Thursday, 31 October 2013

Pie Way On The Highway

Farmcafe and Foodmarket - Steak and Red Wine Pie Review

With so many great pies available I haven’t had to go too far out of my way to find candidates in my search for the best pies in Suffolk. That is certainly the case with Farmcafe & Foodmarket near Marlsford. It is right beside the A12 which is the main road in these parts and I had driven past many times. It is a bit like a glamorous service station. I had even stopped there before but, unaware they sold pies, I regrettably had some soup instead. Fortunately, we were alerted via Twitter that they had a formidable selection of pies so the next time I went in I was sure not to just get soup!


The cafe itself does have pies available to eat in but I opted to go into the foodmarket and get a pie to take home. It was a nice little shop and I was pleased to see they were committed to local produce. The pie selection was quite impressive with three different sizes and a range of flavours to choose from. I opted for the Steak & Red Wine individual pie at £4.40. For an individual pie this was quite a high price, I think the highest I have paid. The Selfridges pies I purchased recently only cost £3.99 and £3.49. However, it was certainly worth paying a premium for this pie as it was clearly a premium product. The capacity was relatively big because the pie had a fantastic height to width ratio. You can see from the picture that this pie was small but mighty, it was as if they had packed a whole steak in there. The slow cooked steak was absolutely melt in the mouth and full of flavour. The red wine added a delicious fruityness to the filling. The shortcrust pastry was soft but with a bit of crunch, my preferred texture. There was just a slight hint of doughyness to the pastry. There wasn’t a lot of gravy in the pie, I normally like to have enough so that it oozes out slightly. In this case it wasn’t much of a problem as there was not a hint of dryness.


In terms of looks it managed to obtain a perfect golden brown colour. The ‘S’ in the centre is a nice touch also used by others such as Paul’s Pies. In fact the Farmcafe pie did appear to look just like a squashed version of Paul’s Steak & Guinness! Hopefully I have managed to express that I really enjoyed eating this pie. I was left wanting more, partly because it wasn’t the biggest pie and partly just because it was so good! Unfortunately, it does lose some points on the ‘Cheapness’ category. At £4.40 for what was quite a small pie it is something I would buy again, but not very often which is reflected in a score which is high enough to put it into the top three of our Suffolk pie rankings.

Steak and Red Wine (Farmcafe and Foodmarket, IP13 0AG)
5.77/7
SJL


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

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Pie Way On The Highway"

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Sainsbury’s Spot the Difference - Update

Spot the Difference (not Taste the Difference) with Sainsbury's Deep Fill Chicken and White Wine Puff Pastry Pie - an update of the article on 13th October 2013

The following is an updated pie review, superseding the review of the Sainsbury's Chicken and White Wine Puff Pastry Pie in March 2012.

You may recall that when I went to review the Sainsbury's Deep Fill Chicken and White Wine Puff Pastry Pie a couple of weeks ago I found out that we had already reviewed the Sainsbury’s Chicken and White Wine Puff Pastry Pie back in March 2012. Don’t worry – I’m not going mad and reviewing the same pie again. Did you spot it? Sainsbury’s have added “Deep Fill” to their box. But was there seriously any difference? Or have I been duped by their marketing gimmicks. Looking at the photos of the two pies, the box and the depth of the actual pie I ate compared to what I remember of it before, I was not convinced.


Sainsbury's Classic Chicken and White Wine Pie
Sainsbury's Classic Chicken and White Wine Pie - reviewed 5/3/2012


Sainsbury's Classic Chicken and White Wine Pie
Sainsbury's Classic Chicken and White Wine Pie - eaten 10/10/2013

However, after waiting a week for a reply from Sainsbury’s I finally heard back on twitter that there were some differences between the pies. Frustratingly, @Sainsburys have since deleted these comments, so I cannot show you them, but in essence they told me that the old pie was 16mm deep, but the new pie was 26mm deep, and that the chicken had been cooked for longer in the new pie to be more tender.

In summary, with the original non-deep fill pie reviewed in March 2012 no longer in production, and as the supplier is different and the pie is a different depth, it warranted an updated review. However before I assess the pie, a quick comment on the information supplied by Sainsbury’s. Unfortunately as I no longer have the two pies to eat and re-measure at this point, I have had to use the secondary resource of the pie photos. The boxes should accurately reflect the pies in question and with a near identical style photo on the box, I used the ratio of the measurements of the depth of pie to the average middle pie depth and do not believe that the 62.5% deeper analysis (16mm to 26mm) is accurate, even if the pie is a bit deeper.



The million dollar question is how deep does a pie need to be to be labelled “deep fill”? In my opinion the difference between these pies in reality (as opposed to the data above based on the box photo) indicates next to no actual difference in depth (especially not 62.5% difference as quoted).

