Warm mini pork pies

What makes the perfect pie?

Is it a crunchy pastry? Golden top? Or how about a flavoursome filling?

By Rebecca Shepherd, 06 March 2017
What makes the perfect pie?

Pies are just great aren’t they? They're the classic comfort dish the whole family can dig into after a long and tiresome day, and it's one of those wholesome meals which can fill you with warmth with every mouthful you take. 

"That’s the beauty of a pie – you can really experiment with flavours"

You only have to mention pie and it gets us daydreaming about a creamy classic chicken pie with bacon and leeks, or polishing off a hearty steak and ale pie with lots of flavoursome gravy. Mmmm.

Whether it’s sturdy shortcrust pastry which tickles your fancy, perfect puff which you choose to top your pie with, or flaky filo which you love digging into, there really is nothing better than a layer of perfectly cooked pastry...

And don't worry, you're not alone when it comes to buying readymade pastry, a lot of credited celebrity chefs would even recommend doing so to save time and effort. 

Monday March 6th until Sunday March 12th marks British Pie Week, which is a celebration of, well, PIES!

So, to help celebrate the well-loved creation we've spoken to Phil Smith who is head of bakery at Pukka Pies. He's answered all the questions which seem to be on every pie lovers lips...

What makes the perfect pie?

According to Phil the perfect pie will have a golden pastry, be flavoursome and include good quality meat.

He said: “This really is something everyone will have a different opinion on. What’s so great about a pie is how versatile you can be with the flavours so there is something for everyone. For us quality makes all the difference – good quality chunky meat, flavoursome, rich gravies and light flaky pastry…it’s the perfect combination, if you get the basic ingredients right, with a bit of love you can’t go wrong. The first thing you notice about a pie is the pastry, so a golden, home baked appearance is perfect."

Should the filling be spilling over the edges?

Phil said: "A good pie should have strong pastry keeping everything tightly packed in so there’s no need for the filling to spill over the edge – our pastry is carefully made by our expert team of bakers to ensure it holds in all the good stuff. There’s nothing quite like the moment you cut into a pie and the filling oozes out on to your plate."

What ratios work best in pies?

Phil said: "Different fillings work in different ratios – dependent on whether you have a sauce or a gravy or vegetables…the important thing is that the pie is packed full and packed with flavour."

What pastry is best to use in a meat pie and what pastry is best to use in a vegetable pie?

Phil said: "Puff pastry works well for both we find, the key thing is to make sure it’s really light so we make ours with over 100 layers of pastry, so it has a lovely rise on top and is extra crispy."

What common pairings work well for pies?

Phil said: "Our first ever pie, sold way back in 1963, was Steak and Kidney which is of course a classic pairing. Steak and Ale, and Steak and Onion are also both great combinations. Our Chicken and Mushroom is incredibly popular but we know some people just aren’t a big fan of mushrooms so we released a Chicken and Gravy which works brilliantly as well."

Are there any more slightly unusual pairings which work perfectly that people could try?

Phil said: "That’s the beauty of a pie – you can really experiment with flavours. One of our best-selling pies in football stadiums is the Chicken Balti. It sounds so unexpected but once you try it you fall in love with it!"

When is a pie not a pie?

Phil said: "I’m a traditionalist, if it doesn’t have a pastry case I’d say that’s not a pie but there’s plenty of people that would disagree with me!"

Love pies? Make sure you stock up our range of Pukka pies here, or pop into your local Asda store to see our full range of Extra Special pies