree with us and not see anything wrong with calling casserole topped with pastry a pie, we will hold a firm line as pie purists. We'll continue our search for the best pies out there, knowing that only filling fully encased in pastry with a clearly defined base, side and lid can ever be crowned Pierate pie-fection!

RAS

We have actually eaten a lot of genuine pies which can be seen in our Pierate Pie Rankings or you can click here for all PIE reviews categorised by shop or flavour.

Where do you stand on the proper pie v casserole with pastry lid debate?

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Open Letter to Mary Berry about top crust pies"

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Can Piebury Corner The Fruit Pie Market?

With a swathe of their pies in our top 20 pies (out of over 600 we have rated) you won’t be surprised to hear we eagerly await any new offering from the number one modern pie shop in London - Piebury Corner. With such a high bar set by their meat and veggie pies, the more recent addition of fruit pies to their selection (albeit not that recently!) was something we were intrigued by. Could Piebury – famed for their football-related pies and puns – still push for the title with their fruit pies? Or was it a case of second season blues – like Leicester City struggling to maintain the form they showed in their previous outing?

Piebury Corner Fruit Pie Review
Piebury Corner Fruit Pie Review

Well the good news is that these fruit pies are far off mid-table mediocrity! In fact, as fruit pies go, these are some of the better individual fruit pies we’ve pie rated. Gone are the Arsenal-related footballer names (such as the “Thierry Henry” or “Viera-getarian”) and instead you get pies that do exactly what they say on the tin (or in this case, cardboard box) – Apple, Apple and Blackcurrant, Blueberry and Cherry.

Here’s our overall impression of the fruit pie range, followed by some individual comments. Please note that all these pies were heated for 20 minutes in the oven but then eaten as they were – without custard or cream or other additions – to ensure we were rating the pie accurately.

Have you heard the big news?! Piebury Corner will be opening a brand new pie shop in the heart of Kings Cross, central London! We can’t wait to see them open up their second branch around the end of April and serve even more of their Pierate Highly Recommended pies!

Read all about it in this Hot-Dinners.com article!



Overall Im-pie-ression:

Piebury Corner Fruit Pie Review
Piebury Corner Fruit Pie Review
These pies are noticeably quite shallow and wide, but this is the Piebury way! Similar in shape to their meaty teammates, the fruit pies also have a lovely golden pastry shell which particularly crisps up well on top. The main difference: that fine sprinkling of sugar on top of the pastry, which does add that extra sweet taste to an already sweet fruit pie! A couple of the pies we cooked caught slightly and were a bit more golden in some places than others, but overall I’d say this is a nice golden colour.

At £3.50 per pie to take away cold, these certainly aren’t the cheapest fruit pies on the market. But then these aren’t your typical pies on the market either – with a much bigger capacity than most fruit pie boxes you’d buy in the shops and a strong pie capacity as opposed to some of the “fruit” air pies you can get your hands on! I also mention fruit because you can actually see and taste the fruit in these pies, rather than the fruity mush that a lot of fruit pies contain.

Overall, I would say these are a tad expensive for the size, but they are some of the best fruit pies we’ve had on Pierate. The pastry (specifically the lid) is delicious as part of the pie or even eaten on its own. While the content of all the pies is nice and fruity – sweet but generally not too much! They fill the hole and – while I’d suggest you probably wouldn’t want two in one sitting – leave you wanting to try another!



Piebury Corner Apple Pie Review
Piebury Corner Apple Pie Review
Apple

The classic fruit pie flavour and done well. Some decent sized pies of fruit – though could perhaps have been a few more large pieces that had a bit more of a bite to them. They were rather soft, so not much to bite onto! The flavour worked well with the crisp sweet pastry. Would definitely want again.




Piebury Corner Apple and Blackcurrant Pie Review
Piebury Corner Apple and Blackcurrant Pie Review
Apple and Blackcurrant

Another classic fruit flavour – the apple was nice but again could have perhaps given a bit more bite to the pie if they were a bit less soft. The blackcurrants were also very noticeable, particularly because the seeds got rather caught in my teeth during the eating of this pie, which spoilt my enjoyment of it a bit. However a good balance to the flavour and in combination with the pastry.

Piebury Corner Blueberry Pie Review
Piebury Corner Blueberry Pie Review
Blueberry

We don’t seem to see many blueberry pies out there on the market, so Pierateer Sam was particularly keen to try this one. While quite sweet, the flavour was very nice and again complimented the crisp pastry well. Well worth getting hold of.



Piebury Corner Cherry Pie Review
Piebury Corner Cherry Pie Review
Cherry

While perhaps not as famous as the apple pie, the cherry pie is still another regular flavour and the pieces of fruit were very obvious upon slicing through. Quite sweet again, but not overpowering. I’d happily eat another of these.





Overall, while these pies are not going to compete against the Piebury Corner meat pies for our affection, they are very good individual fruit pies that I’d happily enjoy for dessert as part of a “Double Pie” main and pudding option. I’m Gunner have to go back to Piebury Corner and get some more soon!

