Monday, 11 August 2014
Pieminister Lighter pies under the knife
Pieminister have added 'Lighter Pies' to their range - seemingly in response to a growing consumer trend towards lower calorie options. The range includes "light as a feta" - a butternut squash, feta and sundried tomato pie, "kooky chook" - a free range British chicken, sweet potato, coconut and chilli pie, and "chickalito" - a free range British chicken and dry cured ham pie. But what happens when a "lighter" pie is literally lighter, yet still costs the same?
Pieminister Pie Review - Chickalito
Today, and also previously, under the Pierate knife is the Chickalito pie. It's a pie that is (literally) surrounded with controversy. With these new lighter pies, Pieminister have made the significant decision to do away with the pastry lid, instead opting for a herb and seed crumb topping. For instance, here the chickalito's chicken, ham, courgette and celeriac filling is topped off with a pine nut, sunflower seed, basil and Parmesan crumb.
Pierateer RAS has already done the service of rating this Pieminister chickalito pie, but since I've eaten it myself I thought I'd weigh in with a few views of my own. I won't go through the details of how the pie tasted because I agree very much with what RAS has already said, but what confuses me about this pie is that, despite weighing only 240g, it costs the same as a regular 270g pie (prices checked on Ocado 05/06/2014: moo pie £3.50, chickalito pie £3.50).
So these Pieminister Lighter pie are literally lighter than their regular counterparts, and hence cost more per gram of pie. But not only that, the Lighter pies are billed as the lower calorie choice. But how much lower calorie are they compared to Pieminister's classic offering? I did a bit of number crunching and munching on the calorie contents of the pies, and it seems that while the Lighter pies do indeed have fewer calories than the classic pies, the difference isn't as great as you might think. For instance, the lighter kooky chook pie has 182 kcal per 100g. In contrast, the classic wildshroom pie has 190 kcal, the moo pie has 200 kcal, and the deerstalker has 204 kcal. The big question is, then, is it really worth sacrificing the pastry lid just to cut out a few calories?
The above thoughts, however, are far less important than the actual question of whether these Pieminister pies are any good. And to find out, I just had to try another pie from the range (I know!). This one is a vegetarian pie called Light As A Feta, and it is a butternut squash, feta and sun-dried tomato pie.
Pieminister Pie Review - Light as a Feta
Retailing at £3.50, this is at the more premium end of the supermarket pie spectrum, and as already discussed, there is some controversy over pricing this 240g pie the same as a regular 270g pie. I bought this pie from a stall, and spooned only a little gravy on the top.
Slicing open the pie, you can see the yummy looking contents complete with a few chunks of feta cheese. However it's impossible to comment on an air-gap since this pie has no lid. Regardless of this, it seems this pie is filled nearly up to the level of the brim of the pastry. The lack of depth to this pie makes is more akin to a quiche that a pie. If the pastry were a little softer, you would be calling this a quiche, really.
That said, the filling was delicious, it really was. It tasted fresh like summer and didn't leave me longing for meat (like some vegetarian options can do!). I really enjoyed the filling - certainly the best part of this pie. The feta cheese was delicious and complemented the butternut squash delightfully.
The addition of poppy seeds to the pastry was a nice touch. However, I felt the pastry was a bit dry for my liking and required gravy for softening. If the pie had a proper lid, I think the filling could have been more moist without the need for additional gravy. In the case of this pie, I think the lack of lid really held this pie back. In my opinion, it's worth sticking a lid on the top to make it a proper pie.
Pieminister "Light As A Feta" pie review
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