So here we are, in the middle of British Pie week! Were you aware that Pie week was a thing? I sure as hell wasn’t but since I’ve been e-mailed by 3 different people regarding this entity I guess it must be!
Well the good folks at Pieminister were kind enough to send us 6 varieties of pie: saag paneer; british beef and craft ale; super spicy venison, bacon, kidney bean and chilli; sweet potato, goats cheese and spinach; chicken, ham, leek and thyme; and one curious example known as “The Hopper”, you can probably guess what that entails but I’m just going to be an absolute tease and leave your intrigue ‘till last. Here’s what you can get for £5 until the 12th of March (amongst others from their menu).
Let’s start with the pastry: there’s a flaky pastry top (which could have been more flaky if I’m honest) and denser short casing, so far so standard but there’s only so much you can customize a pastry before it becomes a cluttered mess! It’s nicely seasoned and crisp, and, while the fillings were very moist, the pastry maintained its crisp and crunch which is more than you can say for many pies knocking around so the pastry itself gets a nice cosy thumbs up, shoved through the base of the pie.
One may complain that 90% of your saturated fats is ridiculous but then again… What the fuck did you expect? It’s a pie and pies aren’t the healthiest cuisine by any standard, these things are a treat, something to have when you’re feeling like a bit of TLC is in order so just get one (not five) and enjoy it!
Now the fillings (remember there’s a bug pie in here, so keep reading!):
Saag paneer: first let’s say that paneer is amazing! I feel like it isn’t used enough so it’s encouraging to see it used in a pie in a fusion of Indian cuisine in a British delivery. The spice blend gave a nice humm of coriander, ginger and cumin to the filling without being too overpowering, saag being a spinach based curry would perhaps be too dry for a pie which seems to be a thought taken into consideration by Pieminister and so the added tomato lends much needed moisture.
Super spicy (long name, you know what it is): the venison, which is often considered a rather dry and tough meat, was incredibly tender and the chilli pepper gave a wonderful kick to the filling. The combinations of flavours were delicious and so we recommend this highly!
Sweet potato, spinach and goats cheese: a creative combination of ingredients which definitely made me smile at the thought and seems to have pleased Josh who isn’t typically a pie-person, possibly even changing his opinion of pies in general! Good work there, the filling was smooth and the flavours worked together magically.
Chicken, ham, leek and thyme: overall a very solidly made pie, it’s a classic and I’m not sure what I can say about it as you’ve probably already eaten many over your life but if you haven’t then let’s go! The leeks contribute a delicious creamy sauce which goes well with the salt and savoury of chicken and ham but the main criticism we have is that there wasn’t enough thyme to be particularly detectable. An extra pinch would have really raised this pie higher!
(I’ve said pie too many times now and it’s stopped sounding like a word. