Sunday, 8 September 2013

Cooking Up a Storm in The Pie Kitchen

The Pie Kitchen - Chicken, Chantenay Carrot & Bacon Pie Review

So here it is, the Pierate review of the Pie which won the title of Supreme Champion at the 2013 British Pie Awards. This means it was the best pie in the whole competition, which included a staggering 983 pies. Understandably I was therefore quite excited to be trying this pie after it has achieved so much. Would this pie top our list of the best pies in Suffolk? Could this be the best pie I have ever tasted? Have a look at the review in action in the following video.



So now the moment of truth! What did I think?

Colour - 7 out of 7 - A real winner against the colour criteria. I think this pie had a perfect golden colour even before being cooked. Despite the pastry being all hand made it showed quite an amazing uniformity, but not too much so as to lose it's handmade character. The filling also looked great, with the carrot adding a splash of colour.


Consistency - 7 out of 7 - The pie had a fantastic consistency, with a lovely thick sauce, but not too thick as to be stodgy. I love the way it slowly oozed out although the filling generally stayed put inside the pie. A pie which would be great to serve to guests as it stayed together very well.


Capacity - 7 out of 7 - Whist this pie was certainly not the tallest pie it was big enough to fit a lot in. I think this pie could serve about 3 people with mash and veg. It had an excellent filling to pastry ratio.


Chewiness - 5 out of 7 - I tend to use chewiness to score the texture of the pie. The filling had a marvellous texture. The meat was tender but still firm to the bite. It really showed that this was not mass produced chicken which can often be mushy and watery. The carrot added another dimension to the texture and retained a nice crunch. Quite an achievement in a pie. However, as much as I loved the taste of the pastry the texture was too crumbly for me. My ideal pastry has a smoother mouthfeel.


Cheapness - 5 out of 7 - This is the most expensive pie that The Pie Kitchen make. It cost £7.50 if purchased from one of the farmers markets they attend. Okay, this is a lot more than most of us normally pay for a pie. However, you get a lot for your money. The pie is quite big and the amount of filling is fantastic. I reckon this pie has about twice as much chicken as an equivalent mass produced pie. Good quality, locally sourced produce does cost more and hence I don't think this was bad value.


Content - 7 out of 7 - If I could give this pie 8 out of 7 for content then I would. The flavours did everything you would expect from a top quality traditional British pie and did it brilliantly. However, there was just a hint of some unusual flavours that made it stand out from the crowd. I can't quite say what spices and herbs might have been used, but it tasted slightly Christmasy to me, perhaps it was nutmeg or some other seasonal spice. There was also a delicious meaty taste to the pie, something we love on The Pierate Ship! This was aided by the big chunks of chicken and more than a hint of bacon. The carrot also had a superb, sweet flavour. I am going to have to buy more Chantenay carrots in the future if they taste this good. Below, you can see a section of the pie where I have removed the lid to show it is packed with content as you would expect for a pie at this price.


Condition - 7 out of 7 - Beautifully formed, hand made pastry, this pie looked like a premium product. It arrived with me in perfect condition and didn't have any soggy bottom syndrome or leaking filling after time in the oven.


So there it is, a pie which might not quite take top spot in our Pie Rankings but is comfortably inside the top ten. It certainly lost some score because of the high price but I would buy it again and this shows through in the very high score. Without doubt one of the best pies I have ever eaten. My compliments to Sally and Carol at The Pie Kitchen. They are refusing to compromise their ideals of local ingredients and using the best quality available. The care that goes into making these pies shows through in how good they taste.

I urge you to try one of these pies, if you can. The Pie Kitchen visit a range of different farmers markets during the month, the list of which can be found on their website www.the-pie-kitchen.co.uk. These are mainly in the Cambridgeshire and Suffolk areas. They can also be found in the Depden Farm Shop near Bury St. Edmunds. Best of luck to The Pie Kitchen at the British Pie Awards 2014!

Chicken, Chantenay Carrot & Bacon (The Pie Kitchen)
6.43/7


SJL

See where this pie ended up on our Suffolk Pie Rankings, the overall Pierate Pie Rankings or find other pies of a similar flavour.

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