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Tom Bridge s

Pie Society Traditional savoury pies, pasties & puddings from around the British Isles



Cooks’ notes All the recipes in this book show both metric and imperial measurements. Conversions are approximate and have been rounded up or down. Choose one set of measurements for a recipe and follow only those; don’t mix the two. See the conversion tables at the end of the book for more detail. Spoon measures are level unless otherwise stated. Eggs are large size unless otherwise stated, and if you are in a vulnerable health group take care in handling raw eggs and ensure that you avoid dishes containing them. Oven timings are for fan-assisted ovens. If using a conventional oven increase temperature by about 15ºC (1 gas mark), or adjust according to your usual practice with your oven – all ovens vary and you will know your own best. You may wish to use an oven thermometer to test the accuracy of your oven. All cooking etc. timings are approximate, with a description of colour and texture where appropriate, but readers need to use their own judgement in deciding when a dish is cooked.

Pie Society Copyright © Tom Bridge, 2010 First edition, 2010 Published by Palatine Books, an imprint of Carnegie Publishing Ltd Carnegie House, Chatsworth Road, Lancaster, LA1 4SL All rights reserved Unauthorised duplication contravenes existing laws ISBN 978-1-874181-68-2 Designed and typeset by Carnegie Book Production Printed and bound in the UK by Information Press, Oxford

Pie Society would not be complete without the inclusion of just a few of the many British producers who have made pies their passion. It wouldn’t have been possible or desirable to include all of them – this is a recipe book after all! – so what you will find is a small selection from across the UK of different types of pie makers, from artisan to large scale, just to give a flavour. There are loads of equally good companies we haven’t been able to include and, when you’re not baking your own little beauties, we’d encourage you to sniff out those local to your area, as well as sampling the huge range on offer via supermarkets.

Contents Foreword


Fish & seafood pies




Cobblers & hotpots


Pie: a potted past


Savoury puddings


What has become of the pie man?


Veggie pies




Silly pies!


Pie stocks & sauces


Portable pie


Bring on the pies


The pasty


Pork & ham






Conversion tables


Lamb & mutton




Poultry & game




Cheesy eggy stuff!




Foreword My love for pies started with my mum and dad making homemade mince and onion plate pies for their pub in Bolton in the 1960s and ’70s. I grew up with the unbeatable aroma of baking pastry encasing various delicious fillings, and quickly developed a taste for the honest, traditional and economical comfort food that is the savoury British pie. After training as a chef I was able to follow my passion for food, and pies in particular, soon becoming known for my unique, no-nonsense recipes. This led to some wonderful times working freelance for various food companies, creating new pies for their ranges. I worked with Derek Warburton, of Warburton’s bakers, at his factory, then called Peter Hunts, in Farnworth, Lancashire. Then I helped to create a Mrs Beeton range for Ginsters, going on to work for various other well-known manufacturers, such as Pukka Pies, who now sponsor so many sporting events, and Dickinson & Morris, makers of the famous Melton Mowbray pork pie. 25 years on I am still a man obsessed, still trying to make pies even tastier and being ever more creative with fillings and designs!

The original seed of an idea for this book was sown 18 years ago at our cottage in Newburgh, Lancashire, when my wife Jayne and I invited friends for one of our bi-monthly dinners. While relaxing with pleasantly full stomachs after the meal we decided that we would get together in the week before Christmas and enjoy a pie-themed meal. It was agreed that the girls would go off shopping and have a posh lunch, while my friends Peter Vickers, Hubert Lowry and I would enjoy ourselves making various pies for the festive season. Peter and Hubert were not in the catering trade, but did enjoy pie-making, so it fell to me to be the cookery teacher. To maximise our enjoyment during these ‘classes’, and in payment for my services, the lads brought along a bottle of superb quality single malt whisky (no change from £50 each, if you please!), which we cracked open as soon as we began cooking. After about 4 hours of really hard work, baking and sweating in a cottage kitchen, enduring the hardship of tippling fabulous single malt, our loving wives returned to be presented with our festive pie of local game blended with cranberries and vintage port in a very crisp water-paste crust. A tremendous time was had by all, the pre-Christmas gathering was established as an annual event, and the notion of a book called ‘Pie Society’ was born. In the years since our inaugural meeting, I have been fortunate enough to continue to enjoy a very varied and interesting career as a chef, championing good food, researching food history and inventing realistic recipes which use topquality ingredients, locally sourced wherever possible. And, much to my enormous delight, I have been able to devote many happy hours to the great British pie, its history, folklore and recipes.

To m B ri dg e 

Introduction The British have been eating meat pies for over 600 years, and a peek into any well-stocked butcher’s shop or delicatessen shows that we mean to continue. In the North of England, where I am from, pies really are a big part of life, and of our history – in fact in many ways they even define the northerner, as Stuart Maconie maintains in Pies and prejudice: in search of the North. But, important though they are in this one part of Britain, pies are far from exclusive to it. Traditional favourites can be found on high streets the length and breadth of the country, and every region has its speciality, often made by old-fashioned, small-scale pie factories. In recent years, however, pies have also been part of a general resurgence of interest in British food, albeit often ‘poshed-up’ versions. There is nothing wrong with posh pies, of course, but this book is dedicated to the more old-fashioned, honest, cookable-at-home pies, from across the British Isles – admittedly with the odd silly one thrown in to indulge my sense of culinary adventure! Flights of fancy aside, in many ways a pie is food at its simplest, and you can rustle one up very quickly if you keep it simple. However, twenty-first-century pie-making can – and arguably should – require a bit of effort, not so much in the construction as in the ingredients. We should look for the finest ingredients, grown nearby whenever available, and work hard to ensure that no artificial stuff whatsoever is allowed to creep in. In mass production many pie-making factories will use undesirable additives; not I, and not the companies I mention in this book. My guiding principle has always been that all the food we make, whether at home or on a bigger scale, should be wholesome, tasty and unadulterated. Across the UK we have flourishing farmers’ markets, often specialising in both local produce and regional specialities from further afield. On offer to the buyer prepared to spend just a little time looking beyond the shelves of the supermarkets are fine-quality meat, poultry, game, cheeses, fruit and vegetables, much of it emanating from the lush, rain-drenched landscape that our oft-cursed (but actually truly wonderful) climate produces. So whether you live in Land’s End, Birmingham or John o’ Groats, there is always something on a market stall, in a farm shop or in the greengrocer’s round the corner that will taste great wrapped in pastry. 

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Ah, pastry! That most basic of comfort foods: filling, simple and cheap. In its many guises it provides the perfect jacket for almost anything, and this book offers a wealth of recipes, variations, tips and suggestions to help you to make the tastiest pies imaginable – and if they look homemade, imperfect and rustic, well that’s pie for you! So having sourced the finest fillings and made the best pastry, all we need now are the right natural flavourings. This is such a very important part of this cookbook, and every chef and cook I know puts judicious seasoning at the forefront of their cookery. In all my recipes I only use sea salt and freshly ground pepper, which I recommend you do too; so where I say salt I mean sea salt, and pepper I mean freshly ground. If I was to be marooned on a desert island I would have to have on my wish list sea salt, peppercorns, herbs, spices and a pepper mill. Use of herbs and spices, too, when making pastry, also ensuring that it is not too thick. And finally, use only top quality – preferably homemade – stocks, and the overall result will be a delicious, wonderfully satisfying eating experience.


Th an ksf orv i s i t i n g !

BUY YOUR COPY OF PI E SOCI ETY BY VI SI TI NG www. pi esoci et ybook. co. uk

Sample of Pie Society  

A slice of pie!

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