Piebury Corner Apple Pie
Score: 5.89/7
[Colour 6.5, Capacity 6.25, Consistency 5.75, Condition 6, Chewiness 5.5, Cheapness 5, Content 6.25]

Piebury Corner Apple and Blackcurrant Pie
Score: 5.75/7
[Colour 6.5, Capacity 6.25, Consistency 5.5, Condition 6, Chewiness 5.25, Cheapness 5, Content 5.75]

Piebury Corner Blueberry Pie
Score: 5.89/7
[Colour 6.5, Capacity 6.25, Consistency 5.75, Condition 6, Chewiness 5.5, Cheapness 5, Content 6.25]

Piebury Corner Cherry Pie
Score: 5.82/7
[Colour 6.5, Capacity 6.25, Consistency 5.5, Condition 6, Chewiness 5.25, Cheapness 5, Content 6.25]

RAS


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Can Piebury Corner The Fruit Pie Market?"

Monday, 13 March 2017

7 ways to survive post British Pie Week

Yes, British Pie Week is over. We hear ya! Pie specials will disappear from pub menus. Pie Week discounts will no longer apply. But we’ve got one important message for pie fans: “A pie is for life, not just British Pie Week!” We all know that pies are far too good to celebrate just one week of the year! So here's 7 ways to survive post British Pie Week:


1) Enjoy a pie as soon as possible post British Pie Week - after all, there's no need to just eat pies in British Pie Week!

2) Reminisce about your favourite pie or pies from British Pie Week and plan to eat them again soon!

3) Save up your money to buy some top pies even once the promos and discounts have disappeared.

4) Petition your local pub or pie shop to bring back some of their specials if they were only on sale for British Pie Week.

British Pie Awards in Pie Week

5) Search our pie rankings list of around 600 pies to find a new pie to try in the coming weeks!

6) Use your extra time to catch up on all the crazy antics the Pierateers got up to in British Pie Week 2017 via our pie diary:




7) Remember - it's now less than 365 days until we do it all again, for British Pie Week 2018! It'll be from 5th-11th March 2018.


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "7 ways to survive post British Pie Week"

Sunday, 12 March 2017

British Pie Week 2017 - Day Seven

As British Pie Week draws to a close, we’ve got one important message for pie fans: “A pie is for life, not just British Pie Week!” For as much as we promote British Pie Week – especially having become the unofficial home of British Pie Week this year – we know that pies are far too good to celebrate just one week of the year! How the Americans just have a “National Pie Day” I do not know – but British Pie Week is just the start of things for us!


And so while our Leeds Pie Tour, which we started yesterday and continued into today, wraps up another busy but highly enjoyable Pie Week, we’re delighted that so many people have tweeted, emailed and got involved with us and our pie antics this British Pie Week! The reaching of 600,000 page views on Thursday was amazing, and passing 10,000 page views in British Pie Week by Friday morning was great too!

And today we celebrated having 2,500 followers on twitter, who are (hopefully) enjoying all our pie-fueled tweets! We’ve certainly been filling their twitter feed with more pies, puns and pie photos than ever before, and have loved the engagement we’ve had with pie fans across the world!

Remember, just because British Pie Week is ending, there is no need to cut back on the pies and not celebrate next week (and the week after, and the week after that) with even more pies and puns! We’ll be trying to get through our pie review backlog and giving you even more suggestions for what to buy and what not to buy in the world of pie - with over 600 pies now rated on the world's leading pie review blog!

So thanks for stopping by to read about pie – and we hope you’ll enjoy pies and our pie blog throughout the year, until British Pie Week 2018!!!



#LeedsPieTour – Day Two

With so many pies consumed on day one of our #LeedsPieTour, it was always going to be a hard act to follow! But we kicked off the morning with three more fruit pies from Piebury Corner, which we had picked up in London on Friday. Having had the Apple and Blackcurrant on Saturday morning, Sunday morning consisted of Cherry Pie, Blueberry Pie and the old classic, Apple Pie! All three slipped down well, with all three Pierateers commenting on their enjoyment of the lovely crisp top pastry and decent fruit chunks inside. The condition was pretty good – a slight uneven bake but nice and golden. The pies at Piebury are quite shallow – a quite unique shape and size – but boy do they fill the hole! A fruit pie like those definitely ticked the boxes and we’ll give them all a full pie rating soon!

Sadly Leeds only have a Corn Exchange, not Pie Exchange
We then headed into Leeds centre for a brief wander round, checking out a few of the sights and spotting the Pieminister store just a stone’s throw from The Corn Exchange shopping centre. We briefly popped in to speak to the staff there – having already actually eaten a couple of Pieminister pies the previous day – and find out how British Pie Week had been for them. They had had a lot of traffic from pie fans the last week following their £5 pie and mash meal deal, which was great to hear as we generally rate the Pieminister brand highly.

