Ah yes, the butter pie: talk about a pie which divides opinions.
My personal opinion is that they are pleasant, but I’d always rather have a bit of meat in there if possible.
For the uninitiated, this is a pie made with butter, potato and onion. In much the same way as Friday is “chippy tea” day, the Butter pie was conceived as a way for all good Catholics to get a filling meal on the days when eating meat was forbidden. Good Friday, therefore represents the Holy Grail of all Fridays, if you’ll pardon the pun.
It’s origins appear to be in Preston or at least within Lancashire and I have written previously also about the “affordability factor”, namely that the pies around here are usually generously filled with potato mash and pepper and only sparsely populated with mincemeat, due to the expense, in a tradition that holds to this day.
Whereas the concept of a “butter pie” can repulse some people, even down the road in Wigan, as it sounds a bit too sickly, it is still much revered by Prestonians and the surrounding areas as a traditional treat. There are lots of bakers in the Lancashire areas, who are fine exponents of this delicacy including Galloways, Bowens and Rounds.
Today I’m sampling the Greenhalgh’s Butter Pie which costs £2.50 and, whereas Greenhalghs’ pies aren’t the cheapest, they are always of a very generous size. They also do a nice line in one off quirky flavours and a range of tasty soups too. A hefty vat of soup used to be my regular order from the Greenhalgh’s van that used to come to my office at lunchtime. Oo remembers offices, hey?
Anyway, the pie consists of a solid, shortcrust pastry with a soft, almost lattice style top crust. Inside, you will fine plentiful, large slabs of potato, laced with butter, seasoning and a bit of onion in there.
The best compliment I can give here is that it didn’t feel like there was something missing and it is intensely rich and filling, plus it keeps you in the good books, down at the local church.
You can pick up Greenhalgh’s Pies from their shops across the North West or in Booths supermarkets. (Like you need an excuse to go to Booths!!)
Or they now have an online shop here: https://www.greenhalghs.com/savouries/pies/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GreenhalghsCraftBakery/
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Life of Pies is a 380 page book all about pies, pick up a copy for just £4.99 plus p&p here