Dickinson & Morris Fruit topped Pork Pie

By |2022-07-01T14:27:44+01:00July 1st, 2022|Categories: Good Pie Guide, Life of Pies, Midlands, Pork Pie|Tags: , , , , , |

When you visit Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe in Melton Mowbray, they always have the stella triumvirate of geographically protected classic pork pies (D&M, Mrs King’s and Walkers) on display. However, they also have a range of other speciality pies.

I once picked up a creamy chicken and white pie for just a quid which was fantastic, and of course, they also have all kinds of pork plus something else pies.

Today’s therefore is a pork and pickle (?) pie. What type of pickle? I have no idea. Let’s call it Branston. I don’t know if this is accurate, even upon tasting it, as this particular type of pickly accompaniment isn’t really one of my go to preservatives. Nevertheless, let’s see what this portable Ploughman’s Lunch (dinner!) brings to the table.

I take the pie out of the fridge and let it settle before homing in on it. It’s not Branston pickle at all, it is more of a fruit based topping. The sweet, chutney style topping is tangy, with apples, berries and possibly a few sultanas and a bit of spicy kick on the follow through. The absence of a pastry top crust, however, presumably renders it ineligible from its own Melton Mowbray based pie award.

Inside, there is the familiar, coarse, greyish pink sausage meat, encased in a thin layer of jelly and an even sided hot water crust. The combination in the mouth of mildly peppered pork and fruit layered topping is a winner for me. And whether this type of pie is your go to flavour and style or not, you can’t help but admire the craftsmanship.

 

 

 

THE FINER DETAILS
Review date: 1st July 2022
Price: Ah, I kept the receipt, in the vain and misguided belief that I do this as a business (or side hustle as the kids call it) Well, if your business is writing about pies, then surely buying and eating pies is a tax deductible expense? Sorry, the price! It was £4.50 for a topped pork pie.
Address: 10 Nottingham St, Melton Mowbray LE13 1NW
Website: https://www.porkpie.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dickinsonandmorris
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dickinson_morris/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dickinsonmorris
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Brockleby’s Wild Beaver Pie

By |2022-06-17T11:30:43+01:00June 17th, 2022|Categories: Blog, Midlands, Steak and Ale|Tags: , , , , , |

Upon returning from the British Pie Awards in Melton Mowbray, we called in at Brockleby’s of Melton Mowbray to pick up some pies. After reviewing The Northerner a while back, I have since been ploughing gainfully through the rest of them.

I really enjoyed their Cocky Leeky Pie (Chicken & Leek) and the details have been sent off for inclusion in the forthcoming GOOD PIE GUIDE BOOK!!

However, today’s pie is the Brockleby’s Wild Beaver pie, and I am unsure whether it is a relief or a disappointment, upon discovering that the Brockleby’s Wild Beaver Pie, is not actually made with beaver meat. It is a steak and ale pie. It consists of large chunks of beef, infused with Grainstore Brewery ale, a layer of sliced mushrooms, carrots and gravy, all encased in a familiar buttery shortcrust pastry.

I am greeted with a dark, dark filling consisting of rich chunks of steak marinated in ale. There are carrots and mushrooms in there, but they are subtle, and with steam bursting out as I cut into it, I have somehow cooked it to perfection, despite my fan oven being a little bit on the blink recently.

Like all of the Brockleby range, it is of a generous size, deep and well filled. The crust is a work of art. The outside is sweet and crumbly in a shortcrust style, the interior is moist as the luscious, dark gravy has soaked in.

All in all, another satisfying pie with great ingredients and I still have one or two more to try I think. You can see their whole range at their website here

 

 

 

 

THE FINER DETAILS
Review date: 16th June 2022
Price: The retail price for online delivery is £6.00 for the Wild Beaver Pie. I got a discount mind you, not sure it was because I bought in bulk or because I’m what classifies as a pie influencer 😉
Address: Melton Road, Asfordby Hill, Melton Mowbray LE14 3QU
Website: https://www.brocklebys.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brocklebys
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brocklebys_pies/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrocklebysPies

Click here to add a pie review of your own: https://goodpieguide.co.uk/add-pie/

You can buy a copy of my first pie-related book, Life of Pies here for just £4.99 plus P&P

 

 

Nice Pie Steak Pie

By |2022-05-11T11:50:25+01:00May 11th, 2022|Categories: Midlands, Steak Pie|Tags: , , , , |

Yes you read that correctly, it’s a Nice Pie Steak Pie. But was it a nice steak pie? Let’s find out! Nice Pie are the baker, they make pies, and they are they are very good at it. We paid them a visit after the Pie awards to pick up supplies, I got a steak, a steak and stilton and a large pork pie.

Don’t get me wrong, these are great pies but I was a little bit disheartened upon hearing that they had none of their “specialist” products in stock on the day.

I mean I suspect that, with the state of the world at the moment, getting hold of exotic meat is getting a touch more tricky, but whereas I would be perfectly happy scoffing on a steak pie, I always feel it is my duty to search out the new and obscure in the interests of research.
You see, on previous trips to Melton, I have brought back their squirrel pie and their zebra pie, not because I particularly fancy them but because THEY ARE THERE!!

They have also been known to produce a crocodile pie, a kangaroo pie and the non descriptive but still highly intriguing Ring of fire pie. Then there is the roadkill pie……

It might be a headline grabber but there is a nice bit of info on the website which explains: “The meat obtained from rabbits, woodpigeons and squirrels is free-range, hormone and cholesterol free, tasty, and easy to cook. So why not put them in pies?”

Also, it is worth mentioning that by eating these type of animals, you are also consuming potential garden pests. Anyway, I want one, for research purposes. So keep me posted, Nice Pie PLEASEEEE!!!!

If you do chance upon the ingredients, you will see that it is no different to the game pie I had last week (and a lot cheaper) save for the addition of a bit of wood pigeon.

But for now, I will have to suffice with their classic steak pie, so what to make of it?

The pie is average sized and circular, with a golden coloured, semi flaky lid and solid base. I’ve got to say, when I up-end it, the base is cooked to perfection..

The crust is firm and crunchy, but not too dry and as I cut it open, the quantity of steak meat in there is astonishing. It is packed to the rafters with very, very, large chunks of prime beef. This is music to my ears, and whereas there can sometimes be a concern that big pieces equal less moisture, well, the meat is still soft enough to be juicy.

In truth, gravy, mash and peas on the side might enhance it and make for a great meal but I’m all about the pie, as regular readers will know and there is a rich, satisfying taste with every mouthful. It is meat, meat and more meat and of exceptionally high quality.

So in the meantime, I will keep checking their website, for something more obscure to feature. I know, for example, they entered their kangaroo and tackleberry pie in the most recent pie awards but I didn’t manage to personally sample or judge it on this occasion.

The finer details
Date: 9th May 2022
Price: I think they were around £3, purchased to take away from their shop /café, a little bit more if you buy online
Address: Six Hills Ln, Old Dalby, Melton Mowbray LE14 3NB
Website: https://www.nice-pie.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NicePieUK
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nice_pie1
Click here to add a pie review of your own: https://goodpieguide.co.uk/add-pie/
If you love pies, you can buy a copy of Life of Pies here for just £4.99 plus P&P which has hundreds of pies in it!

Brockleby’s Northerner Meat and Potato Pie

By |2021-11-07T17:24:20+00:00November 7th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Good Pie Guide, Meat and Potato Pie|Tags: , , , , , |

After our recent pie judging trip to Melton Mowbray, we decided to see what else the town has to offer in pie form, in addition to the “famous” Dickinson & Morris pork pie.

There are several other independent pie makers in the town, and two of them in particular, are very highly regarded in their own right.
Myself, and my cohort Chris, decided to pay a visit to the noted pie makers, Brockleby’s on our way back from Melton to see what they have to offer.

As if to underline, the importance of pastry around these parts, Brockleby’s actually offer pie making tutorials at their premises, and they also sell a wide range of pies, which you can buy in person or online for shipping across the country.

I think you’d have to take a look at their website to get the full details of flavours and combinations that they produce, but if I was to sum up their range in one word, it would be diverse.

I’ve just had another look since my visit eight weeks ago, and it has changed dramatically again, most noticeably the addition of a Christmas themed reindeer pie (venison) and a range of Greek and Moroccan inspired flavours.

They are also one of the few bakers to really take on the fish pie theme to it’s proper conclusion and actually put fish into a fully encased pie crust, with salmon pie and a “Penguin pie”. Made with haddock and cheese, I should add, not penguin.

I picked up a range of pies on my visit and whacked them in the freezer when I got home. Of the two larger, plate pies I bought, I gave the lady of the house the choice between The Northerner (meat and potato) and Cocky Leeky (chicken and leek) for tea tonight, and she chose the former.

It feels only right that a man of my credentials, brought up in the meat and potato pie capital of the world should roadtest their Northerner minced beef and potato pie at the earliest opportunity, in any case, so here goes.

The Northerner Pie by Brockleby’s

The pie comes in an attractive, decorative box, giving details as to the origin of the ingredients and suggested cooking instructions.

The pie is deep, circular and very heavy in the hands, with a beautiful, golden egg glaze brushing the pastry lid.

It takes a full fifty minutes to cook from frozen but it’s not long before the sweet, lardy pastry flavour starts to permeate out of the oven and around the kitchen.

Upon removal, the pie is scorching hot and it is filled to the brim. From my perspective, it makes the “double flip” required to get it out of the tray and on to a plate, quite challenging. So forgive my cack handedness in the photo, and take my word for it, that this pie is jam packed with filling.

The contents are high quality, tender meaty chunks of mince, soaked in stock, onion and a bit of garlic. Kind of feels like a cottage pie type filling and Emma commented that there didn’t seem to be a lot of potato in there. Of course, her point of comparison is with the Wigan meat and potato pie, which is generally all potato and a bit of meat. The traditional North west meat and potato were actually forced to rebrand a few years back, because they were mainly potato and a bit of mince or mutton.

The ratio in this pie is strictly the other way. This pie is absolutely rammed with meat and dark gravy that has soaked into the filling and turned the potato chunks brown. I should add that my missus is not a big meat eater but I am certainly not going to complain about a high meat content and both the flavour and the texture were a delight.

As this was a proper tea, I added some chips coated with chardonnay vinegar and sea salt and a load of veg, and I was absolutely stuffed at the end of it. In short, half a pie of this size was enough for me, but obviously I could have tackled the full monty.

This was certainly a very decent appetiser for the Brockleby pies to come and I look forward to consuming and reviewing them in due course.

The finer details
Date: 15th September 2021 (purchased), 6th November 2021 (eaten)
Price: The price was £7.00 for a large Northerner pie, which served two
Address: Melton Road, Asfordby Hill, Melton Mowbray LE14 3QU
Website: https://www.brocklebys.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brocklebys
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brocklebys_pies/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrocklebysPies
Click here to add a pie review of your own: https://goodpieguide.co.uk/add-pie/

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Judging at the 2021 British Pie Awards

By |2021-09-17T15:25:53+01:00September 17th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Good Pie Guide|Tags: , , , , , , |

It was once again a pleasure to attend the British Pie Awards in Melton Mowbray this week. The previous awards were held in March 2020, just a matter of days before the country plunged into the first of several lockdowns and the world changed for bakers, and indeed most people, everywhere.

This year’s event was moved from March to September in order to give it a greater chance of going ahead but I can confirm that it was a roaring success, with around 800 pies entered and judged.

It is a fair old drive for me to get to Melton but I arrived at 10am and met up with my Pie at Night cohort, Chris and went for a wander around the town, before heading to St Mary’s Church to sign in.

Yet again, I found myself in possession of a red “class leader” apron, something I have always felt a little bit nervous about. I may have dedicated much of my life to researching, seeking out, and writing about pies from across the country but I am no baker and the imposter syndrome always hits me a little. Like, what do I know about pies anyway?

But pie judging isn’t rocket science, although it is a little bit more advanced than my initial Life of Pies approach of “is it a big pie, is it hot and does it taste good?”.

The key categories bookmark several smaller ones at each end. Up front, there is appearance: if it doesn’t look good, why would anyone even want to eat or buy it?

And of course, at the other end: texture and taste, because of course, the taste test, is the ultimate barometer. Not to say the crust, the pastry, the filling, both capacity and blend/ratio of ingredients physically and visually, all contribute to a good pie as well.

I always like to suggest a range of scores to my partners when judging rather than an absolute figure, to ensure we start with a ballpark and then discuss / disagree exactly what mark it deserves. Another method is to deduct a mark or mark(s) for each fault I can find with it and if there are none, then it stays as is.

