Sunday 4 July 2010

Grab a slice of the action - putting alternative pastry products to the sword

There's been a lot of chit-chat recently about alternative pastry products. These include such things such as slices, pasties and tarts among many others. We have even been discussing the mythical Piezza. The question often comes back to why are these not pies? Well when you look at slices and pasties in particular they definitely do fulfil one of the major attributes of a pie, as stipulated by the British Pie Awards which says 'A pie is deemed to be a filling totally encased in pastry'. HOWEVER this is an incomplete definition, there are many who would lead you astray in the world of pies but here at we are going to set the record straight once and for all. Let me break it down for you.

1. A pie is deemed to be a filling totally encased in pastry.
2. A pie must have sides, a base and a discernible lid made from a separate piece of pastry.

Why is the lid so important I hear you ask? There are many reasons that the lid means so much to people all around the world. It adds a plethora of ways to eat your pie. Some like to take the lid off and eat the filling first. Others love to dip chips in. Who doesn't love that moment the knife first cuts into the lid of a freshly cooked pie? Some psychologists have speculated that the round golden pastry lid subconsciously reminds us of the Sun, hence we think we are eating something large and consequently find it more fulfilling.

However, the importance of sides to a pie is often overlooked. This gives the pie a height lacked by other pastry products. Hence a pie will generally have a better height to width ratio and thus more filling to pastry compared to alternative pastry products. The sides also help contain the filling much more effectively than can be found elsewhere.

Don't even get me started on products that are not fully encased in pastry, these tend to be lacking in enough pastry, especially those so called 'top-crust' pies. Basically a stew with a paltry pastry lid.

Remember, if you are going to grab a slice of the action make sure you grab a slice of pie!

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