Then we “hopped” over to The Hop pub under the arches of Leeds Railway Station, part of the Granary Wharf shopping area. We’d heard good things about the pies there – and in particular their “pie, mash, peas and drink for a fiver” pie meal deal! It sounded too good to be true, but as advertised online they were indeed doing this pie meal deal for just five of your English Pounds!


We couldn’t resist and tried a few of their pie range there (making sure to avoid the pasties also on sale!) as well as taking a few home with us to try later! The pies we tried in the pub – a Steak and Ale pie and Chicken Curry pie – were both highly commended and we’ll see how well they rate on the 7 Cs of pie rating soon!

It’s now time for us to say farewell to Leeds, and start writing up some of these pie reviews we’ve been too busy eating more pies to write! Fortunately that’s one of the benefits of a long train journey home. Thanks for having us Leeds – it’s been a pie-leasure!!!


See what the Pierateers have been up to this British Pie Week in our daily Pie Diary articles:


Day One – Monday 6th March 2017
Day Two – Tuesday 7th March 2017
Day Three – Wednesday 8th March 2017
Day Four - Thursday 9th March 2017
Day Five - Friday 10th March 2017
Day Six - Saturday 11th March 2017
Day Seven - Sunday 12th March 2017


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "British Pie Week 2017 - Day Seven"

Saturday, 11 March 2017

British Pie Week 2017 - Day Six

So after the announcement of the Dickinson and Morris Melton Mowbray Pork Pie winning the British Pie Awards 2017 (which we live blogged on Wednesday) and our London Pie Tour (featuring Piebury Corner, Pieminister, Holborn Dining - to meet chef Calum Franklin - and The Windmill Pie Room), today will see us venture in and around Leeds, Leeds, Leeds as part of our Pierateer "Leeds Pie Tour".

Sadly Leeds only have a Corn Exchange, not Pie Exchange

Yes, as part of our Pie Pledges for 2017 Pierateers Rob, Sam and Tim decided to go somewhere new for the weekend of British Pie Week and try some pies there. So, after a bit of deliberation of where we should go, we set on Leeds Leeds Leeds. So arriving late on Friday evening, we've now got just under two days to find the pies that matter in this Northern Powerhouse of a City! Any Leeds pie recommendations welcome either here or on our twitter @pierateers! Just use the hashtag #LeedsPieTour





#LeedsPieTour – Day One

After live blogging at the British Pie Awards on Wednesday, the results came out on Friday lunchtime and the winner is a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie we're already very familiar with - the Dickinson and Morris Melton Mowbray Pork Pie! We've already rated it as Pierate Highly Recommended in 2014 and will try to get a few more in this year to celebrate!


As for today, having got the train from London to Leeds yesterday evening, we look forward to kicking off our #LeedsPieTour - not forgetting Tim's e-pie-c "9 pies in a day" Triple Pie-thagoras in Leeds to come! (If you don't know what Pie-thagoras Theorem is, check out our Pie Dictionary!)

This morning I kicked off the pie eating with one of our Piebury Corner fruit pies picked up in London - a very tasty Apple and Blackcurrant pie. Heated up for 20 minutes in the oven, the top pastry was crisp and golden, with a warm tasty filling with clear pieces of fruit. Quite sweet, of course, but the pastry was very nice and a good way to kick off the morning!

Staying in Armley, we decided to walk to the local Wilson's Butchers store and they kindly allowed us to do a bit of filming that will be part of our #LeedsPieTour video. Sam tried one of their pork pies while filming outside, while Sam had a meat and potato and Tim had an apple and pork pie back at the house.

Following that, we headed to Haley and Clifford in the north of Leeds. We'd heard they stocked Voakes Pork Pies (a reasonably local pork pie producer) and thought we'd pay them a visit! It was a lovely delicatessen, selling food from a range of local stockists and with a decent selection of salads and (more importantly) pies! Both Sam and Rob went for a Voakes Pork Pie, while Tim had a Great North Pie Co "Classic Lancashire Cheese and Onion" pie (which on their website is listed as containing Dewlay’s tasty Lancashire cheese, caramelised white onion, white pepper, nutmeg & Japanese Panko breadcrumbs). You may well recognise the name Great North Pie Co and that's probably because it was the last pie company to win the British Pie Awards (back in 2015) before yesterday's 2017 winner was announced.


In the evening we tried a few new Nice Pies we hadn't rated yet - which we collected on Wednesday when in Melton Mowbray for the British Pie Awards - and tried the Pieminister British Pie Week special - Cricket pie! Yes, you read that right - actual crickets. You could see their dead bodies in the pie and everything! We will be reviewing that one in the coming week!

Our #LeedsPieTour concludes tomorrow!


