There is a strong movement out there residing in a number of quarters ranging from the British Pie Awards to my associates at Pie Rate regarding the classification of a pie.
Essentially, if it’s not fully encased it’s not a pie. If it only has a top crust or indeed no crust at all – looking at you here Cottage & Fish Pies – then it’s nothing more than a pie charlatan.
I have tried to remain true to these principles throughout the book but for me, it’s not just a matter of principle – there is another reason. It’s because being brought up in Wigan we learn to eat pies with our hands.
It’s one of those essential things you learn as a child after learning to tell the time and riding a bike but definitely before learning how to shave. You just can’t do that if a pie’s surface area is not 100% or at the very least 75% pastry. Fruit topped growlers in particular seem to be ensconced in that no mans’ land of tentative acceptability.
I have however allowed myself a “regional variation exclusion” rule in certain circumstances. If a particular pie is prevalent in one region then I have felt duty bound to sample it regardless of it’s crust dimensions.
The Scouse Pie is one such example. Make no bones about it – unless you need to mix up a stock to produce it arf arf: It’s not a pie, It’s a hot pot and not only that it was bloody hard to find one. Notorious Liverpool bakers Sayers don’t sell it, nor did the handful of independents I visited.
I eventually struck gold at GH Farrer’s Butcher in Orrell Park where this little bundle of fun will set you back a mere ninety nine pence.
There’s another 313 pies like the above featured in Life of Pies. If you want to order a copy of the book for just £9.99 plus postage please click this link to order www.lifeofpies.co.uk/buy
You’ll receive it as soon as I’ve finished my pie!