Monday 29 February 2016

Rating Birmingham's Stable pie option

The Stable (Birmingham) “Steak Out” Beef Pie Review

It’s always great to hear about new pie ventures close by to you and “The Stable” in Birmingham city centre had been recommended by a number of colleagues at work. With an interesting mix of Pizza, Pies and Cider it seemed a good opportunity for a social evening with friends from my badminton club (well I’ve got to keep the pie calories at bay somehow!) Would this specialisation in pizza, pies and cider help its pie rating, focusing on the pastry beauties?

The Stable Beef Pie Review
The Stable Beef Pie Review

With a range of four meat and one vegetarian pie on the menu, I went for “The Steak Out” – a beef, stout and horseradish pie. It was nice to see a decent selection of pies on sale, more than your average restaurant menu (bar pie shops, of course!) These pies are apparently hand-crafted in the West Country, from where the company originated, and are sold exclusively throughout the various “The Stable” outlets across the country – with a new London store the latest to be announced this week.

The Steak Out is their beef pie, served with herb roasted potatoes, pickled onion, tomato chutney and a side salad. The meal is nicely presented on a wooden board and each pie is personalised on top with a specific image related to the pie (bull’s horns, in this pie’s case!) At £9.50 this is a quite reasonable price for a filling pie meal, especially in a city centre location just minutes from the main train station, even if the pie could have been slightly bigger for pie-fection at this price.

Overall I was very impressed with this pie meal. Well filled with a meaty content and a nice soft pastry, it did a good job on the 7 Cs of pie rating. There were a few minor faults to comment on but I enjoyed the meal and will certainly be going back to try the other flavours. One noticeable comment was that the pie was a bit pale, especially on the sides and base, which does detract from its colour score. The side pastry held together but was quite soft – which is a lot better than the overly dry thick pastry on a lot of pies I’ve rated, but could have been a bit crisper. The lid was a bit more golden and crispy, which I enjoyed much more, but the softness made it tricky to pick up by hand. It therefore did very well to hold in the meaty content, which you can see on the cross-section was very well filled to capacity. There was a bit of an air gap but in general this pie scored well for capacity.

The Stable Beef Pie Review
The Stable Beef Pie Review Cross-Section
The content itself was nice and flavoursome, with a good meaty taste. There was certainly plenty of meat in the pie, even if one of the pieces of beef was a bit chewy. Overall the filling was moist but could have done with a little more gravy filling in my opinion, with some of the meat a little dry upon chewing. But the flavour of the sauce was very nice and it was a great pie I’d happily order again - although next time I’ll be looking to rate another one of their fine looking pies! A definite Pierate Recommended pie to add to our Best pies in Birmingham article!

Score: 5.96/7
[Colour 5.5, Capacity 6.5, Consistency 6, Condition 5.75, Chewiness 5.75, Cheapness 5.75, Content 6.5]


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find 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 "Rating Birmingham's Stable pie option"

Saturday 20 February 2016

What A Genius Idea!

Genius - Pie Review

One of the most common gluten free brands available is Genius. In the last year or so they have expanded and have lots of products in the frozen aisle of most supermarkets including pies(!) for a price normally around £3.50 for a pack of 2 pies. It is still much more pricy that an equivalent gluten containing pie but it is great that this convenient pie option is now available, a few years ago it was a very different story. Despite the price I must admit I do quite often have a pack in the freezer and have eaten them since they have been available. I think the recipe for the chicken pie changed some time after launch and in my opinion it is no longer as good as it was. The beef is certainly my favourite. Whilst they are both tasty they are sadly a bit lacking in meat, especially considering the relatively high price for a small pie. I would have hoped for a pie packed with content. The Steak ones are perhaps slightly better than the DS chicken pie I previously reviewed (now known as Schar) so they are now my favourite Gluten Free meat pies available in the supermarket. I have now noticed that Genius are also doing a similar sized box of 2 apple pies but I am yet to try this. I have also heard rumour of a vegetable curry pie but haven't seen it in the shops.