See what the Pierateers have been up to this British Pie Week in our daily Pie Diary articles:


Day One – Monday 6th March 2017
Day Two – Tuesday 7th March 2017
Day Three – Wednesday 8th March 2017
Day Four - Thursday 9th March 2017
Day Five - Friday 10th March 2017
Day Six - Saturday 11th March 2017
Day Seven - Sunday 12th March 2017


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "British Pie Week 2017 - Day Six"

Friday, 10 March 2017

Pull the Other One

Morrison's Pulled BBQ Beef Pie Review

I decided to try something a bit different on Day Four of British Pie Week in the form of a Pulled BBQ Beef pie. Whilst it was different, I picked up this pie from the very familiar territory of the Pie Counter at Morrison's (see all 24 of our Morrison's reviews here). I always feel I have to have a look at the pie counter, even if I have a fridge already full of pies, I can feel it calling to me as soon as I enter the store. Like a massive celestial body, it attracts me with an irresistible gravitational pull. I thinj they recognise me now, they even gave me a crate of free pies at one point. I think what I am looking for are new flavours and one that stood out to me on a recent visit was the Pulled BBQ Beef pie. At a price of 2 for £1.50 they promised to be good value rather than spectacular, which is often the case for the Pie Counter pies. It was in the same shape and style as the Chunky Steak which is one of the best ones so I was hopeful it would be good.



So far, so good but then the test came in the eating of the pie. Unfortunately this is where things started to go wrong. Cutting it open the filling clearly had the wrong Consistency as it all oozed straight out of the pie. There was also a lack of Content, revealing that the pie was mostly full of air. In some ways the lack of filling was actually a positive in this case because I didn’t really like the filling! Rather than a meaty gravy, the pie was mainly filled with something akin to Barbeque Sauce. I am not a huge lover of this sauce but American influence seems to be bringing it more and more into our food here in the UK. Hence I have been getting used, even enjoying it with the right food and in the right amount. However, the filling of this pie was certainly not the right place for the sauce. It would have been okay to add some to a regular gravy to give a slight taste of BBQ Sauce but this experience was like trying to squeeze a whole bottle of the stuff into your mouth! It reminded me of the Weatherspoon’s challenge we used to do where you had to eat as many sachets of sauce as you could until you felt sick. The sauce meant it was over-poweringly sweet and fruity and consequently there was no flavour from the beef. It could have been pork, chicken or even quorn and I wouldn’t have been able to tell. This was in part because there wasn’t much meat and it had disintegrated into each individual fibre. I am a fan of slow cooked meat but this was pushing the concept to destruction. There was nothing to get your teeth into. Fortunately the pastry tasted nice with the same biscuity crunch of the other Morrison’s pies in this range. However, it wasn’t enough to save this pie from a disappointing score, in fact the lowest score of all the Morrison's pies that we have reviewed!

Colour – 4.0 out of 7 - Appealingly golden but with a tinge of light, rusty brown.
Condition – 4.0 out of 7 – Mint condition without having a spectacular appearance, the lettering around the top denoted the flavour of the pie.
Cost – 4.0 out of 7 – You don’t get much for 75p these days.
Capacity – 2.8 out of 7 – Quite tall but full of air!
Chewiness – 3.0 out of 7 – Nothing to get your teeth into.
Content – 2.0 out of 7 – If you like necking a bottle of BBQ Sauce then you will love this pie.
Consistency – 2.0 out of 7 – A gloopy mess and the filling didn’t go well with the pastry.

Pulled BBQ Beef (Morrison’s Pie Counter)
3.11/7

SJL
continue reading "Pull the Other One"

British Pie Week 2017 - Day Five

On the day of the results for the British Pie Awards we're having a bit of a London adventure, with Pierateer Rob heading down to London on a pie tour to rival all pie tours! With planned visits to Piebury Corner, Pieminister, Holborn Dining (to meet chef Calum Franklin) and The Windmill Pie Room, follow his pie antics all day right here!


The London Pie!
Plus if you read our British Pie Week - Day Four review you'll know we reached another big milestone - our 600,000th pageview! Helped by over 8,000 views of our "Everything you need to know about British Pie Week" article this already has the makings of the most viewed March pageviews in Pierate history, and we've this morning just reached 10,000 pageviews since British Pie Week started on Monday! Once again, we're delighted you've chosen us as the home of British Pie Week!


This article will be updated throughout the week, so do check back for what we've been up to!


Pierateer RAS


After live blogging at the British Pie Awards on Wednesday we're looking forward to finding out the winners this lunchtime! However before we get to that, we have the small matter of another pie pledge to tick off:

You may remember from Day One that I've made four #PiePledge commitments this British Pie Week, and I'm delighted to say I've nailed one today:

- 2 days of annual leave taken to eat, rate and tweet about pies

Yep, following Wednesday's day off to live blog the British Pie Awards, today I'm getting back to the bread and butter - or should I say pie - by doing a London Pie Tour to both eat, rate, pick up and talk pie! Follow the adventure right here:

London Pie Tour Updates

09.55 - Time to catch the train down to London! Glad Chiltern Railways haven't charged me extra for my pie seat (which contains 3 new pies from Nice Pie to rate this weekend)! I'm using their free wifi to blog and tweet about pies, of course!




