Wednesday 16 March 2016

Pie v Pasty debate rumbles on post Pie Awards

I'm sure we've all now had a chance to hear and reflect on the news emulating from Melton Mowbray last Friday regarding the results of the British Pie Awards. The top awards in pie, this year having been held in none other than British Pie Week itself, sent shock waves around the pie world when a pasty was announced as the Supreme Champion at the Award's Lunch on Friday 11th March.

Having been a judge at the British Pie Awards this year, last year and in 2014, plus volunteer helpers at the awards in 2013 and rated well over 500 pies on our pie blog, we know pies - and a pasty most certainly is NOT a pie!

Pierateer RAS British Pie Awards
Pierateer RAS judging the PIES at the British Pie Awards

As stated in our pie dictionary, we define a true pie as "filling fully encased in pastry with clearly defined base, sides and lid." Even putting the fully encased in pastry v top crust issue to one side for a moment, a pasty quite simply does not conform to this or any correct definition of a pie, as it is just one piece of pastry folded over the filling.

British Pie Awards
British Pie Awards 2016
The British Pie Awards themselves even recognise this fact, stating that for the Pasty Class "For the purpose of these Awards a pasty is a single piece of pastry folded over and sealed along its edges to contain either savoury or sweet ingredients (occasionally both) and then baked."

This is not how you would make a pie, and it seems odd to us that such a specific definition of how the pastry should be folded and sealed is necessary in this one particular class if they are in fact just pies like all the other classes. The Telegraph newspaper on Saturday also helpfully indicated there were differences between pasties and pies that covered casing, shape, filling and cooking methods, highlighting the distinction between the two food products.

Having rated over 500 pies on Pierate, there are very few pie experts they could call on with more ex-pie-rience than us when it comes to the pie-fect pie judge! This makes it all the more difficult to accept why there was a pasty category there at all, let alone having a pasty win the whole thing. What next? Sausage Rolls? Slices? Beef Wellingtons? With a Pasty World Championships now set up and doing well, surely it's time for the pasty class at the British Pie Awards to be dropped?

I'm afraid we would have to completely disagree with Matthew O’Callaghan, chairman of the British Pie Awards and Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, who has gone on record as saying "the definition of a pie is a filling totally encased in pastry" as we believe this is not an accurate enough definition and query why - if this was the British Pie Awards' unusual view - there was not a slice category or beef wellington category available. Pies do come in all shapes and sizes, but still maintain a clearly defined base, sides and lid. Once again, a pasty is NOT a pie.

Nice Pie, a pie maker based near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire that we have rated many top pies from and who did well with the pies they entered into the Awards, have even further added to the debate with an entertaining pastry creation they've named the "Nice Piesty", which is an interesting combination that looks like two pasties combined and is filled with classic pasty filling but is made with a base and lid of pastry (rather than one piece of pastry as the British Pie Awards would require) that makes it more pie by definition! It still looks a bit too similar to a pasty for our liking though!!!

Nice Pie's Piesty
Nice Pie's Piesty!

Nice Pie's Piesty
Nice Pie's Piesty cross-section

Many thanks to the Metro and Telegraph for including some of our quotes in their articles on this controversial British Pie Awards decision. Interestingly it was a debate between fully encased and top crust pies that started off this British Pie Week, but it is the pasty v pie debate that has concluded it.

Out of respect to all the genuine pies that were entered into the competition we will be providing a fuller analysis of the British Pie Awards 2016 at a later date, but for now you can re-live the winning pies from previous years in our articles below and our live blogging at the British Pie Awards 2016.

This isn't the first time we've attended the British Pie Awards! Find out more in our other articles here:
Judges in 2015  |  Judges in 2014  |  Helpers in 2013

For any media enquiries relating to this article please contact


The Pierateers are on a mission to find the best pie they can and you can see a list of their pies rated so far in the Pierate Pie Rankings or find pies of a similar flavour on the Pies: Categorised page.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for getting in touch with the Pierateers!