Onto the actual taste and the pie itself was a nice one, with the white wine sauce of the Sainsbury’s pie being very nice. It really complemented the puff pastry well, and in conjunction with the light, golden puff pastry it was a real winner. The pastry was nicely golden and in great condition, with the capacity being good and the pieces of chicken very tasty. However I couldn’t help but think that for a pie labelled as “deep fill”, this certainly didn’t strike me as any more filled than a standard pie I’ve had. The filling was good but both my hosts the Senei and I felt the filling to pastry ratio was a bit disappointing, especially when the supposed deep fill should alleviate this and improve the ratio.

All in all, I would eat this pie again but it certainly was disappointing to see so little difference (if any) in the two pies considering the new supplier was supposed to be providing a “deep fill” pie.

Sainsbury's Classic Deep Fill Chicken and White Wine Puff Pastry Pie
Score: 5.6/7
RAS


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

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Sainsbury’s Spot the Difference - Update"

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Great British Bake Off - The Final: Pie Review Tweets

Thanks to Bake Off stars Frances, Beca and Ali for taking the time to read our blog!

Pie Bake Off Tweets

So you may have heard of a little show on BBC Two called "The Great British Bake Off"? Just a few million (well, 9.1 million to be precise) tuned in to watch at least part of the final and for those who didn't - it's still on BBC Pie-player right now!

One of the challenges for our bakers in the final was to make a Picnic Pie. Of course, no soggy bottoms would be permissable by Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry if they wanted to have the perfect pie! Sadly we weren't invited to be able to fully rate the pies on the Seven Cs. But what did the Pierateers think of the pies on show? Well, I'm glad you asked! Here's our tweet by tweet pie review. And if you don't want to find out who made the best pie and who won the whole bake off... it's best to look away now!

Ok guys: just catching up on @BritishBakeOff on BBC pie-player! If you don't want to find out about the pies, look away now! #GBBO #bakepie
Alternatively, if you want to see the Pierateers viewpoint on @BritishBakeOff then just follow the hashtag #bakepie And we're off!
Sorry @sueperkins but you've already made a mistake 10 seconds in! For a summer party, a classic ingredient you need is pie! #bakepie
Why does EVERY reality contest show start with a "And the winner of (insert title here) is..." montage? @BritishBakeOff #GBBO #bakepie
Looking forward to the wildcard pie of the @BritishBakeOff tent! #bakepie
Consistency in baking is key once you've got a top pie recipe @PaulHollywood "That's 1 of the nicest pies I've had" @BritishBakeOff #bakepie
Creative baking! We like creative pies on http://www.pierate.co.uk - but need style and substance! @BritishBakeOff #GBBO #bakepie
"I need to bake my flipping socks off!!!" - what every pie maker should think when the Pierateers come for pie! @BritishBakeOff #bakepie
From @sueperkins - "We'd like you to make a savoury picnic pie" - so do I!!! Your making me hungry again! @BritishBakeOff #GBBO #bakepie
Short crust pastry, elaborate looking, when you cut into it we want some design inside, presented out of the tin - sounds amazing! #bakepie
"We want to see pastry again" - @PaulHollywood "We want no #soggybottoms" - Mary Berry. These judges know their stuff! #GBBO #bakepie
"The filling should be in definite layers so that as you cut through it they...don't spill into each other" Mary @BritishBakeOff #bakepie
"You're looking for a nice crispy shell... a beautiful golden brown colour" - @PaulHollywood knows the 7 Cs! http://www.pierate.co.uk/p/the-seven-cs.html #bakepie
"Good flavour, good texture, good appearance...they've got to be perfect!" - Mary knows about the 7 Cs to! http://www.pierate.co.uk/p/the-seven-cs.html #bakepie
"The rainbow inside Frances' pie..." - seriously, my jaw is on the floor already! @BritishBakeOff #GBBO #bakepie


Frances' Rainbow Picnic Pie
Frances' Rainbow Picnic Pie - Screenshot from BBC

"Frances grew up making cakes for friends..." err... and pies?! Don't let me down! @BritishBakeOff #GBBO #teampie #bakepie
"Ruby's picnic basket is a vegetarian pie..." - interesting choice, though already questioning the lack of meat from @SouthendsRock #bakepie


Ruby's Picnic Basket Pie
Ruby's Picnic Basket Pie - Screenshot from BBC

"It's the battle of the baskets!" - Mel on @BritishBakeOff - Classic!!! #GBBO #bakepie
"The picnic pie pastry needs to be just short enough to crumble when eaten" - Amen to that! @BritishBakeOff #GBBO #bakepie
"...but strong enough to support the weight of the filling without being overworked & tough." - Can't forget that! @BritishBakeOff #bakepie
"A white pastry, a green pastry...and a pink one." - are you being serious?! Get me that pie...now! @BritishBakeOff #bakepie
What are you doing with pink pastry? Oh... making pink pastry pigs! For your chicken and pig pie! Of course! @BritishBakeOff #GBBO #bakepie


