Friday 30 April 2010

Is it a pie? McDonalds under the knife

It’s the age old question – is it or isn’t it? Well guys, I have to admit that when it comes to McDonalds Apple Pie, I’m certainly hesitant in my viewpoint. While the packaging clearly gives the indication that you are entering pie heaven, with “hot, crispy and delicious Apple Pie” plastered over the label, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

And yet is that famous saying true?!! After all, the eating experience itself was quite delightful, it has to be said. It certainly was hot, crispy and delicious – ticking all the McBoxes. The filling was piping hot and complemented the pastry. But what really caused confusion was whether it was a pie in the first place! After all, when it comes out of the packaging and is laid bare on a McNapkin, would anyone really go “wow, what a great looking pie!”

Now we here at Pierate want to stick close to our pie loving base and not be distracted by any kind of slice invasion. And when you look at McDonald’s pastry offer, you certainly couldn’t be accused of such a grave error known simply as the “Splaffy” (to those who are new to this term, this highlights an occurrence where an experienced member of our pie eating team accidentally bought a slice, not a pie, at the Soul Survivor pie stand one year! Definitely something to banter about for years to come!)

The lack of foil tray, the fact that there is no clear “base” and “lid” parts – but simply an even amalgamation of the two – and the lack of spherical shape (which is common to most pies, even the slightly more rectangular looking versions) clearly indicate that the McDonalds offering is sadly not actually a pie! So be warned – even mega chains like McDonalds can lull innocent customers into a grave error, using the pie brand to sell what are in fact slices. I can safely say that are not “lovin it”.

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Wednesday 21 April 2010

Pukka Pies await £40 payment from football club

Never one to shy away from controversial breaking news stories, it was announced today by our good friends that debt-wridden football club Portsmouth FC owe 40 English Pounds to Pukka Pies themselves! It appears all the lads must have put in some sort of lunchtime order to which the football club is still indebted. While this is only a tiny sum compared to the £119 million the football club owes its debtors, it comes as no surprise that we at will be fighting Pukka Pies corner to get their rightful cash back (and try to get a free pie out of it, somehow...)

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Sunday 18 April 2010

We are family, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah...

You may wonder why we’d review an All Steak Pukka Family Pie when we’ve already had the delight of an All Steak Pukka Pie... but that would be your error! You see the Family version could be argued to be a whole different ball game. After all, the size of a Family pie is definitely 3, if not 4 times bigger than your average chip shop Pukka, so you definately get a slightly different flavour as a result. In fact, the pie was eaten by 2 people to ensure that it could all be eaten in one sitting and give a more accurate review score!

The foil tin informs you that with Pukka Pies you “don’t compromise!” – but with a greater crust to filling ratio in the Family version, the Pukka Family pie does unfortunately compromise some of its score as a result of this poorer crusting. While it wasn’t as soggy as the smaller versions (in fact, it was very crispy!) the over-crustacean of the pie was a drawback noted by both reviewers. The filling – both its meatylicious steakiness and the lovely gravy - was however very good and it would defo be recommended for any family or indeed any very hungry pie fan! Scoring just lower than the individual Pukka Pie, it should still be on everyone’s birthday wishlist.

Score: 4.3/7
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Friday 9 April 2010

Do Peter’s put the passion into pie making?

Peter's Steak and Kidney Pie Review

It may all seem like a case of déjà vu to our blog fans, but fear not! You’re not getting a repeat review of the same old Peter’s pie – this review is based on the standard Peter’s pie range (as opposed to the slightly more upmarket “Premier” range reviewed earlier this week, as we fail to leave any stone unturned (or should I say pie eaten) in our bid to bring you all the pie ratings you so dearly crave!

Peters pie
Taking a look at the packet, there’s one thing that immediately leaps out at you – “Peters – passion for flavour”. What a bold tagline! And with that, I ripped open the packet, slammed the pie on a plate and into the microwave it went for those long 90 seconds of pie heating heaven! But alas, when the pie came out, it didn’t fill me with quite the passion for eating as I had hoped for. And what certainly didn’t help was the huge piece of steak gristle I found upon splitting the pie in two! Shocking really! And certainly not off to a good start.

Peters pie
While I can confirm that the rest of the pie’s contents were nice and meaty, and the gravy was a very nice flavour, I couldn’t help but be slightly downcast after that initial bite. The pie did have quite a nice flavour, when you removed the gristle, but to say that it made me passionate would be a bit of overkill.

Overall, the colour was good, though it was a bit chewy and could have had a stronger capacity. Not the cheapest pie I’ve ever purchased, and would rather have the more luxury Premier Peter’s pie option. But alas, this was the only pie left in the local small supermarket!

