Venue: Lytham Quality Pies Bakery, 24 Clifton St, Lytham Saint Annes, FY8 5EW
Date: May 2019
Pie: Butter Pie
Temperature as eaten: Hot
On a recent trip to the Fylde Coast, a beautiful stretch of the UK’s North West coastline, we decided to pay a visit into the town centre of Lytham for a bite to eat and a peruse of the shops. Lytham Saint Annes isn’t far away from Blackpool, but has none of the razzmatazz of that particular destination for stag and hen parties. In fact, it’s quite a relaxing place to visit. It even has a Windmill.
After we had grabbed a bite to eat at a very quaint tea room we took our stroll down the main high street and while browsing we came across a number of shops selling Butter Pies. “Butter Pie! What on either is a Butter Pie?” I proclaimed as I stood outside one particular bakery. And so of course there was then only one thing to do, I had to pop inside and find out.
A very helpful young lady in the shop advised me that they had been baking and selling Butter Pies for as long as she could remember and they were sort of unique to that area of Lancashire. Apparently the Butter Pie is also known as the Friday Pie and was thought to have been invented by a group of Catholics in what was at the time the town of Preston (It’s a city now of course). Historically, and according to Vatican Law, abstinence from meat eating on a Friday is still in place and although some parts of the Catholic Church have followed, relaxed, followed again the law, it’s not enforced as a rule of penitence, it seems it’s more of an “ask” to follow the rule. Anyway, I digress. Suffice to say that the Butter Pie, does not contain meat. It’s not a vegan pie however, as it does contain dairy product, Butter, and lots of it!
The ingredients for the filling of a Butter Pie are quite simply: potato, butter, onion, salt, pepper.
The humble Butter Pie is now, I am told, a classic, served in football grounds, pubs and homes across the county of Lancashire. Some people have told me that you eat it with a few seasonable vegetables, or just on it’s own with some picked red cabbage, some tell me that you eat it piping hot inside a bread bun, bap, muffin, teacake with lashings of butter (more butter!!), and some just eat it on it’s own. By the time I reached home with my pie in hand I was feeling somewhat hungry, so decided to heat the Butter Pie as advised and slap it between two halves of a fresh baked bread bap. By the time I’d eaten it I was full, very full, indeed I felt like I was almost ready to pop.
So how did it taste? Well the pie pastry was that of a normal short crust pie, not hard and crisp like a hot water pastry, but it was strong enough to keep it’s shape and not burst out all over the place when I cut into it. The potato was cut into flat slices, square in shape but only a couple of centimetres thick, there was of course no meat juice or gravy, but the potatoes had obviously been sweated in a generous amount of butter along with finely chopped onions and the seasoned to taste so it wasn’t cloggy at all. I was half expecting the filling to be stodgy but it wasn’t, the potato had held it’s shape as had the chopped onion, and it was a tasty eat. In hindsight I should have eaten the pie without making it into a rather large and heavy sandwich (see photos below), I couldn’t fit it in my moth so had to eat it with a knife and fork, but I guess if you were really hungry then you would squish it down and fit it in somehow.
Thank you to Kevin Barry’s Lytham Quality Pies Bakery for indoctrinating me into the Butter Pie experience and thank you also to the young lady in the shop who gave me info on how to eat the pie.
Overall a pretty good pie, something different and something that I wasn’t expecting to find. Would I eat it again, yes, absolutely, especially if I were watching a football match and they were on offer at half time I’d definately have one again. It would have to be hot for me, but I do know that people eat them cold too, especially in the summer months. If you are in Lancashire and you’ve not tried one yet then go on, try something different and feel free to comment back on your experience.
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