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Life of Pie: British Pie Week

Life of Pie: British Pie Week
31/03/2017

What better way to celebrate the great British tradition than by dedicating a whole week to simply eating pie! A tradition since 2007, British Pie Week has been growing in stature, with people from around the Britain creating and consuming pie masterpieces. Taking place between the 6th-12th of March, chefs try to perfect the classic, while new energetic bakers aim to gain inspiration. With 75% of people enjoying pie at least once a week, British Pie Week is slowly becoming a national event, but how many people actually know the history of pie? To help you become the pie connoisseur you have always wanted to be, here are six things that are sure to amaze even the most educated pie enthusiast.

Thank you Egyptians

Around the beginning of 9500BC, historians have documented that we should be thanking the ancient Egyptians for growing the roots of the pie. After becoming a pharaoh favourite the Greeks carried on the tradition, with them originally inventing pie pastry. The pie became so popular that it was given as a prize to the Romans once they had conquered Greece, and carried recipes home to further develop. The Romans then came to Britain in 43AD, and this became a pivotal year as they brought with them roads, central heating and most importantly pies! The pie then made its official debut when King Henry II gave the Sheriffs of Norwich 100 herring pies, and from then on the pie has never looked back becoming a legend in British History.

The Nations Favourite

Deciding what is the best pie, is like deciding whether the dress was black and blue or white and gold, with opinions very much divided, but everyone believing theirs is best. Whether it’s sweet or savoury, the debate is ongoing with classics playing centre stage such as, Apple Pie, Shepherd’s Pie, Steak and Ale and Pork Pie. However, the nation has spoken and in a survey done in 2016, Apple Pie topped the charts narrowly, followed closely by Shepherd’s Pie. Apple Pie is one of two sweet pies that made the top ten, and there were a few surprises thrown in, with a pre-tournament favourite, Fish Pie, finishing 23rd on the list. No matter what the table says, arguments and debate will continue, chicken and mushroom remaining a firm favourite in our office.

Homemade vs Pre-made

Making puff pastry is one of the trickiest things to master in the kitchen, but are the hours spent toiling away worth it? We know that they are, but some companies are arguing you can create that same flavour using a pre-made pastry, with equal quality and half of the stress. For those lazy Sundays there is no doubt that a pre-made pastry is just what you need to create a quality pie, but for a true whole hearted pie it needs to be done homemade. A traditional puff pastry is a sensation that cannot be pre-made, the pure puffiness of the pastry, the buttery flakes melting in your mouth, and each bite being better than the last is what makes the perfect pie. For true pie lovers there is no doubt in their mind that the best pie is a homemade pie, and this is why we see 79% of people willing to pay more for a homemade pie, which speaks for itself.

Most Expensive Pie

You might be thinking the most expensive pie comes from Dubai, with the exuberant, lavish lifestyle, or maybe New York, with the grand, loud style of some Americans have, but no, the Fence Inn in Burnley created a world record for the most expensive pie. Coming in at £1,024 a slice between 8 customers, it really does take a bite out of your wallet. The ingredients included £500 worth of Japanese Wagyu Beef, from cattle that had been massaged, Chinese matsutake mushrooms worth £500 per kg, harvested under surveillance, and gravy made from two bottles of vintage 1982 Chateau Rothschild wine at £1000. If this was not enough for you, the cherry on top (an edible gold leaf) cost £100 per sheet accumulating to an overall cost of £8,195.

UK claims Biggest Pie

The world’s largest pie was weighed in at a whopping 10,540 kg, which was made by students from Stratford-upon-Avon College in Warwickshire. It was estimated that 5,500 kg of beef was used and 816.69 kg of pastry was laid on top. This is a record held since 1998, and a record that should make the UK proud, taking pie making to an extreme outdoing all others. It is this kind of inventiveness that is displayed during British Pie Week, making it such a worthwhile event because you never know what you can do with a Pie.

And the best Pie goes to…

It is what all pie makers dream about, for their name to go up in lights at the British Pie Awards.

“The British Pie Awards is a celebration of the British Pie, recognising the craft and skills of those that produce them whilst promoting British produce and our reginal specialities” Being named Supreme Champion is an honour and one that can help a business grow greatly, and this year’s 9th annual awards is set to be heated, feisty and the most tense affair yet, after all the controversy of last year’s awards. This is one event that is surely not meant to be missed during British Pie Week.

With all this talk about pie, it is only right that you take your time enjoying a traditional homemade pie, and there is no better time to enjoy it than British Pie Week. The hard work you have put in has led to this week, where you can sit back and eat pies, a week like no other. Don’t be shy in entering your pie in the awards; if a pasty can win it in 2016, then you never know what you can achieve!

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