11.00 - One glance at the top of our pie rankings and you'll have heard of Piebury Corner! I'm really looking forward to seeing the owners again and chatting pie, while picking up a few more of their pies for lunch with friends Barnaby and Ro! Then it will be on to Pieminister to pick up a cricket pie! (Yes, you read that right - check out our preview of the Cricket Pie here!) I'm also really looking forward to meeting Chef Calum, who has been posting the most amazing pie pastry artwork on twitter this week! And finally dinner pie at The Windmill, Mayfair, before heading for the train to Leeds for our British Pie Week Pierateer Piefest! It's gonna be busy!!!

12.15 - Arrived at Piebury Corner and was greeted by owner Paul and his wife, who told us about their latest project - a brand new shop in Kings Cross! It's due to open in a couple of months and we can't wait to tuck into a pie there when the new store opens!

Paul kindly treated us to a few pies to share with friends I'm visiting (couldn't resist another Thierry Henry Venison pie!) and we've got some fruit pies to rate this weekend! We also are now the proud owners of a Piebury Corner mug!

12.45 - Met with friends Barnaby and Ro, having a delicious venison pie from Piebury Corner. Every bit as good as I remembered!

3.45 - Got across to Pieminister (Leather Lane) and picked up the Cricket pie that we had arranged to. Had a nice chat with the owner, who told us their £5 pie and mash deal for British Pie Week was going down a storm! We'll review the cricket pie this weekend!

Chef Calum plus pie!
4.15 - I arrived at Holborn Dining to meet Chef Calum Franklin. His twitter account this past week has been full of amazing pie photos - his pastry work is exquisite - and we were delighted he could spend almost half an hour talking pie with us. Look out for our interview write up soon and a review of the pies he shared with us.

What was particularly exciting was his passion for pies and increasing the quality of the fancy pie selection they offer, as well as training new chefs in the art of pastry work. In the next couple of months, they hope to increase their pie menu to 4 pies and we hope to pay them a visit when it launches!

6.00 - Having arrived at The Windmill in Mayfair, I'm looking forward to trying some of the most eagerly anticipated pies we've heard of - after Pierateer Sam gave them Pierate Recommended status last time he visited two years ago!

We'll also find out if we're winners in their #WindmillWin com-pie-tition! Tonight pies really could win prizes!

7.30 - Well they were two very highly recommended pies! Great suet pastry, top filling! Having met up with Pierateer Tim, we went halves on a Chicken, Ham and Leek pie and a Venison pie. Also met a nice group of Kiwis on the table next to us who were enjoying their taste of UK pie! They picked a good place to start! Having to dash for a train now but looking forward to reviewing them both!

8.05 - We've caught the train from London to Leeds and look forward to kicking off our #LeedsPieTour tomorrow - not forgetting Tim's "9 pies in a day" Triple Pie-thagarous in Leeds to come!


The Ship's Cook


If you're anything like me, you're still re-watching the video we made of the wonderful cake pie made for our Pierate Piefest last summer, which you can now make yourself by following our step-by-step guide! If you like the look of it, here's the video Pierateer Tim made about our Pierate Piefest last year:



See what the Pierateers have been up to this British Pie Week in our daily Pie Diary articles:


Day One – Monday 6th March 2017
Day Two – Tuesday 7th March 2017
Day Three – Wednesday 8th March 2017
Day Four - Thursday 9th March 2017
Day Five - Friday 10th March 2017
Day Six - Saturday 11th March 2017
Day Seven - Sunday 12th March 2017


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "British Pie Week 2017 - Day Five"

Thursday, 9 March 2017

British Pie Week 2017 - Day Four

Find out how the Ship's Cook made this wonderful cake pie!
The day after the British Pie Awards before was always going to be a hard act to follow - especially as we have to wait until Friday lunchtime for an announcement on the Award winners! However we kicked off the morning with some very exciting news, quickly followed by our latest reci-pie from the Ship's Cook.


Our exciting morning news was that with so many viewers in the weeks leading up to British Pie Week, we're delighted that this morning we reached another big milestone - our 600,000th pageview! Helped by over 8,000 views of our "Everything you need to know about British Pie Week" article this already has the makings of the most viewed March pageviews in Pierate history! We're delighted you've chosen us as the home of British Pie Week!

We're also loving the pie chat from fellow Southend-on-Sea born food blogger and author Jack Monroe this morning, who agrees with us on what makes a true pie:





This article will be updated throughout the week, so do check back for what we've been up to!


Pierateer RAS


After yesterday's excitement of live blogging at the British Pie Awards today was a bit more of a mundane affair, being back at work and having to tone down on the pie eating! I still tucked into a Mr Kipling apple pie to keep my pie-a-day commitment going, but it was more about reminiscing about yesterday's British Pie Awards with work colleagues and on Twitter, plus celebrating our next contribution:

The Ship's Cook


With the wonderful cake pie made for our Pierate Piefest last summer, we though it about time to share the reci-pie of how you too can make one! So today the Ship's Cook published her step-by-step guide of how to make one yourself! If you like the look of it, here's the video Pierateer Tim made about our Pierate Piefest last year:


Pierateer SJL

SJL went for something a bit different in the form of a Morrison's Pulled BBQ Beef pie which he has reviewed. Sadly this was a British Pie Week disappointment. The lowest score we have given to a Morrison's pie. If you like necking bottles of BBQ sauce you will love this pie. Normal people won't.