The pies are made in Yorkshire by Chapel Foods on behalf of Genius. The pies have been so successful that Genius have recently bought the whole of Chapel Foods. It is unclear whether they will continue to make the non-gluten free pies but they have stated they will increase the range and distribution of the gluten free ones which sounds good to me! The breakdown of the scores for the Chicken & Steak pies are below.

Genius Steak PieGenius Steak Pie


Colour – 4.0 out of 7 - This pie was matt, not golden. They could use a glaze, but it did go brown after leaving it in the oven for longer than they said.

Condition – 5.0 out of 7 These pies generally don't come out of its case that well (but it is gluten free). Not quite as mass produced in appearance as the DS ones but doesn't look as good.

Cheapness – 5.5 out of 7 - £3.50 seems slightly expensive given the lack of meat. £3 would seem more reasonable but I have given it a good score because it is comparable to other Gluten Free products. Different qualities to the DS ones but come out about the same overall.

Capacity – 3.5 out of 7 - The pies are not all that big being quite shallow. Gluten Free pies do tend to be smaller than other pies for some reason. I have often found not much meat in these pies so a relatively low score. The pictures are a bit deceptive, I have generally found less content than it looks like in the pictures.

Chewiness – 6.0 out of 7 - The steak filling was not chewy, the pastry was slightly chewy but not crumbly which is good pastry for gluten free. It was almost like puff pastry, a bit gooey on sides.

Content – 6.5 out of 7 – The beef was tasty but not much meat. In general I have found less meat than in the chicken pie but this is made up for because the flavour is much better. In fact the flavour is fantastic in these steak pies, rich and meaty. Not just a generic steak flavour.

Consistency – 5.0 out of 7 - The gravy is okay, it wasn't too runny. It helps the pie slip down well. I have eaten quite a lot of these pies and they are consistently good.

Steak (Genius)

Chicken & Gravy

In general the chicken pies are very much the same as the steak versions but with different filling. The meat is equally as tender as the steak version so it is only the content which I have given a different score.

Genius Chicken & Gravy PieGenius Chicken & Gravy Pie

Content – 4 out of 7 - The filling does not taste anywhere near as good as the beef version. There is still not a lot of meat despite chicken being much cheaper than beef. I feel that the recipe for these pies has changed since they launched. They used to have quite a generic chicken gravy flavour, which was nothing exciting but nice enough. Now the flavour has become a bit odd and I don't like it all that much. Perhaps the change was in an effort to make the flavour distinctive but I think they should have kept it simple!

Chicken & Gravy (Genius)

continue reading "What A Genius Idea!"

Thursday 18 February 2016

Countdown to the British Pie Awards 2016

British Pie Awards 2014 - Church
The home of the British Pie Awards

The British Pie Awards are firmly etched in our pie calendar. Held in St Mary’s Church in the heart of Melton Mowbray, it is a spectacular setting in the home of the pork pie. However this year is extra special, as the top awards in pie are being held in none other than British Pie Week itself, with the judging taking place on Wednesday 9th March and the Award's Lunch taking place on Friday 11th March.

And with them once again expecting over 100 judges to rate over 800 pies from across Britain and beyond, you won't be surprised to know we've been called up again this year, having been a judge at the British Pie Awards last year and in 2014, plus volunteer helpers at the awards in 2013.

Yes, following Pierateer Tim judging in 2014 and Pierateer Sam judging in 2015, we have been called in again to lend our pie rating skills to the com-pie-tition, alongside TV chef Andy Bates, food critic Charles Campion and food writer Rachel Green. And while the British Pie Awards use a significantly different set of criteria to us, rather than the 7 Cs of pie rating that we have used to rate 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 isn't the first time we've attended the British Pie Awards! Oh no! Find out more in our other articles here:
Judges in 2015  |  Judges in 2014  |  Helpers in 2013

British Pie Awards 2015 Judges
Judges at the British Pie Awards, including Pierateer Sam

Last year was an exciting year for Pierate at the British Pie Awards, with over 1,000 of you viewing our live blogging from the pie event of the year, alongside over 2,000 viewers of our British Pie Awards review and photo archive! And this year we will once again be covering the event live, with Pierateers Sam and Tim joining this year's judge Pierateer Rob, who you may recognise from TV shows "The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice" and "Rip Off Britain: Food".