Kimberley's Chicken and Pig Pie
Kimberley's Chicken and Pig Pie - Screenshot from BBC

"Tins lined with pastry, the finalist must prepare their fillings!" - Biggest enemy is moisture - no #soggybottoms! @BritishBakeOff #bakepie
Cooking the filling first... interesting #pietactics @BritishBakeOff #GBBO #bakepie
If only everyone could cook pie that quickly! Looking great though - even if they need a bit of "wafting" @BritishBakeOff #GBBO #bakepie
Uh oh!!! #soggybottom alert!!! "Step away from the piggies Kimberley!" @BritishBakeOff #bakepie


Frances' Rainbow Picnic Pie
Frances' Rainbow Picnic Pie - Screenshot from BBC
Pierateer feedback for Frances: impressive top crust & colour, looks crisp, colourful content, consistent filling. Great work! #bakepie


Kimberley's Chicken and Pig Pie
Kimberley's Chicken and Pig Pie - Screenshot from BBC

Pierateer feedback for Kim: pastry spoilt by the moisture, content sounds good but too wet! Very soft looking texture. Needs work. #bakepie

Ruby's Picnic Basket Pie
Ruby's Picnic Basket Pie - Screenshot from BBC
Pierateer feedback for Ruby: Wow! Look at the filling layers! Not sure I'd enjoy the filling as much but crust held together well! #bakepie
Sadly I can't give a full 7 Cs assessment without tasting the pie itself. Maybe we'll be invited along next year! @BritishBakeOff #bakepie
Right... not gonna lie! Skipping to the final 10 minutes to hear the result! @BritishBakeOff #GBBO #bakepie
Wait a second...why aren't they carrying their pies out to friends & family?! Oh good... it's already on the table! @BritishBakeOff #bakepie
And the winner of the 2013 Great British Bake Off is... PIE!!!
Oops... I mean...Frances! Well done! @BritishBakeOff #GBBO #bakepie
What?!?! Ali still hates fruit pies? No offence mate but you won't be getting an invite to the next Pierate Pie Contest! #GBBO #bakepie
Well done to Team Bake Off! Cracking example of pie making! We'll continue loving pie at http://www.pierate.co.uk @BritishBakeOff #bakepie


So there we have it! The Great British Bake Off is complete for another year, and while I feel Ruby made the best looking pie, sadly the cake let her down and Frances won the title. Of course, we'd be happy to test any of their future pie productions (as long as it didn't have a soggy bottom!) After all... we have rated a few pies in our time!

RAS

See our full list of pie reviews in our Pierate Pie Rankings or find pies in your favourite pie flavour in our Pies: Categorised lists.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Great British Bake Off - The Final: Pie Review Tweets"

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

How Do The Pies Square Up?

Square Pie - Chicken, Leek and Wiltshire Ham Pie Review

Square pie have been visited by the Pierateers before on the very special occasion of our 100th pie review. (You might think that was a long time ago as we approach 250 pie reviews but it was infact just last year!) But in case you aren't familiar with this old London pie favourite let me remind you. A fast food style pie establishment, the pies are already cooked and waiting in a warm counter for the eager customers to eat within minutes of entering the restaurant. You have a choice of veg and potato options to make your pie a meal if you desire. This type of fast pie is fairly unique, Battersea Pie Station and Urban Pie are the only others I can think of who are doing the same thing. The benefits from this format are clear. It offers a pie restaurant experience a bit cheaper than your average pub and the pies tend to be fairly gourmet with an interesting variety of flavours. However, Square Pie seem to be the original, having established their first outlet in Old Spitalfields Market back in 2001.


Despite having visited a number of times before the fast pie experience keeps drawing me back. It is just a very convenient way to get a pie. A recent trip saw me grab a Chicken, Leek and Wiltshire Ham Pie with peas and gravy for £6 from Old Spitalfields Market. This was one of their more expensive pies so I hoped to taste the best Square Pie offer. For comparison a similar pie meal at Urban Pie would cost £4.95 and £7.00 in Battersea Pie Station (to eat in). So we are looking at a fairly competitive price (as usual remembering we are in expensive London).