Peter's Steak and Kidney Pie
Score: 4/7


See where this pie ended up in the Pierate Pie Rankings or find other pies of a similar flavour.

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Wednesday 7 April 2010

Shire Famous Pies – Are they the Lord of the Rings?

It may not be Middle Earth, but the next pie to hit the stands is born and bred in the Midlands...or at least that’s where it was bought. Cos when it gets to half time in the BIG MATCH, the one half time footie snack which always gets all 3 points is a match winning pie. And so, when recently watching the Walsall v Wycombe Wanderers game there was no doubting what signing the Pierateer was about to make as part of his half time substitution, replacing ‘Hunger’ for the new summer signing of a ‘meatylicious pie!’

The first great move from Walsall FC was to have real strength in depth in their pie line up, with the star players steak and kidney and chicken and mushroom alongside an overseas acquisition in the form of the chicken korma pie and the vege friendly potato and leak pie.

The Pierateer immediately went for the no 1 fans favourite, the steak and kidney pie. A regular in any Football grounds line up, the steak and kidney pie came in a surprisingly odd plain white but foiled package. Designed to keep the heat in as you returned to the seat, it left the Pierateer having to take this low quality image of the pie stall to confirm the pie’s identity. Poor marketing, but let’s see if the pie hit the back of the net...

The colour was your standard golden brown, and the condition of the top lid was nice and firm despite having been put in a heating bag which could easily have over-soggified the pie. A quick run down the pitch from the pie stall past the queue and into his seat ensured the pie was eaten in tip top condition, with no sign of fatigue early in the second half. The capacity was surprisingly good in terms of being filled to the brim with gravy and chewiness was limited due to the large amounts of gravy and smaller chunks of steak and kidney. While this led to a good lack of chewiness, it did leave a big hole in the content’s meaty defence, which would clearly be punished by an experienced Pierateer like yours truly. The consistency was clearly skewed towards the gravy side, but there was just about enough meat to enjoy the pie. However they should definitely invest in their team before the start of next season, and hopefully the break in play will allow them to review their tactics and make an important signing of more meat. While the cost didn’t send me into administration, the lack of meat should mean points deducted from the lads for the price being charged. Hopefully they will re-climb the table once they invest in the summer transfer market.

All in all, the pie was nice but lacking in the meat department. As the meat is the driving force at the heart of the pie’s midfield, it certainly could do with a super sub during the transfer window. But as for half time satisfaction, nothing beats a good old fashioned pie at the footie!

Bilbo Baggins would certainly give a cheeky thumbs up to Shire Famous Pies.

1. Colour 6/7
2. Consistency 5/7
3. Capacity 6/7
4. Chewiness 6/7
5. Cheapness 3/7
6. Content 3/7
7. Condition 6/7

Overall: 5/7
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Tuesday 6 April 2010

Peter's Premier Pies: Premier League or Blue Square Premier?

Peter's Premier Pie Steak and Fuller's Ale Pie Review

Peters premier pieWhen something calls itself 'premier' or 'luxury' the initial instinct is often to be suspicious. I often refer to myself as the modern Albert Einstein but no matter how many times I say it, it doesn't become true, unfortunately.

Most of us in the UK are familiar with Peter's, one of the biggest selling pie brands who recently celebrated 40 years of pie making. This latest 'Premier' offering does look a bit more tasty than their standard pies, with a bigger size and of course bigger capacity. It is Steak and Fuller's Ale flavour which is fortunate as the Fuller's beer they have chosen is London Pride, one of my favourites.

GPeters premier pieetting it out of it's very appealing case I took advantage of the quick microwave option. Have a look at the piecture, there is a good amount of content, it is in prime condition and has a lovely colour, so my initial impressions were very good. But we all know the proof of the pie is in the eating!

Just as I was about to eat it, it kind of collapsed. I put this down to the microwave option which unfortunately can make pastry a bit soggy and is not recommended for getting the best out of your pie. BUT we all know that a 99% perfect pie in 1m30secs is very tempting compared to the 100% in 25 minutes time! However I feel for this pie the pastry was very much in the Pukka pies style of a bit stodgy and soggy and it can't all be blamed on the microwave.

The gravy was delicious with a piefect amount of ale. It made me want to head down the pub, but alas there is little time for the pierateers to do such things when there is a whole world of pies waiting for them.