Pierate Rip Off Britain
Pierate on Rip Off Britain
Have you seen British Pie Awards 2014 winner Graham and our very own Pierateer Rob talk football pies on BBC One's hit show Rip Off Britain? If not, click here to find out more!

So what have we got to look forward to at the British Pie Awards 2016?

Well... following the success of our Countdown to British Pie Week, here's our Countdown timer to the British Pie Awards 2016, happening on Wednesday 9th March at 11am!

Of course if you are a pie producer, you need to remember you only have until Monday 22nd February to make your application! Don't miss out on this fantastic way to promote your pies! (Who knows... it might lead to a review on our world leading pie review website, like our review of 2015 Supreme Champion Great North Pie Co!)

A Pie Fit For The Queen!

Bridal Pies Review British Pie Awards 2015
The amazing Speciality Class "Bridal Pies"
at British Pie Awards 2015
We're looking forward to once again seeing what pie producers come up with in the Speciality Class, following an amazing selection of entries in last year's Speciality Class of Bridal Pies!

This year we're hoping for some royally good entries, with the Speciality Class being A Pie Fit For The Queen! Only the best can be served to the Queen, so we look forward to seeing how entrants take on the challenge this year!

Which pie company will get a "Roasting"?!

MyPie London have got their entry in!
We're delighted to hear that our top pie producer of 2015 - London-based "MyPie" - have got their entry in for the British Pie Awards 2016! Chris' pies have received some exceptional ratings on the 7 Cs of pie rating, including a top 3 rated pie with 6.61/7 for his Steak and Ale pie and a batch of Pierate Highly Recommended pies in our most recent MyPie reviews!

Also the Russians are back, with Cossack Cuisine looking to follow up their Bronze Award last year with even more entries this year!

This follows on from the first Dutch pie entries last year, as The Pie Shop in the Netherlands entered two pies into the British Pie Awards 2015, which we were fortunate to get our hands on too and review!

We're also excited to hear that the British Pie Awards have teamed up with Roast Restaurant in London, who are on board as sponsors of the Supreme Champion Award, plus have agreed to have one of the winning pies listed on their menu. This is fantastic and a great opportunity for a pie producer and we can't wait to sample it in London when the winner is on their menu!

And if you want a flavour of the British Pie Awards check out our interview with Andy Bates last year, who you will recognise from the Food Network TV Channel. Andy was compere of the British Pie Awards Lunch last year, which involved announcing the class winners and handing out the trophies on results day.

You won't be surprised to hear we will once again be covering the event and providing regular tweet updates from Melton Mowbray as we once again get involved in the greatest pie show on Earth, so check back on Wednesday 9th March for more pies than you can possible imagine!


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!

continue reading "Countdown to the British Pie Awards 2016"

Monday 15 February 2016

Anglo-Scotch Pie

Loaf & Larder (made by South England Pastries) - Scotch Pie Review

We travel far and wide to find the most unusual pies to review. A recent trip took me to the end of the world, or at least a garden centre called World's End. I know this garden centre near Wendover, Buckinghamshire very well. It used to be a normal place but it has since ballooned into more of a vaguely-gardening related mega centre. There used to be one small cafe/restaurant but now it has a huge cafeteria style restaurant and a Costa coffee which are both somehow still busy. Where did all the new customers come from?! Anyway this is possibly a measure that I feel I am starting to get old, I can't deal with things changing. One good change however is that they now have let some space to deli company 'Loaf & Larder'. It isn't really my kind of place, it looks a bit like a farm shop but nothing is local so what's the point? However, what I did like was the massive range of pies. The primary supplier is Real Pie Company. We have previously really enjoyed their pies so much so that they currently occupy number 8 spot in our all time rankings! It was a great opportunity to indulge in some of these top ranked pies but something else caught my eye. A small pile of Scotch pies, looking somewhat out of place next to the bigger, premium pie which were adorned in flaky pastry. This isn't really the kind of place I expected to find a Scotch pies because they are not normally sold as premium products, even the best ones seem to be quite cheap. Perhaps because Scotch pies are less common in the South of England this is classed as an 'exotic' pie?! When I asked who made the pie I was surprised when they said it was made by South England Pastries I was expecting a more Northern company.