But of course I had high expectations given that this was a restaurant where the pies are the main attraction. They earn their crust making pies every day and claim to be a cut above mass produced pies. I am pleased to say they didn’t disappoint. I think this was the best square pie I have had so far. In the photo I have pulled out some of the filling so you can see there were big chunks of chicken and plenty of ham too. Pieces of leek were easy to find and they added plenty of flavour. This pastry was perfect; buttery and soft. There was plenty of thick gravy inside the pie with a real meaty taste. It is actually difficult to say that there was anything wrong with this pie at all, it did everything right. So why did it not get a full score for a pie which left me very full? I think this was mainly down to the chicken, the texture of which didn’t quite do it for me. Also the pastry perhaps slips down too easily, it is quite gooey and I think my ultimate pie has a bit of crunch. However, these are minor criticisms and overall this pie squares up very well to the competition.


Chicken, Leek and Wiltshire Ham (Square Pie) 
5.58/7

SJL

See where this pie ended up amongst our Best London Pies and our overall Pie Rankings.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "How Do The Pies Square Up?"

Sunday, 20 October 2013

An unsubtantial score for this Tesco vegetable pie

Tesco Vegetable Pie Review

It's no secret that we do have a bit of a passion for meat pies here at Pierate, but in the interests of our vegetarian friends we do occasionally try out vegetarian pies. Hence, here is a vegetable pie from Tesco.

Tesco vegetable pie review
Tesco Vegetable Pie
About this time last year, my comrade SJL trialled a Tesco Chicken and Vegetable pie, and found it not to be to his satisfaction. His title "An Unfulfilling Situation" says it all really.

I want to see if Tesco have improved on their value pie range. Above, you can see the puff pastry has crisped nicely, and the pie is a nice golden brown colour. However, this pie is very small. The plate may look very large, but I can assure you that's a normal sized plate. The pie really is just that tiny.

Tesco vegetable pie review
The unsubstantial filling
Upon opening the pie, I note that there is a distinct lack of filling. As you can see from the picture above, the filling consists of almost exclusively carrot and broccoli, which appears to have gone mushy and fallen apart in the frothy white gravy. What's more, the quality of the vegetables looked very poor to me, and suspiciously not too dissimilar from what might come out of a value pack of frozen vegetables. The pastry was alright - very light and thin - but very standard.

I thought this pie was utterly pointless. At least it was cheap. To me, the filling was frothy and unsubstantial - and hence this pie deserves an unsubstantial score.

Tesco Vegetable Pie
Score: 2.1/7
TJP

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

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "An unsubtantial score for this Tesco vegetable pie"

Saturday, 19 October 2013

50,000 pageviews helping to ins-pie-re a generation

Two glorious weeks last July and August helped Great Britain – and London in particular – to carry the Olympic spirit and inspire a generation. So said Lord Coe at the end of London 2012, the closing sentiments of the 30th Olympic Games. “Britain we did it right. Thank you.”

Well...fast forward just over 14 months and another landmark event has just passed, as the Pierateers celebrated reaching 50,000 pageviews on Saturday 19th October 2013. In what can only be described as a meteoric rise in pie fanaticism, the Pierate blog has shot to prominence in 2013 and to number one in the Google rankings when searching “pie review” (try it yourself and see!). From its humble beginnings in November 2009 to the 20,000 pageviews by the start of January 2013, this has been the year the Pierateers really set sail. With offers of free pies flooding in left, right and centre, and almost 250 pies now reviewed, today we celebrate reaching 50,000 pageviews! And in the coming weeks we will be unveiling our newest Honorary Pierateer to celebrate reaching this landmark.

So to all the fans of www.pierate.co.uk and those who have taken the time to even just have a brief look – THANK YOU! To those who have stuck with us through the top crust outrages, the cringe pie puns, photo after photo after photo of yet another pie we’ve eaten and rated – we salute you! To pie companies that have provided us with discounted or free pie for an unbiased pie review – we a-pie-reciate it all! To the people who have suggested pies we should rate and promoted our pie blog – you truely are friends indeed! To those who read our blog and particularly the friends and family that have to hear us bang on about pies more than most – we hope we are in some little way helping to ins-pie-re a new generation of pie lovers out there! And we welcome you back on board the Pierate Ship time and time again in the future, as we look to continue sailing into the record books as the web’s leading pie reviewing website and the only place where you get to sail the 7 Cs of pie rating.


Pierate Winners
Ins-pie-ring the next generation: Pierate competition winners with their t-shirts
Don’t forget to regularly check back to our Pie Rankings to see where our new pie rated adventures score in our growing list and do check the Pies: Categorised page for our top 3 lists and our branded pie comparisons (especially useful if you are in your local supermarket and eyeing up the pies!)

In closing, we never really dreamt that this little bit of pun and pie games that we call www.pierate.co.uk would set sail on the course it has, but with so many more adventures in the pie-peline, including preparations for our #250pies celebrations and our “12 pies of Christmas” video and reviews – there’s no stopping us now! We arrrrrgh sure of that, me hearties!