The main let down for this pie was the consistency or lack thereof. About half the pieces of meat were verging on what I would expect from a top of the range pie, but the other half were overly chewy. This is what I feel prevents it from claiming a spot in the Premier League. However, on balance it is good value on the cheapness front and I was a fan of this pie. It would probably make it into the Championship and with the pie market becoming ever more competitive it could prove to be an excellent new signing by Peter's.

Peter's Premier Pies Steak and Fuller's Ale Pie
Score: 5.2/7

See where this pie ended up in the Pierate Pie Rankings or find other pies of a similar flavour.

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and let us know your thoughts!
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Saturday 3 April 2010

I spy a home-made pie

Here are some photographs of an attempt at home-made pie baking. Please note that our web address is and NOT the web address INCORRECTLY written on the pie. This is a regretful typographical error, and has no affiliation with nor holds any responsibility for the content on this external link.

Again, please note that our web address is and NOT the web address INCORRECTLY written on the pie.

The final post-baking article:

A characterful lattice-attempt:

I certainly found home-baking pies to be an enjoyable experience, and had great fun concocting the filling and laying the lattice. Unfortunately the recipe for the filling was rather made-up and has been misplaced, but perhaps sometime in the future you may see some great pie filling recipes up here! Don't be afraid to have your own go at pie-baking!!!
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Friday 2 April 2010

Pie and Mash or Pie and Chips?!

It's the grand old debate (along with what pie filling to choose from at the local chippy)...

Pie and Mash or Pie and Chips?

So let's look at the pros and cons of both options and then let the consumer decide:

Forget the cash, lets go for the mash!

Arguably the more expensive and time consuming option, having mash with your pie is certainly still a popular choice. While buying, peeling and cooking the potatoes means it is generally the 'meal at home' choice, it certainly is worth the effort. It helps remove the 'fast food junkie' image of your typical pie consumer, by going for a more sophisticated potato option. Certainly it goes down the gullet more smoothly and, by boiling the potato rather than frying, it is the more healthy option. It does however take longer to prepare and means you can't just have a sudden pie craving without waiting for the potatoes to be ready. It certainly isn't the 'on the go' choice - unless you happen to come across the legendary "Urban Pie" retailer in the Bullring, Birmingham. We will defo have a review of there pies sometime soon!

So in summary: MASH - the more healthy option, but preparation time generally needed.

Fast food pies need some fries!

When in need of a quick, tasty - and not necessarily healthy - fast food meal, why not go for the good old fashioned pie and chips?! Always guaranteed to go well with the meatylicious pie you've purchased, you can always benefit from having chips to dip in the gravy and mix well with the meat and pastry of the pie. Just don't let the chips detract you from the pie itself or lead to you having uneaten pie leftover - there are priorities! Readily available at restaurants and chip shops, you can nearly always get a sprinkling of fries with your pies. And often more cheaply and quicker than waiting for mashed potato too. Perhaps less healthy than mash, but when you're going for a pie it generally isn't a calorie busting diet you're going for! Why not just go the whole hog?!

So in summary: FRIES - great on the go, ready when you are!
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Thursday 1 April 2010

Yates with the mates

What do you do if you're feeling a bit peckish and you've got a few minutes to spare in Weston-Super-Mare? Head in to the local Yates' for a classic pie, that's what!

The pie we will be reviewing on this occasion is the British Steak & Ale Pie , listed on the menu as British steak, slow-cooked in ale and topped with mushrooms and onion, wrapped in shortcrust pastry. It's all sounding good so far - here at Pierate we do like to support good British farming. The shortcrust pastry is used throughout the entire pie, including the top, which provides a contrast to the puff pastry used so often in steak pies of this nature. This is a restaurant, so the cheapness is never going to be highly scoring but we felt that the price at £5.75 was right considering the pie also came with peas, gravy and either mashed potato or chips.

The condition the pie arrived in was to satisfaction, and the colour was the standard golden brown. This pie was large, and therefore held a good capacity and content. While I do like ale, I was still a little wary of the pie being "over-aley" (something that all too often blights pies of this nature), but I was pleasantly surprised by the delicate balance between the warmly uplifting notes of the steak and the deep base notes of the ale. One certain criticism was the chewiness of the steak in this pie, however. The consistency was not helped by what was, in our opinion, an overuse of the shortcrust pastry. In all three of our pies, none of us could quite finish all the pastry which in some parts was quite stodgy and perhaps undercooked. As you can see from the photograph, however, there was no shortage of gravy (it was provided in a little gravy pot for you to add according to personal preference).

Let's not joke around here, this pie was excellent and we were very pleased to see a pie on Yates' menu. A Chicken & Bacon Pie is also available, at the same price of £5.75.
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