If you regularly read Pierate you might realise I have a bit of a facination with Scotch Pies and I am always on the look out for pies to add to our list of the best Scotch pies. Thus, I couldn't resist taking the plunge with this one. However, I should have more carefully checked the price first. This quite small pie set me back £2.99!!! Yes, some of the other pies cost a lot more, but they had the premium ingredients to justify it. As far as I could tell Scotch pie would not be a lot different to the ones you can get in Morrisons for 69p. It had better be good to justify the price.

Loaf & Larder Scotch Pie

Fortunately there were some things about this pie which lived up to expectations. It was a classic Scotch pie shape and browned up really well due to a good glaze. The filling was really tasty, and was very moist. There was a great fat content which oozed through the pie, not everyone's cup of tea but a must for a good Scotch pie. It had a rich beef flavour, complemented well by a bit of a peppery kick. Sadly though the pastry wasn't great which was ironic given that the company name indicates a specialism in pastry. Perhaps I over cooked it but the pastry was too hard and slightly chewy which was a bit odd. It also tasted a little doughy. It wasn't terrible but not good enough at this price.

South England Scotch Pie
South England Scotch Pie

It was nice to see a Scotch pie in England but the price would put me off getting it again even if they are more difficult to find in England. It wasn't consistently good enough to stand out from the supermarket competition and there are better premium options available in England (such as Piebury Corner). I contacted South England Pastries afterwards who confirmed that they make this pie. They said "all the pies we make for Loaf and Larder are made in England except for the Scotch Pie which is made at our Scottish site" so perhaps not such an English Scotch pie after all! Still it's easier than the 1000 mile round trip that some do in order to get hold of genuine Scotch pies!

Beef Scotch Pie (Loaf & Larder/South England Pastries)
Score: 4.26/7
[Condition 4.30, Colour 5.50, Cheapness 2.30, Capacity 4.00, Chewiness 3.50, Content 5.50, Consistency 4.70]

continue reading "Anglo-Scotch Pie"

Thursday 11 February 2016

Earn Your Crust

Crusty Pie Company - Wild Boar & Mushroom Pie Review

I can't believe how long it has taken me to write a review of the Crusty Pie Company. I would say they were one of the first gourmet pie companies I ever came across due to regularly attending Henley Show where they normally seem to have a stall. They stood out to me due to marketing their pies with modern, upmarket branding rather than promoting the pie simply as a traditional product. Nowadays there are plenty of gourmet pies to choose from so how would Crusty Pies fare against the new competition?

Some of my family attended the most recent show and I was lucky enough to be brought back a Wild Boar & Mushroom pie. I was looking forward to it having had a few wild boar pies over the years including some very good ones. (With a great version by Plenty reviewed just last week!) This pie was £3.50 so about average for a good sized, individual pie.... as long as it is a top quality one!

This pie stood out in that it was more like a traditional pork pie but I think it was designed to have hot (or at least that's what I did). It had a classic pork pie appearance, nothing special but it looked pleasingly robust and also promised to hold quite a lot of filling.

crusty pie company wild boar pie

I couldn't wait to get started, digging my knife in I found it was hot-water crust pastry so it was crusty by name and crusty by nature. It had the thick crunchy pasty that you would expect a pork pie to have. Having been heated the pastry was nice and soft in the middle which provided a great contrast in texture to the crunchy outside. So far so good, but would they be able to fill the pie with delicious content or would they need to cut corners given that wild boar is a more expensive meat choice? I need not have doubted, the content was delicious despite the choice of ground meat. It was very well seasoned and was moist even though there wasn't any gravy (similar to a good Scotch Pie). What really stood out with this pie was that it was extremely satisfying, it normally takes a lot of pie to satisfy me but this one managed it on it's own. I didn't find many downsides with this pie but one criticism I would give was that some of the meat was chewy despite it being in very small pieces. This did make me think that it might not have been the finest cuts of meat used, but hey, if it tastes good and is well filled I can't complain too much!

crusty pie company wild boar pie

Overall I can see why the Crusty Pie Company have been going for a while now. They really earn their crust with services to pie! Now their work is finally being recognised with the 'Pierate Recommended' award that they deserve.