So pie fans, I hope we’ve done it right so far. Thank you. And here’s to the next 50,000 pageviews!!!


RAS
continue reading "50,000 pageviews helping to ins-pie-re a generation"

Friday, 18 October 2013

Lifting the lid on the Captain Digby pies

Captain Digby Steak and Ale Pie Review

Yo ho ho! When one's a sea-faring Pierateer such as myself, where does one go for some lovely PIE in Broadstairs, Kent?

The spectacular view from the Captain Digby terrace
Well listen in, and I'll tell ye a yarn. Joss Snelling and his infamous gang have got a smugglin' cave right there in them cliffs, look. That's where they store their smuggled goods. But you know what's better than smuggled tea, wine and contraband?

Pies. And look above the cavern, on top of that cliff. Yes, it's Captain Digby, and he does some fine pies I hear.


Captain Digby's. It's where any Pierateer worth their salt knows to visit. You don't sail the Seven Cs and live to tell the tale, and then not go to Captain Digby's. Especially when he's brandishing such a fine sword, and there's several types of pie on the menu.


Now let's be clear, it was clarified on the menu that this pie was going to be a top-crust. So when this top-crust steak and ale pie landed in front of me, I didn't go into the immediate state of shock and disappointment that I normally do. However, needless to say, it was still pretty disappointing, especially when I could just lift the lid off easily like this:


We've said it before, and we'll say it again, this is not a pie. It is a stew in a dish with some pastry on top. Apart from the slight contact the stew makes with the pastry, there is nothing about this that fits the definition of a pie. Even those around me, who weren't quite so acquainted with the pie rules, seemed stunned and disheartened by the ease at which I could lift the lid on this pie.

Clocking up a bill just south of £11, this is also an expensive pie, in my view. And it's not even a pie. It did come with some (fairly standard) veg, and chips in a little bucket (why do they always do that?) - and was actually a very sizeable meal - but I think this pie is still in the very high price bracket for what you get.

But how did it taste? The stew was nice, and the steak of good quality with nice chunks that weren't chewy. I felt the stew was quite salty, however, and really rather liquid (would have been very gooey in a fully-encased pie). I appreciate that it's also definitely easier to make this sort of "pie", because you can batch make your stew, batch make your pie lids, and then just put the two together when the pie leaves the kitchen (I'm not saying this is what Captain Digby have done here, because I don't know, but I'm imagining the possibilities). I really enjoy the skill that goes into making a fully-encased, individual, autonomous pie, with it's own little microenvironment inside. This sort of pie just isn't the same to me.

Overall, this pie was of good quality but lacked character and charm, was too salty for my liking, expensive, and a top-crust. The real acid test is: would I buy this again? And I probably wouldn't, sorry. Great view from the pub terrace, though.

Captain Digby Steak and Ale Pie
Score: 3.4/7
TJP

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

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Lifting the lid on the Captain Digby pies"

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Stick that Ember Inn your pie and smoke it!

Chimney Chicken Pie Review at Ember Inn (Green Man, Harborne)

The concept of a chimney pie bewildered me as I glanced over what pie to eat on the Green Man pub menu in Harborne, part of the Embers Inn pub chain. Various interpretations of a chimney were in my mind, but I have to admit the thought of a gaping big hole in the middle of my pie crust was not one of them.


Ember Inn Chimney Chicken Pie
Ember Inn Chimney Chicken Pie

But unfortunately that is exactly what I was presented with. In a flashback to the 'open pie' sold to me at the Slug and Lettuce pub, it was an immediate downer. The lack of fully encased puff pastry pie lid was a real shame, as the lid that was present was very nice. Golden, light and crispy it was very good and far more enjoyable than the slightly thick and dry short crust pastry sides and base. However it was good that the pie was surrounded by pastry, barring the gaping hole.

The filling was generally very nice. The chicken pieces were tender and very nicely complemented the leek with a nice creamy sauce. The main downside was that the sauce filing was a bit thick and congealed on the top layer due to the open lid, meaning the filling was not as moist and tasty as it could have been.


Ember Inn Chimney Chicken Pie
Inside the Chimney... Pie

All in all, while it still tasted nice, I don't think the concept of a chimney pie really worked. There is a reason why pies are normally fully encased and while it can be good to experiment with food, they need to brush up on their chimney ideas and soot out a better variation of chimney if they want to stack up a winning pie.

Ember Inn Chicken Chimney Pie (at Green Man, Harborne)
Score: 5/7
RAS



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

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Stick that Ember Inn your pie and smoke it!"

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Welcome Pie Break

Welcome Break - Chicken, Ham & Mushroom Pie Review

Imagine the scene, it is the British Pie Awards 2013. The judges are scoring pies in the Best Pub Pie category. Imagine the fantastic pies available in the nation's pubs and what a sight it must be to get them all together. No doubt it would be awe inspiring.

