As a nation, we’re HUGE fans of pies.
Whether sweet or savoury, Brits can enjoy a pie at any occasion. However, there is much debate over what actually constitutes as a ‘pie’. In fact, it is such a hot topic that there was even a petition to the UK government last year, signed by over 5,000 people, in an attempt to get a pie classed as “a baked dish of fruit, or meat and vegetables, typically with a top and base of pastry.” This would exclude any casserole dishes with a pastry lid as the pastry needs to completely encase the filling. They were lobbying for any dishes without a pastry base to be stripped of the name of ‘pie’!
It’s a pretty extreme and enthusiastic approach to labeling the traditional pie, but it just goes to show how in love Brits are with their pies! It’s a great dish to have steaming hot on a cold and blustery winter’s eve to nourish your tired bones, or as an easy cold meal for a summer’s picnic.
Do you like your pie rustic with crispy golden pastry, oozing with thick gravy and crammed full of tender meats? Or perhaps you like your pie cold with thick wedges of pork and boiled egg encased in hard robust pastry? Or does your sweet tooth take over and get you reaching for traditional English apple pie or pecan pie?
We love them all and have compiled our favourite pies to share with you. You could try baking one from scratch or buy one from British Corner Shop!
1. The Pork Pie
What a classic. How can you be a fan of pies, but NOT like the Pork Pie?
This meat pie is an incredibly traditional British pie. It’s usually eaten cold, and consists of a thick and crumbly hot water crust pastry encasing a pork filling. The pork is roughly chopped, seasoned and moistened slightly with pork jelly that lines the pastry sides.
Dig into the thick and generous pastry and sink your teeth into the hearty and tender pork. Enjoy with chutney or by itself.
2. Lamb Shanks Pie
If you are feeling inspired by the thought of pies, then hit the kitchen and try making one from scratch! There are so many different meats that you can stuff into a pie, it can be quite a problem deciding on your filling!
Lamb shanks can really be good value and make a succulent pie. A good lamb shank pie should have plenty of delicious seasoning with herbs, such as, rosemary and thyme, and a good splash of gravy.
Try this great Lamb Shank pie recipe!
3. Gala Pie
Very similar to the Pork pie, the Gala pie has a little twist to it to make it extra tasty. In each slice of the pork pie, the Gala has a perfect half slice of boiled egg nestled in the centre of the meat. It’s a mystery how the bakers manage to arrange the ingredients to look so picture perfect when the pie is sliced up, but don’t question it – just scoff the lot!
It still has the same thick crust pastry encasing the rough cut pork filling. It has been claimed that the Gala pie is the king of the picnic blanket, so do be sure to get some for summer! Either indulge in a glorious slice of Jon Thorner’s Gala slice, or try making your own! You can see the recipe here.
It’s a hearty slice of a classic British dish and must be tasted!
4. Sea Bass Puff Pastry Pie
A fish pie is another classic that must be eaten! Mix in some prawns to the dish to add to the fish theme, and use a few teaspoons of tarragon to enhance the Sea Bass.
Using puff pastry is a great way to make a perfect pie quickly, plus you can have a bit of fun with the decoration and get creative with the pie lid. See Jamie Oliver’s fantastic fishy pie recipe here, and have a go making your own fishy fish-shaped pie.
5. Fray Bentos Pie
It’s all very well giving you recipes upon recipes of delicious home cooked pies, but sometimes one just doesn’t have the time to slave over a hot oven! But does that mean you have to go without pie? Of course not!
In today’s modern society, we now can get a pie straight from the tin. It sounds space age, but all you have to do is crank open the tin of the Fray Bentos pie, and pop it into the oven. The pastry cooks and turns a golden brown, giving you a pie that tastes like it was freshly made.
Top favorites are the Fray Bentos Steak and Kidney pie, the Steak and Ale pie and the Chicken and Mushroom. There’s a huge selection so do check them out and perhaps stock up on a few emergency pies for the kitchen cupboard. You never know when you might fancy a warming pie!
6. Chicken and Leek Pie
This brings back memories of our childhood where mum or dad would bring out a delicious pie with shimmering heat emitting off the crispy pastry surface. The smell of the chicken and creamy sauce is sure to get everyone running to the dining table, and the added leeks is a sneaky way to get veggies into your child’s dinner!
It’s a proper classic pie that has been made for hundreds of years. Substitute puff pastry for filo pastry for a healthier pie, or go for a classic chicken pie with shortcrust pastry! Try this perfect chicken pie recipe, and see if you can make the best chicken pie in the world!
7. Bramley Apple Pie
There’s nothing better than getting to rummage through the shopping bags to find that box of Mr Kipling Bramley Apple Pies that you bought. These small pies are deep and sweet – a perfect snack!
Containing real chunks of Bramley apple, Mr Kipling Bramley Apple Pies are indeed exceedingly good. They can be eaten cold, or heated up and enjoyed with custard or cream if you are feeling particularly naughty. These delicious pastry pies are made using melt-in-the-mouth pastry, complete with a pastry apple on the top and a dusting of sugar to add the finishing touch.
You can have a go at making your own Bramley Apple Pie, but we would really struggle baking an apple pie that could rival Mr Kipling’s small, yet perfectly formed, pies.
8. Lemon Meringue Pie
To get a lemon meringue pie right is pretty hard. It’s all about avoiding that soggy bottom and keeping the pastry crumbly! And of course the filling has to be the right consistency, and then you need to whisk the meringue to perfection. Like we said, it’s pretty hard.
The baked pie is usually made with shortcrust pastry that lines the bottom of the pie. The lemon custard filling is topped with meringue which can be smoothed on, or styled to be a spiky topping. It looks fancy, tastes refreshing and when you get that buttery biscuit base right, it tastes divine!
Try out this lemon meringue pie here.
9. Pukka Pies
The English word ‘pukka’ means genuine, and Pukka Pies really lives up to their name.
Pukka Pies began back in the 1960’s in Leicestershire, launching with their ever favourite Steak and Kidney Pie. Encased in a buttery pastry, the steak and kidney filling is moist and covered in a rich, meaty gravy.
Soon after the first pie was launched, the Chicken and Mushroom pie was created and those recipes are still used today! Pukka Pies are a classic British dish that you can savour on their own as a hearty snack or served with potatoes and vegetables as a comforting meal. A British chip shop favorite, Pukka Pies are scrumptious served hot or cold.
Pukka Pies sell over 60 million pies a year which speaks volumes about it’s quality and loyal fan base!
10. Kale, Chestnut and Mushroom Pie
So if this list seems really quite meat or sweet heavy, then try this lovely veggie pie! The kale and mushrooms add health to the pie and are perfectly complimented with the chestnuts. It’s quick and easy to prepare and make, so there’s no excuse to not bake an inventive pie like this one!
Creamy, tasty and hearty – who says comfort food needs to be unhealthy?! See the full Kale, Chestnut & Mushroom Pie recipe here.
What’s your favourite pie? We love them all, but don’t forget to check-out our Ox and Guinness pie that we created in the BCS kitchen!
Image credits; image 1 BCS, image 2 wikipedia, image 3 daily mail, image 4 guardian, image 5 jamie oliver, image 6 fray bentos, image 7 guardian, image 8 Mr Kipling, image 9 BBC, image 10 pukka pies, image 11 delicious magazine.