See what the Pierateers have been up to this British Pie Week in our daily Pie Diary articles:


Day One – Monday 6th March 2017
Day Two – Tuesday 7th March 2017
Day Three – Wednesday 8th March 2017
Day Four - Thursday 9th March 2017
Day Five - Friday 10th March 2017
Day Six - Saturday 11th March 2017
Day Seven - Sunday 12th March 2017


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "British Pie Week 2017 - Day Four"

British Pie Week Reci-pie: Cake Pie!

Pie Cake Review Pierate 
Is is a cake? Is it a pie? Why yes, yes it is!

Hooray! British Pie Week is upon us once more - and what better way to celebrate than by baking an enormous, stripy, sugary cake pie? I first made this back in July for a Pierateer celebration, and now I'm going to show you how you can make your very own version. 

Warning: Depending on how many cake tins you have and how big your oven is, you might want to start this recipe early in the morning. I decided to embark on my cake pie when I got in from work one evening and ended up still in the kitchen at 1am waiting for the last cake to be ready... 

The Recipe:

The first thing you need to do is make three cakes - they'll need plenty of time to cool before you assemble the pie! My cake pie was inspired by Neapolitan ice cream, so I made one vanilla, one chocolate and one strawberry - I used my favourite sponge recipe, which is:

175g butter 
175g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
175g self-raising flour

For the vanilla cake - 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

For the strawberry cake - 1-2 teaspoons of strawberry flavouring and some pink gel food colouring (the gel kind is much better for baking than the liquid kind, because it doesn't make your cake mix go all runny)

For the chocolate cake - take out 3 tablespoons of flour and replace it with 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder

Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs a little at a time. Fold in the flour, then add the colouring and flavouring. Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for 25 minutes or so, until the cake is cooked through and springy to the touch.

 Baking is a serious business on the Pierate Ship...

Next, you'll need to make the pastry case. I used shortcrust pastry because it's pretty solid and holds its shape well - and this is a pretty big pastry case. I lined my largest cake tin (one with high sides, the kind you'd use for a fruit cake) with pastry, then put a slightly smaller cake tin inside it to keep the pastry from falling in on itself:


 As you can see, this method works pretty well!


I also made a pastry lid by cutting out a circle of pastry the same size as my cakes, then baking it in the oven between two flat baking trays to stop it from puffing up too much. 

The next step is to make the icing - again, I made vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. I used buttercream - 

75g butter
175g icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk

For the vanilla - add in vanilla extract
For the strawberry - use more of the strawberry colouring and flavouring
For the chocolate - stir in some cocoa powder and add some more milk if the icing seems too thick

Chocolate icing ready to go in the pie!

At last, you're ready to assemble your cake pie! Now it's all just a matter of layering - I started with cake, then the matching icing, then cake, then the matching icing, then more cake. Finally, I added the last layer of icing and used that to stick the lid on.

One layer of cake and icing

Two layers of cake and icing

All the layers of cake and icing with the lid stuck on - trim any excess pastry to make it look neater
 And there you have it, a cake pie! 
The Pierateers helped me decorate mine with some nautical accessories...
I recommend leaving the cake pie somewhere cool for a few hours before slicing it (I put mine in the fridge for a little while) so that it's nice and solid - and it should come out looking something like this:


Who wouldn't want a slice of delcious, stripy, Neapolitan ice cream flavoured cake pie? 

The Seven Cs:

Colour: A lovely golden brown (and very bright inside!)

Consistency: Surprisingly good - I was worried it might be a bit dry, but it turns out that soft fluffy cake, creamy icing and crispy pastry go very well together.
Capacity:  Full to the brim with cake and icing - I had to squash it a bit to get the lid on!
 Chewiness: No chewiness here - just cake (and icing).

Content: Not only is it a giant pie, not only is it full of cake, but it's stripy and has three different flavours - this one is a real showstopper!

Cheapness: You'll have to buy quite a lot of flour, butter and sugar, but if you've got a well stocked baking cupboard this won't break the bank - you could also make a smaller (and cheaper) version.

Condition: Brilliant, even if I do say so myself. This sliced beautifully and there were genuine gasps of amazement from my fellow Pierateers. Just look at those layers...


This is quite possibly my favourite pie ever, and it might even be one of the best things I've ever baked - it was certainly worth the time and effort it took to make it! If you're looking for a way to celebrate British Pie Week, this is the way to do it!

