So it’s already become a bit of a tradition that the founding members of the British Pie Association and some invited guests from across the UK gather at local Public House in the North West of England to sample a selection of locally produced pie from specialist pie makers and bakers. It’s something that we all look forward to as we bring together a specially selected variety of pies from (usually) a couple of producers and over the course of the afternoon we sample them, along with a couple of libations of course.
This particular review will focus on the pies we ate on the day made by the Little Saddleworth Pie Company.
The Little Saddleworth Pie Company has been in business since 1998 and specialises, as the name suggests specialises in baking handmade pies for all occasions, made to order. Andrea the proprietor and head chef also supplies to local business and farm shops where her pies are appreciated by all who make a purchase. One of Andrea’s specialities is the multi-tiered pie. Think of a tiered wedding cake, but made of pie (what a wonderful idea!). Please do take a look at the gallery on Andrea’s web site, it really is a fantastic celebration of pie.
For our little gathering we ordered a party pack of twelve pies: four Chilli Pork Pies; four Chicken and Leek Pies; four Feta, Cheddar, Leek, Spinach and Nutmeg Pies; and last but not least something new for all of those attending a Vegan Ratatouille Pie made with Vegan Pastry.
We picked up the pies around midday, they had been made by Andrea that morning and were supplied in a large wicker tray covered with some greaseproof paper. We had checked with Andrea when placing our order that the pies could be re-heated so on arrival at the Royal Oak pub our very kind host Sheila popped them in the kitchen’s Aga Oven, four at a time on a baking tray for 18 mins at 180 C.
So, on to the all-important tasting and eating. All the pies were, as you can see in the pictures, of a similar generous size approximately 10cm in diameter and 7cm deep. All the pies were generously filled too.
The four pies in our ascending order of preference was as follows:
The Chilli Pork Pie: Great Pastry, very generously filled, in fact it was a seriously filling pie. The pork filling was flecked with red chilli which gave the filling and eating a warmth in the mouth but only slightly. Our overall and consistent comments were that it was a good pie, but needed a little more chilli to make it a Chilli Pork Pie. We are of course aware that not everyone likes fiery chillies in their food and I’m sure there will be many people for whom the standard recipe is more than adequate. The next time we order the Chilli Pork Pie we will be sure to ask for a little more heat, and I’m sure that Andrea will be more than happy to sprinkle in few more chillies.
The Vegan Pie: Something we have to mention is that none of us have eaten Vegan pastry before, this was a new experience for us all we all and one that we excitedly embraced. The Vegan Ratatouille pie was in appearance the same as the non-vegan pies. On biting into it, the crispness on the outside of the pastry was a little more so than the other pies we sampled that day, and it did taste like pastry, but the consistency when eaten was slightly different, it didn’t melt in the mouth as the pastry on the other pies did. It wasn’t unpleasant at all, just different and we thought we should mention it. Will it put us off trying other Vegan Pies? Absolutely not, it was just a different texture to that which we have become accustomed. The filling of the Vegan Ratatouille pie was that of a typical Ratatouille, packed with onion, peppers, garlic, aubergine, tomato etc. in a vegetable-based sauce and was commented by several of us as a really nice filling.
The Feta, Cheddar, Leek Spinach and Nutmeg Pie: Almost hit top spot for us. Again, the pastry was good, melted in the mouth and was just the right thickness to compliment the filling. The combination of Feta and Cheddar Spinach etc for the filling is exceptional and the hint of nutmeg just makes the whole pie an explosion of flavours on the tongue. The consensus of opinion was that it’s a really tasty pie, really appetising to look at too when you cut into it and definitely a pie we would buy again.
Chicken and Leek Pie: This is the pie that ticked just about everyone’s box for quality, flavour, texture and appearance. The pastry again melted in the moth and the chicken and leek filling was delicious, seasoned to perfection. Nice big chunks of moist chicken and the leek was just the right amount, not overpowering the overall taste of the pie, perfect! “A pie worth of kings and queens” was one comment, and “now THIS is a pie worth waiting for” was another.
All that remains is for the British Pie Association (and invited guests) to say a big thank you to Andrea from the Little Saddleworth Pie Company for baking such lovely pies and we hope to sample and review more of your great ideas and innovations, such as the Vegan Pie, expanding the choice on offer to all who love to eat pie.
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