Now imagine the pie that won, it must be from some gourmet pub chain and look fantastic. You would be right on one count it does look fantastic, just look at the picture below. However, you might be surprised to find that this pie is actually served up in Welcome Break service stations!


Service stations are not renown for award winning food so how did Welcome Break come up with something that scoops the top prize? Part of the secret, if you look at the list of BPA 2013 winners, is that this pie is made by Dunkleys, perennial achievers at the British Pie Awards, walking away with no less than six awards this year! However, because they make their pies for other people you may not be familiar with them. Upon a recent trip to South Mimms Welcome Break off the M25 I was delighted to have the chance to get acquainted with Dunkleys. Unfortunately they would not let me buy the pie by itself so I had to get a meal at £7.50.


Delving into the pie I could see why it is a premium product. It didn't just look good on the outside, but the inside exploded with an appealing content. It was well filled and the height meant it had a good capacity. The meat was tender, there was plenty of mushroom and the ham added a nice flavour. The chicken was in nice big, satisfying chunks. It was flavoursome although, I would have liked it to have packed a bit more of a punch. It was slightly let down by some very thick pieces of pastry, especially with the crinkled pattern on top, leaving it dry in places. Overall though, this was a pie which I enjoyed eating.


However, when you look at the £7.50 cost of the meal and what I actually got I don't think it is one which I would recommend for purchase. Perhaps it was because I ordered to take away but my portion of chips looked quite meagre for the money. I can count about 16 at best. The peas were pretty awful, they look like something served at a school canteen and completely out of place next to an up-market pie. At least Welcome Break had their pie-orities right with this meal but it almost seems pointless to have such a good pie without the rest of the meal to go with it. I was left feeling like this was not a very good value meal despite the pie being well above average.

So despite this pie claiming a top prize at the British Pie Awards it doesn't challenge the top of our pie rankings. But then at the British Pie Awards they don't take the cost of the pies into account. This only goes to show that there is one place you can rely on to tell you which pies to spend your hard earned cash on! Keep your eyes on the pies with pierate.co.uk, we try the pie before you buy!

Chicken, Ham & Mushroom (Welcome Break by Dunkleys)
3.87/7

SJL

P.S. How can this count as a pub pie??? It was a cafeteria!

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

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Welcome Pie Break"

Monday, 14 October 2013

Oh my cherry pie!

Cherry Pie Review from Mother Mash

Mother Mash Pie Shop Having been invited in to Mother Mash – a pie and mash shop in London – to try out their new dinner pies (reviewed earlier in the week), Pierateer RAS wasn’t about to stop there! Despite already feeling quite full from the delicious Chicken, Leek and Ham pie he had already eaten, the lure of the first ever Cherry Pie review was too much to hold back from! Before you knew it, and with little more than a glance over the dessert pies on the menu, the cherry pie and custard had been ordered.

Pierateer TJP and ACT looked on, already filled from their main course pies, as the reasonably sized cherry pie was brought to the table under a decent layer of custard. The custard layer was quite quickly pushed off the top of the pie in order to both prevent the lid from going too soggy and also so that the pastry lid could be seen for the photo below! Full encasement here – don’t you worry about that!

Mother Mash Cherry Pie
Mother Mash Cherry Pie

Already in this photo I hope you can see the cherry bursting out of the pie pastry, giving great capacity. The pie was filled with quite large whole cherries, which filled the pie from base to pie lid. They were nice and sweet, a bit chewy but what you would expect from this fruit. The large cherries did mean the filling to pastry ratio wasn’t quite right, as there was slightly too much filling to go with the pastry in my view. A bit more pastry would have been good (or slightly less filling), however I wouldn’t have wanted the pastry to be much thicker.

The pie was sweet, but complemented the light, flaky pastry well. It was a simple but sweet fruity cherry flavour. The custard had made the pastry slightly soggier in parts on top, but it was still quite firm and flaky and this didn’t detract much from the pie flavour. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this pie, but to improve it I would probably say slightly less cherry would better improve the filling:pastry ratio. Quite expensive for a dessert pie at £4.50 but certainly one to have again!

Mother Mash Cherry Pie
Score: 5.57/7

[Colour 6/7; Consistency 5/7; Cheapness 5/7; Chewiness 6/7; Condition 5.5/7; Content 5.5/7; Capacity 6/7; Total: 5.57/7]

RAS

p.s. In case you were wondering about the reason for the post title - in response to @MotherMash's twitter loving the use of our #ohmyapplepie, we decided to officially launch our own Pierate Dictionary during this Mother Mash Pie Review! Over time we'll record pie puns, pie related quotes and pie jokes. So if you have any you'd like to suggest, then leave a comment below or tweet us @pierateers! The best ones will get a mention in our Pierate Dictionary!