The Ship's Cook



See what the Pierateers have been up to this British Pie Week in our daily Pie Diary articles:


Day One – Monday 6th March 2017
Day Two – Tuesday 7th March 2017
Day Three – Wednesday 8th March 2017
Day Four - Thursday 9th March 2017
Day Five - Friday 10th March 2017
Day Six - Saturday 11th March 2017
Day Seven - Sunday 12th March 2017


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "British Pie Week Reci-pie: Cake Pie!"

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

British Pie Week 2017 - Day Three

The Wednesday of British Pie Week is now the home of the British Pie Awards, and we sent Pierateer Rob over to Melton Mowbray to blog and tweet his way through nearly nine hundred pies being rated! You can find out what he got up to in his review of the British Pie Awards Live! We're also delighted over 8,000 of you have now read our article "Everything you need to know about British Pie Week" and to have picked up some more pies from Nice Pie in Melton Mowbray ready for the weekend pie extravaganza we're planning in Leeds!

Judges at the British Pie Awards 2017

This article will be updated throughout the week, so do check back for what we've been up to!


Pierateer RAS


You may remember from yesterday that I've made four #PiePledge commitments this British Pie Week, and I'm delighted to say I've nailed another one on Day Three:

- Live blog the British Pie Awards

As for today, it was another long day of pie chat - this time covering the British Pie Awards - Live! Hundreds of you have taken a look at our article already and you can find out lots about what happened there, but we'll also be providing reaction to the results in our write up of the awards later in the week, after the awards lunch on Friday!

It was also great to meet our British Pie Awards Judge Com-pie-tition winners, and we hope to include an interview with the winners in our review article!

The art of pie rating - something we like to think we've mastered!

Pierateer TJP


While Pierateer RAS went to the British Pie Awards, I had a rather less eventful day sat at work. After yesterday's fire-breather of a pie, I opted for a cooler choice and had another slice of my Waitrose Apple and Blackberry pie. This is a pie which is sitting nicely with me and appears to be improving with age, like a fine wine.

I'm also gathering my thoughts before attempting the Triple Pie-thagorus this weekend in Leeds. This will involve eating a pie for starter, main and dessert for each meal of the day. That's only 9 pie, how hard can it be?


See what the Pierateers have been up to this British Pie Week in our daily Pie Diary articles:


Day One – Monday 6th March 2017
Day Two – Tuesday 7th March 2017
Day Three – Wednesday 8th March 2017
Day Four - Thursday 9th March 2017
Day Five - Friday 10th March 2017
Day Six - Saturday 11th March 2017
Day Seven - Sunday 12th March 2017


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "British Pie Week 2017 - Day Three"

British Pie Awards 2017 - Live!

British Pie Awards 2017
British Pie Awards 2017
The day of the British Pie Awards has arrived! Held in the heart of pork pie country - Melton Mowbray - the scene is once again set for around 100 judges to rate well over 800 pies from across Britain and beyond! Of course you won't be surprised to know we've been invited again this year - having been a judge, media or helper at the British Pie Awards since 2013 - and this year we're there as media to give you the inside scoop of what takes place - Live!


This year is however a bit different, as not only are the awards not happening in the beautiful old Church of St Marys (due to renovation work being done) but with only Pierateer Rob attending from the Pierate Ship, a vacancy arose to judge the pies too! With the Awards committee's agreement, we ran a com-pie-tition to win a place to judge at the British Pie Awards and are delighted that Anya (alongside three friends Charlie, Jessica and Katie) won the prize. You can find out more about them and the sports pie blog they have just started writing in our Com-pie-tition Results article or on their pie blog www.sisterhoodofpies.co.uk 

As well as looking forward to seeing lots of our pie friends at the Awards, we hope to catch up with our com-pie-tition winners during and after the Awards to share our ex-pie-tese, as while the British Pie Awards use a significantly different set of criteria to us (rather than the 7 Cs of pie rating that we have used to rate almost 600 pies on Pierate) there are very few pie experts with more ex-pie-rience than us when it comes to the pie-fect pie!

So check back here during the day for live blog posts below and on Twitter and we hope you enjoy hearing about the British Pie Awards 2017!

This isn't the first time we've attended the British Pie Awards! Oh no! Find out more in our other articles here:
Judges in 2016  |  Judges in 2015  |  Judges in 2014  |  Helpers in 2013



8.00 - It's been another early start for Pierateer Rob but he is now on his way to Melton Mowbray for the British Pie Awards 2017! Having done this journey a number of times now, we know the signal on the train is a bit intermittent at best, so we'll keep you posted when we can but normal service will resume when we arrive in Melton Mowbray around 9:40!

8.45 In no particular order (so as not to offend anyone!) here's some of the many people I'm looking forward to meeting at the British Pie Awards today:

- Matthew and Stephen from the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association - who have the pie-rivelege of hosting the Pie Awards (Matthew does the welcome talk and Stephen MCs the event!)

- The Sisterhood of Pies - In case you didn't hear, we ran a com-pie-tition to find a pie judge (as Sam & Tim couldn't make it) & it was won by Anya, Charlie, Jessica and Katie. Check the blurb at the top for details of their pie blog too!

