The Perfect Pleasure of Pies

There’s something wonderful about food wrapped in pastry, so as we enter pie season proper, let’s get some tips on pie perfection from British Pie Awards organiser, Matthew O’Callaghan.

27 perfect pies

Eyes on the Pies
“Every day is an excuse for a pie,” insists O’Callaghan. “Winter’s great for hot pies with a bit of body to them—steak and kidney, chicken and mushroom—but in summer you get picnic pies, such as a Gala Pie, Pork Pie, vegetable and goat’s cheese pie. They’re all good.”

A British Obsession
“We British eat £1 billion worth of pies every year,” says O’Callaghan. “There’s got to be something about them that we can’t resist. Personally, I think it’s because a pie is almost a complete meal within itself.”

Tips on Making Pie Perfection
1) “Make sure the filling has a crunch and a bite to it”, advises O’Callaghan.
2) “Create a sauce that’s tasty enough it could be drunk on its own.”
3) “Bake a pastry that could be eaten like a biscuit—crisp, with an egg-yolk glaze that glistens after it comes out of the oven.”
4) “Make sure it doesn’t look all neat and perfect, like it’s come out of a factory: Give it character, so it looks like it came out of a home.”

Sur-pies Entry
So, what pie makes a pie fanatic tremble at the knees? “A Chilean empanada,” declares O’Callaghan. “It’s actually a pasty, which complies with the definition of a pie as ‘a filling completely encased in pastry.’ It’s a pasty made of fried onion and minced beef, heavily flavoured with ground cumin and stuffed with sultanas, a couple of olives and a quarter of a boiled egg. Heavenly.”