Wild Boar (Crusty Pie Company)
Score: 5.92/7
[Condition 5.75, Colour 6.00, Cheapness 5.50, Capacity 6.50, Chewiness 5.40, Content 6.60, Consistency 5.70]

continue reading "Earn Your Crust"

Monday 8 February 2016

British Pie Week 2016 Pierate Countdown

The countdown to British Pie Week has begun!

British Pie Week 2016 - which runs from Monday 7th March to Sunday 13th March - is now just 4 weeks away and we're busy at Pierate HQ making our final pre-pie-rations for the big event! And the exciting news is that this year the British Pie Awards will be happening in British Pie Week too!

British Pie Week Pierate
British Pie Week 2016 is from 7th to 13th March!
Some of you may have spotted recently that 23rd January is America's National Pie Day - where Americans spend a whole day celebrating the pastry beauties.

But in Britain this is simply not enough! We can't compress all our pie-excitement into one day! Oh no! We need a whole week to celebrate and enjoy the wonder of pie, which is why we are proud backers and - some would argue - the strongest advocates of British Pie Week! Yes, it's a week dedicated to pie!

Some of you may well have come across British Pie Week before, which has in fact been around since 2007 as the ingenious marketing spin off of pastry company "Jus-Rol" - and they have managed to bag the lucrative web domain to encourage pie makers up and down the land to get involved. We're also pleased to see they're once again taking British Pie Week a bit more seriously this year by maintaining a dedicated @BritPieWeek twitter account! And we certainly can't deny we have benefited from the ease of picking up some quality Jus-Rol pastry from the supermarket to make some homemade pies in the past!

But what we at Pierate aim to do is go beyond just promoting some pastry, as good as it is, and promote THE PIE!

That's why on Pierate you won't just find an encouragement for you to make a pie this British Pie Week - though we certainly do encourage you do! We don't just suggest a reci-pie or two - though we plan to do that as well! We don't even just encourage you to go out and eat a pie (or two) during British Pie Week. We go above and beyond!

British Pie Week Pierate Pie
The Pierate Logo Pie made for us in British Pie Week 2014!
Find out more about this Nice Pie here.
We aim to be the pie experts you turn to for all your pie rating and eating needs during British Pie Week and beyond! With over 500 pies rated and reviewed on our unique 7 Cs pie rating system, we commend pies to you, tell you which ones to avoid, and give you the low down on what we think makes the perfect pie!

We'll also once again be lending our services to the British Pie Awards as we help judge the pies on 9th March. So whatever pie (or pies!) you enjoy in British Pie Week, we hope it's a good one that rates well on the 7 Cs of pie rating! If you need any ins-pie-ration, you can of course see the hundreds of pies we've rated on our pie blog via our Pie Rankings or our Pies Categorised!

Why not watch our short video clip to find out how you can get involved in British Pie Week too! For more ins-pie-ration see our #PiePledge article!


During British Pie Week 2014 we Pierateers consumed a quite incredible 55 pies and you can see the breakdown right here! There were so many highlights that we had to do a whole day-by-day account of it, including a Python pie, a day of just eating apple pie and Pierateer SJL eating 21 pies - one for every meal of British Pie Week.

In fact, Pierateer SJL didn't just eat a pie for every meal but he proved that you can eat pie and lose weight!!! Yes, we can hardly believe it either!

In 2015 we raised the bar even higher by consuming a whopping 71 pies between 2 Pierateers! This included a Pieathon (seeing how long we could just eat pies for) and Rob eating pie for 67% of his diet that week!

Of course you know where to come for all the latest pie news this year, but why not reminisce about the 71 pies we ate for British Pie Week 2015?!