9.00 Nik Speller is a freelancer who we've met a number of times at the Pie Awards but first met in London for a pie meet up. He became our test student for our "Pierateer in Training" programme!

Kate (aka #AwayDayPieGirl) is a new follower of the @pierateers twitter feed (link at bottom of this page!) who tries the pies at away football games for Telford United. Was great to meet her at our Birmingham Pie Night on Monday!

9.15 Felicity Spector is Deputy Programme Editor for Channel 4 News and loves food & writing about it! If you cross out the deputy news editor bit, we pretty much do the same job! Love reading her food tweets.

Megan and the Wild West Comms team do a great job of promoting the Pie Awards every year. Thanks for sorting our media passes!

9.30 The Pie Pundit himself Jonny Smith - who has like us been in National Newspapers talking football pies!

Andy Clarke - TV star and self confessed food and drink loving TV producer!

Mr Martin Tarbuck - author of "The life of Pies" and a pie rater who's just as passionate as us!

Phil from Nice Pie - who sells many Pierate Highly Recommended pies (& not just cos he's bringing some more for us to pie rate!)

Jamie from butchr.net - who is judging and blogging today!

10.05 So we've arrived in Melton Mowbray, met Nik and some pie fans over in MM from Australia and I'm just having breakfast... an apple pie of course!

10.30 We've arrived at the venue, grabbed our media pass and are meeting some of the judges!

10.50 Great to meet Phil Vickery, who is the celeb pie judge today and filming with Good Morning TV show!

11.00 Time for Matthew, Stephen and head judge Ian to meet with the class leaders to discuss pie judging!


11.15 Now it's time for all the other judges to get their briefing. There's around 80 people here to judge today! Ian is sharing what a good pie should be - and stressing the importance of consistency! (Which just happens to be one of the 7 Cs!)

11.25 A control pie is being judged on each table to aid in improving the consistency of judging. "It's important how a pie eats." - Ian Nelson


11.30 Matthew from the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association has informed us that, now in its 9th year, the Pie Awards judges have rated over 7,000 pies! After doing his best air steward impression he thanked everyone for coming and told everyone to enjoy the pies!!!

11.35 The Reverend Kevin Ashby (whose church normally hosts the pie awards but is being renovated this year) gave us a pie prayer of blessing to thank God and all the bakers for these wonderful pies! Amen to that!

11.40 Let the pie judging begin!!!

12.00 Love the busy murmour of a hundred people eating pies and rating them! Here's pie judge & Channel 4 News Deputy Editor Felicity Spector (right).


12.15 Have been speaking to Louise, Tim and Tom on the "Beef and any flavour" class. Some combos have worked but the Italian Meatball pie didn't rate so highly! Couple of DQs for being too heavy too!

12.30 Class 12 is generally my favourite - "Speciality Meat" aka all the unusual flavours! This year they've already had goat, game... and cricket pie! (We'll be rating the same company's cricket pie at the weekend!)

12.45 Martin Tarbuck, pie rating author of "The life of pies", is in the Steak & Kidney class. He says "We've had some good pies but waiting for one to blow me away!"

Martin Tarbuck
12.50 We've had a chat with Rev Kevin Ashby - whose church St Marys in Melton Mowbray normally hosts the awards. It's under renovation this year but he assures me the pie awards will be back in their rightful place next year! And with new floor, power sockets and PA it should be even better at hosting the awards then!

The pie warmers today are from Brooksby Melton College
13:15 I've been speaking to the Chairman of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association Matthew. He was the one who founded the awards and is delighted with the record number of small pie producers who have entered this year!

This Saturday there will be a festival of pies in Melton Mowbray town centre market too and we'll be back in July for "Piefest" - where we'll be talking about how to rate a pie!

13.30 Lots of interesting dessert pies, including this Rhubarb and Custard effort!


14.00 While some classes are starting to wind down a bit, there's still plenty of pies to rate!

Melton Mowbray Pork Pies
 14.05 Our com-pie-tition winners "Sisterhood of the travelling pies" have been posing with pies!


Jonny Smith
14.30 The Pie Pundit aka Jonny Smith was unsurprisingly on the sports pies! He had some surprisingly fillings including an apple pie and lamb pie, but lots of steak! Though he commented on the lack of hand held options.

15.00 Well there we have it! The ovens are off, the tables are being wiped down. Good times have been had. Now just to wait til Friday to find out the results!

Thanks for stopping by for photos of pie!!!


The winners at the British Pie Awards will be announced on Friday 10th March on the @BritishPies twitter feed and updated on the British Pie Awards website.


If you want to find out more about the British Pie Awards 2017, check out our Countdown to the British Pie Awards article.

Did you know? This is the second time that the British Pie Awards are happening in British Pie Week, following a successful but controversial first time out last year! You can read about the controversial winner in our British Pie Awards 2016 article and find out Everything you need to know about British Pie Week here!

RAS

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "British Pie Awards 2017 - Live!"