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

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Oh my cherry pie!"

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sainsbury's Spot the Difference

Spot the Difference (not Taste the Difference) with Sainsbury's Chicken and White Wine Pie

So imagine my disappointment as a Pierateer when I thought I was eating a new Sainsbury's pie the other day, only to find out that their marketing department were just playing tricks on me... Check out the two photos and see if you can (apart from the slight damage to the box) spot the difference, rather than taste the difference, between the two pies below:


Sainsbury's Classic Chicken and White Wine Pie
Sainsbury's Classic Chicken and White Wine Pie - reviewed 5/3/2012


Sainsbury's Classic Chicken and White Wine Pie
Sainsbury's Classic Chicken and White Wine Pie - eaten 10/10/2013

So... did you spot it?

Well one of those pies is apparently "deep filled"... the other... well, it doesn't say either way. But there is very little different in the box, the depth of the filling on the box or the actual pie itself! I certainly couldn't describe this as deeper filled than the pie was 18 months ago!

What made it worse was that my good friends the Senei had especially checked the Pierate Pie Rankings to pick a pie I hadn't tried - not realising that this was essentially the same pie I had already reviewed in March 2012! Very disappointed to find out I've basically fallen foul of the marketing gimmicks of Sainsbury's but hopefully next time I'll find a genuinely new pie!

RAS

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

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Sainsbury's Spot the Difference"

Best Pies In Suffolk

Review of Suffolk's Best Pies


The land of quintessentially English castles and beautiful Constable countryside scenes; Suffolk already has a lot going for it. But did you know it also has some the best pies in the country? This has been recognised by The Pie Kitchen scooping the title of supreme champion at the British Pie Awards 2013. Like The Pie Kitchen, it is good to see that many of the producers are making ‘craft’ pies on a small scale. This means there is a lot of variety. We have scoured this picturesque county for the best pies on offer and our current leaderboard is below. While it is no surprise that The Pie Kitchen come out on top with their offering (which never compromised on quality) there are plenty of other pies which come highly commended. Many of the local butchers and bakers are serving up excellent pies especially C.A. Palmer’s butcher in Halesworth.

Constable's Painting of Ye Olde Suffolk Pie Wagon

 Suffolk-ate In Pie Leaderboard

Pie ProducerFlavourScore
The Pie Kitchen, Bury St EdmundsChicken, Chantenay Carrot & Bacon6.43
C. A. Palmer & Son, HalesworthSteak & Stilton5.94
Farmcafe, MarlsfordSteak & Red Wine5.77
Hollybush Farm, BuxhallOnion Marmalade Pork Pie5.60
Goulborn, BungayChicken & Ham5.47
Yoxford Antique Centre, YoxfordSam's Apple Pie5.16
Hollybush Farm, BuxhallSteak & Ale4.96
Jackson's Bakery, SaxmundhamSteak & Kidney4.75
Satis House, YoxfordRabbit & Bacon4.29
Country Pies, Capel St MarySteak & Adnams Broadside Ale4.03
Waveney Farm, Wortwell
Steak Mince & Potato3.91

The Pie Kitchen are currently best rated in Suffolk


Pierate is a pie review website searching for 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 "Best Pies In Suffolk"

Sam's Pie Review

Yoxford Antiques Centre - Apple Pie Review

Home made pie. Those few words will invariably bring a smile to my face and I don’t think I am alone in this. There are some people who will say that a mass produced pie cannot taste the same. Take The Pie Kitchen who we reviewed recently, they refuse to stop making their pies at home in the kitchen because they don’t think they can taste the same. I have been looking for pies to add to our list of the best pies in Suffolk. Hence I was delighted to find a chalk board advertising home made ‘Sam’s Apple Pie’ at the Flying Goose Café which is part of Yoxford Antiques Centre in Suffolk. Why they called it ‘Sam’s Apple Pie’ I have no idea and the sign hooked me in by promising free pie if you could guess the cultural reference in the name. Sadly my knowledge of pie didn’t help me out, I had no clue as to the answer, but I decided that pie was worth paying the £3.00 for.


Upon arrival I could tell this was a home made pie straight away. It arrived in good condition but had a slightly irregular shape. The top of the pie seemed to be supported by the apple underneath. This certainly didn’t detract from the taste. The pastry was soft, crumbly shortcrust, just what I like to see with a sweet pie. The apple was firm which gave the pie a wonderful texture. The apple tasted nice on its own but the additional cinnamon and cloves complemented it nicely, if perhaps the clove taste was boardering on too much. All in all the pie slipped down well as a before lunch snack and it was nice to sit outside amongst the random assortment of antiques, it certainly was different to the usual places I eat pies.