British Pie Week 2015 Diary:

Day One – Monday 2nd March 2015 (15 pies eaten, total 15)
Day Two – Tuesday 3rd March 2015 (13.5 pies eaten, total 28.5)

Day Three – Wednesday 4th March 2015 (18.5 pies eaten, total 47)

Day Four - Thursday 5th March 2015 (10 pies eaten, total 57)

Day Five - Friday 6th March 2015 (4 pies eaten, total 61)

Day Six - Saturday 7th March 2015 (4 pies eaten, total 65)

Day Seven - Sunday 8th March 2015 (6 pies eaten, total 71)

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find 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 "British Pie Week 2016 Pierate Countdown"

Sunday 7 February 2016

Plenty to Shout About

Plenty Pies - Pie Reviews

Since moving to Gloucestershire a couple of years ago I have been trying to build up my knowledge of where the best local pies can be found. It has been a bit remiss of me to only just review Plenty Pies now. The company, based near Nailsworth, have done well at the British Pie Awards the last couple of years including winning the award for best chicken pie in 2014. Now, having tried a few of their pies I am going to summarise my thoughts with help from our vegetarian Pierateer ARL who will give the veggie version a fair review.

Plenty was started by Marc and Kate Birch in 2010 and they have adopted a policy of baking six different flavours each week from a repertoire which is said to have include 150 different recipes. It allows them to tailor their fillings based on the seasons with creamier, lighter fillings for the summer and stock based recipes for the winter. This method of varying the pie fillings has been adopted by a few top pie producers recently (MyPie and Great North Pie Company spring to mind) and works well. It keeps the pies interesting for their regular customers as well as allowing them to use the tasty, seasonal produce available. They are also committed to making things themselves by hand. All this adds up to a unique pie experience.

Their pies are popular locally and are widely available in markets and farm shops. I have picked up their pies in various places in Gloucestershire including Gloucester Christmas Market, Over Farm Market and Burford Garden Centre.

All of these pies came in the same kind of pastry case. They were all very well presented with sprinklings of herbs or seeds which signified the flavours. The appearance was subtle but effective. I thought that the size of each pie was good for an individual pie but it is about the size you would expect in this price range (approx £3.99). Whilst in general I enjoyed the flavour of the pastry, it was a bit more crumbly that I would ideally like, some of them did start to break after a trip home in a bag but perhaps I should have been more careful! The Squab pie in particular suffered from the journey home on my bike (sorry about that Plenty). The crumbly texture of the pastry certainly helped prevent it from being stodgy.

Gloucestershire Squab Pie
Gloucestershire Squab Pie

Gloucestershire Squab Pie

First up I am going to review the interesting Gloucestershire Squab pie I picked up at Over Farm Market (who incidentally have a great range of Plenty pies as well as their own). It is nice to see this traditional local flavour being used. Although a squab is a baby pigeon, in the South West this pie usually contains mutton and apple. It is thought that this unusual combination may recreate the flavour of the baby pigeon which is said to be slightly fruity. I was very pleased that Plenty were willing to try something a bit different with this pie as I really enjoyed it. It was delightfully different with a wonderful spicy/fruity taste complementing the rich meaty flavours very well. I was surprised that I enjoyed this pie so much as I am normally not so keen on mixing my sweet and savoury flavours, but the balance in this pie worked so well. Given that I eat a lot of regular pie flavours, such as steak and ale, it was really nice to have something different. The pie was well filled with plenty of meat. Overall it does enough to gain a Pierate 'Highly Recommended' award by scoring over 6 out of 7. It was £3.99 which is around the upper end I think I would want to pay for a gourmet pie but it justified the price.

Gloucestershire Squab (Plenty)
Score: 6.04/7

[Condition 6.25, Colour 6.50, Cheapness 5.50, Capacity 6.00, Chewiness 5.75, Content 6.25, Consistency 6.00]


Next up, I got 3 pies for £10 from Gloucester Christmas Market. It was a great market, with plenty of pies on offer (including Brockleby's who we have previously reviewed) but the display of pies on the Plenty stall stood out to me. I got a Wild Boar pie, a Venison pie and a vegetarian 'Veggiestan' pie. The Wild Boar was my favourite. It had a meaty flavour but also the addition of vegetables made it a little different to most wild boar pies. Something was adding nicely to the flavour of the boar and I wasn't sure what it was, I thought the pepper helped and also I wondered if there was a bit of a tomato. There seemed to be a fair bit of tasty onion. Whatever they had added, the flavour was distinctive and worked really well for me. The wild boar was minced but there was still enough to get your teeth into. The potato was quite firm rather than mushy (as it often is in a pie). One downside was that the pastry was a bit overly thick at the base of this pie but it didn't stop it scoring highly and just about edging it over the Squab pie as my favourite of all the Plenty pies that I have tried.