In one sense, it is a fun, light hearted event, set in a church covered in bunting, and a marvellous celebration of everything British.

However, do not think for one minute that any judge takes their responsibility lightly, without concern of the impact judging can have, both negatively and positively.

A theme with everything I do, firstly with the Life of Pies, and now the Good Pie Guide, is a general appreciation of ANYONE who puts themselves out there by being a small, independent butcher or baker. These local businesses need all the support they can get against the global dominance of supermarkets and other fast foods outlets.

Not mentioning names but yes, I am looking at you, Greggs!!

No, I’m not dissing Greggs, it has a place in today’s society but they don’t even do pies any more, so they are irrelevant for this dialogue.

The feedback is such that those bakers who perform well at the British Pie Awards get an immediate flurry of media interest, followed by a positive uptick and growth in business. So when I say judging is a serious business, well, very often, people’s livelihoods depend on it.

This year, I was placed in Class 3: The Cold Eating Savoury Pie. Now, a few people have commented that this sounds daft. What else are you going to do with a pie, other than eat it?

However, it essentially means, you eat the pie when it is cold. All the pies are all out on the judging table ready for us, whereas other categories are warmed over a period and brought out to judge when ready. I also gather the 600 gram max weight rule is waived in this category as there are some proper hefty pies on show here.

There were three main types of pie in this category. Firstly, there were game pies, consisting of two or three ridiculously rich tasting, thick and chewy meats. I had pheasant, grouse and venison in one pie. Secondly, there were variants of chicken and ham, Huntsman style pies. And the rest generally consisted of pork with something else. For example, pork and black pudding, pork and chorizo, pork with chilli (or chilli jam), pork and stilton mmmmm.

There were about 50 entries and two judging teams. We had quite a few silvers and a handful of golds. Upon moderating at the end, the other team had the best 2 or 3 pies (gold award) and I think that was fair. I think we possibly had the best tasting pie (a pork and stilton) but the stilton had melted and boiled out of the top, causing the crust to look a bit of a mess in parts.

Not that we were too harsh, but I have learnt over the years about the importance of appearance, as mentioned above. I actually used to like a really messy, sloppy looking pie as it’s lack of uniformity evidences that it is home made, and reminds me of the pies I used to eat growing up in Wigan.

However, the more I have become involved with judging, the more I have learnt terms that I had previously been unfamiliar with, such as boil out, seepage and the now ubiquitous soggy bottom.

Incidentally, to contrast the appearance perspective, by far the best looking pie on our table was a circular, wreath style pie, which looked stunning, but both pastry and filling were almost raw. There was also a pie twice the size of the rest, which I made my one dictatorial decision of the day about “we’re all judging that one” but the flavour wasn’t quite as exciting or powerful as it’s dimensions.

I should also add that there is a very diverse mix of people amongst the judges and on this occasion, I was working with a director from Borough market, an agriculture lecturer from a nearby college and a rural support network leader. All from different parts of the country where they are likely to eat different kinds of pies. There is also a team of dedicated event leaders who make it all happen and run the whole event down to a tee to make sure everyone knows their role.

In terms of timings, the event starts properly just after 11am and I had barely stopped to look at my watch until nearly half two (not that you need a lunch break at such an event!) At that point, a moderation takes place and the best three pies are submitted for selection to become class winner and Supreme Pie winner (the best pie out of all 23 classes)

The actual pie makers are on strict instruction to stay out of the way on judging day itself, but if they are fortunate, they get called back on the Friday to attend an award ceremony, where the winners are revealed.

Following this, it was time for us to visit a couple of farm shops for research purposes (always on duty). Pies were collected from nearby Brocklebys and Nice Pie and then me and Chris retired to the pub for a debrief and a Neck Oil or two in the glorious sunshine. I’m not saying the village we visited was posh, but there was a gate to get into it. Probably to stop farm animals escaping but let’s not spoil the narrative.

By 5pm, it was time to hit the road north, and after getting stuck for an hour and half on the A50 near Uttoxeter, it was nearly 9pm when I walked through the door at home, a full 14 hours since I had left that morning. So it is not all glamour, but regardless of the six hour’s driving, it remains one of my favourite days of the year and long may it thrive and continue.

For full details and results of the British Pie Awards, check out the website here

To buy a copy of my first book about pies, Life of Pies for just £4.99 plus P&P, please click here

 

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