Once I finished the pie I went back inside and asked to take a picture of the whole pie. I then learnt that it had been made by the owner of the antique centre, Mr Goose which explained the name of the café. He was pleased to have his photo taken with the pie and explain the local ingredients he had used in it. I certainly hope he doesn’t get too busy running the centre to make the pies himself. The only feedback I would give is that the shape of this pie was somewhat unusual. While the pie certainly had a clear base and lid, the sides weren’t very well defined and it got worryingly thin towards the edge. However, on this occasion I overlooked it (as I hadn’t even realised when eating the pie). My complements go to Mr Goose who proved that you can find great pies in completely unexpected places! Keep your eyes out for pies!


Sam’s Apple Pie (Yoxford Antique Centre, Suffolk, IP17 3JW)
5.16/7

SJL

See where this pie ended up in the our Suffolk Pie Leaderboard and our overall Pie Rankings.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Sam's Pie Review"

Friday, 11 October 2013

An Urban Pie TRAINing exercise

Angus Steak and Lamb, Potato and Mint Pie Reviews from Urban Pie
Urban Pie are one of our many friends in the pie world. We have been there many more times than the 4 previous pie reviews indicate and they were kind enough to also blog about us! They called us 'pie experts' back in our early days of 2010. Aww, thanks guys! Perhaps this kind sentiment was in part down to our acclaim of this 'fast-food' pie format. It was our first taste of such a thing, before we discovered similar such ventures in London.
Pierateers RAS and SJL had a quick visit between changes of trains at Birmingham New Street. The place had new options since SJL’s last visit with new veg and potato wedge options. SJL opted for the Angus Steak and RAS took on the Lamb, Potato and Mint pie. The staff were very friendly which really helped to make a nice atmosphere. They even posed for a Pierate/Urban Pie promo photo.
 
Urban Pie
Staff - and pies! - at Urban Pie, Birmingham
However there was no time to waste, as the Pierateers had trains to catch! They were therefore fully capitalising on the take-away option of these pies. Sealing up their pie boxes, they travelled to the train station and ate their pies on the respective trains they were catching – not the easiest way to eat pie smothered in gravy but sometimes you need to eat pie on the go! Both pies passed their TRAINing exercise with flying colours! Pierateer RAS actually finished his pie off at home – eating the remainder of his pie from the box in front of the Box!
Pie on the trainPie in a box in front of the box


But enough of that – let’s dig into the pies!

Here are SJL's thoughts on the Angus Steak:

Urban Pie Angus Steak Pie
Urban Pie Angus Steak Pie

I am a big fan of the Urban Pie pastry because it does hold its structure well. The pies look fantastic and what I consider proper pies to look like. It also maintains some crispiness on the outside while being gooey on the inside. Unfortunately this time I also had some very thick pieces of pastry on the sides. These were a bit too doughy and hence the pie lost score. I am sure that this isn't representative though as I have had a number of Urban Pies before. The meat and gravy was classic steak pie fare. The taste of beef was intense and while it didn't do anything unique, everything it did do it did very well. Coming as a good value meal it was another Urban Pie experience I really enjoyed. It was just a shame it had been so long between visits!
And the thoughts of RAS on the Lamb, Potato and Mint:
Urban Pie Lamb, Potato and Mint Pie
Urban Pie Lamb, Potato and Mint Pie
The pie was certainly packed to capacity, with crisp top pastry which comes as standard at Urban Pie. The base and side pastry were a little thicker than ideal but it did hold the content in well. The content itself was interesting. Certainly anyone who knows Pierateer RAS well will know he has been banging on about having a “shepherd’s pie pie” for a while now – i.e. a lamb mince and potato Shepherd’s “pie” fully encased in pastry to actually make it a proper pie, not just mince meat covered with potato! Well this was pretty much that idea, with minced lamb, small pieces of potato, a bit of carrot and onion and a minty gravy. A tried and tested flavouring of many a Shepherd’s “pie”, the flavours were very good – slightly too minty in my opinion but certainly flavoursome. However my natural reaction to eating this pie was that it just wasn’t as good having minced lamb than proper meaty chunks of lamb, which you get in the Lamb and Rosemary pie here. Also, the addition of potato to the filling naturally meant there was less capacity for meatilicious content. I applaud their effort at trying something different, but will certainly stick to the Urban Pie Lamb and Rosemary next time I visit!

Angus Steak Pie from Urban Pie
Score: 4.78/7 (SJL)

Lamb, Potato and Mint Pie from Urban Pie
Score: 5.45/7 (RAS)

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

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "An Urban Pie TRAINing exercise"