Wild Boar (Plenty)
Score: 6.15/7

[Condition 6.25, Colour 6.50, Cheapness 5.50, Capacity 6.00, Chewiness 5.80, Content 6.60, Consistency 6.40]


Despite looking superficially similar when I cut these pies open, for me the venison didn't work anywhere near as well as the wild boar. It went down more of the standard route you would expect for a pie containing game meat. It had a really rich, meaty sauce. I am not sure what it was but the flavours were a little too strong for me. There was quite a powerful onion-type taste which I thought was shallot. It also seemed to have a slightly fruity flavour competing with everything else. I also got a very slight sour note to the filling, somewhat like vinegar or alcohol. Overall none of these were bad flavours and I did enjoy the pie, but it didn't quite do it for me for some reason. It contained big chunks of tasty meat which gave it some bite. In that respect it was probably better than the wild boar. It was a shame for this pie that I was eating it at the same time as the wild boar which slightly overshadowed it. On it's own it is still a great pie.

Venison (Plenty)
Score: 5.52/7

[Condition 6.25, Colour 6.50, Cheapness 5.50, Capacity 6.00, Chewiness 5.80, Content 4.20, Consistency 4.40]


Plenty pies
Venison (left) and Boar (right) pies

Plenty boar and venison pies

Just to demonstrate the full breadth of their repertoire, plenty have also got a Salmon pie which I picked up from Burford Garden Centre (another place that tends to have an excellent range of pies, sometimes stocking our number 1 ranked pie by Paul's pies). The colour on this pie looks a bit paler but I think this was primarily down to the lighting, it still had an attractive appearance and I managed to squash this one less than the others! Again this was a well filled pie with no air gap. As is usual for a fish pie there was plenty of filler in there as well as the fish. As you might expect, there was some potato but I was pleased to see the interesting addition of beans. It was nice to find that the filling was moist and slipped down very well. If anything, it slipped down a little too well. As is common with fish pies they don't have as much bite. The flavours were quite delicate, especially compared to the other Plenty pies. On balance I think it could have used a bit more salmon to give it enough of a fishy taste. Overall though this was a tasty pie and it can be tricky to get a 'proper' fish pie to work (by proper I mean encased in pastry rather than topped with mash). I commend Plenty for trying and this is a nice, lighter pie to have in the summer. Another high score.

Salmon (Plenty)
Score: 5.44/7

[Condition 6.25, Colour 6.25, Cheapness 5.50, Capacity 6.00, Chewiness 4.80, Content 4.80, Consistency 4.50]


Plenty salmon pie
Salmon pie

Plenty salmon pie

Last but not least we have the 'Veggiestan' pie review by vegetarian Pierateer ARL;

I overcooked this pie a little which created a dry pastry, but it still had a good colour. It was completely packed full of filling (chickpea and vegetable), with a slightly spicy flavour- almost a sweet and sour tang. It was a very nice blend. The content was unusual- it was sort of like a fajita in pie form or some other Mexican inspired dish, which I really liked. Many vegetarian pies can be a bit bland so this was a great plus point for it. As for its condition, early in the oven the pastry slit open, however no content spilled out, luckily. This could have been because I was cooking it in an aga so the temperature was too hot, or because it came all the way from Gloucester Christmas Market (I live in Buckinghamshire!), but regardless, it loses points for this. Although the gravy/sauce was nice, it was quite thick so didn’t soften up the pastry. Despite it’s prolonged time in the oven the carrot was still crunchy. This was fab as I HATE soggy carrot, and I don’t know anyone who does. It is one of the things that makes the traditional cottage/shepherds ‘pie’ a disappointment. The chickpeas were also on the crunchier side, which while ok, were a little bit too hard for my taste. Overall, the pie contained a good selection of vegetables including peas, onion, green pepper, carrot and tomato.

Veggiestan (Plenty)
Score: 4.86/7

[Condition 4.00, Colour 6.00, Cheapness 4.00, Capacity 5.00, Chewiness 3.00, Content 6.00, Consistency 6.00]

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