Saturday 17 December 2016

Higgidy pies to celebrate International Pierate Day

Slow Cooked Venison and Red Wine and Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Pie Reviews from Higgidy

Higgidy Pie Review
Higgidy Pie Review
Not for the first time on reaching a big occasion on the world’s leading pie reviewing blog we’ve gone to a tried and tested top pie producer in Higgidy’s pies to celebrate! You may not remember but several years ago back on 7th July 2013 we rated a Slow Cooked Steak & Red Wine Pie from Higgidy to celebrate our 200th pie review on Pierate, and today I’m reviewing the two pies I had on International Pierate Day 2016 (which was our 7th Birthday Pie-rty!)

A lot has happened on Pierate since that 200th pie review almost three and a half years ago – namely almost another 400 pie reviews plus multiple TV and radio ap-pie-rances! But they have also in the Higgidy kitchen too, with a wider range and much more regular availability showing the growth the company have made too. I mentioned in my 200th review that it was more like me having to sail the seven stores than the seven seas to find a Higgidy pie back in 2013, before getting my hands on one of their pies! But for International Pierate Day 2016 I was able to pick up two new Higgidy pies at my local Sainsbury’s for £3.70 each, which is just 21p more than what I paid back in 2013 (though the pies are still the same size at 250g).

On the shelf, one of the things that really stands out is the attractive packaging, with a number of intriguing features including the care put into selecting only the best ingredients (in the case of the chicken pie, even stating which farm it is sourced from!) and a cheeky see through plastic glimpse of the pie in question. It is clear from the packaging and the quality of the pie when eating that these people clearly love their pies! The box states the pie was “lovingly made in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex” and I very much appreciate the care and attention put into it. The pie holds together well, has good content and interesting flavours. With 4 pies already scoring over 5/7 (thus being “Pierate Recommended”) Higgidy know how to make a good pie! So how did these two flavours rate?

Higgidy Venison Pie Review
Higgidy Venison Pie

Slow Cooked Venison and Red Wine Pie

This “special guest” pie – available for a limited time only – was a nice addition to the Higgidy family, from which we had not had a venison pie before. Regarding the content, the meat was nice and tender from it being slow cooked and, while a bit lacking at just 22%, it did give a nice flavour to the pie. The first few bites were slightly dominated by the chestnut mushrooms and the cranberry and apricot stuffing does add a surprising sweetness to the underside of the crisp puff pastry lid, however these flavours do combine to give the pie quite a unique and seasonal flavour.

However the biggest surprise was hint of dark chocolate, which certainly added some additional richness to sauce. While not really my cup to tea, I can understand it adds an extra texture to the pie sauce and would appeal to those who like something quirky in their pie fillings. It does however dominate the flavour a lot, so not ideal if it doesn’t take your fancy. The capacity was a bit lacking too, so while a good content the air gap does bring the score down a bit.

The Higgidy pastry, as ever, is very good quality. The pastry is a golden colour and perfectly held together. Fully encased with short crust pastry sides and base and a buttery puff pastry lid, it is a classic example of pie pastry done well, holding together and giving you a good crunch on top while holding the moist filling. The puff pastry lid, in particular, was very nice. I commend them for something new and it is certainly not lacking in flavour, once again being awarded Pierate Recommended status.

Higgidy Slow Cooked Venison and Red Wine Pie
Score: 5.43/7
[Colour 6/7; Consistency 5/7; Cheapness 4/7; Chewiness 5.75/7; Condition 6/7; Content 6/7; Capacity 5.25/7]

Higgidy Chicken Pie Review
Higgidy Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Pie Review

Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Pie

Similarly the pastry was very good for the chicken, bacon and mushroom pie and a highlight of this pie. Golden and crisp, it complimented the filling well. Again the meat content could have been a bit higher, at just 19% chicken and 7% bacon, but it was once again the mushrooms that slightly dominated the flavour, with three different types of mushroom in this pie (making up 16% of the pie!) The creamy sauce was pleasant and complimented the pie well, again leading to a Pierate Recommended status pie.

Higgidy Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Pie
Score: 5.5/7
[Colour 6/7; Consistency 5.5/7; Cheapness 4/7; Chewiness 5.75/7; Condition 6/7; Content 6/7; Capacity 5.25/7]

In summary, Higgidy have once again produced two recommended pies. While both could have been a bit bigger and had more meat content for the price (£3.70 for a 250g pie), they were certainly both being sold as and delivered as a pie on the top end of the supermarket range. A bit more meat would have boosted them ever so slightly higher in the rankings, as neither were at full capacity when you cut into the pies, but in general two pies worth getting your hands on!


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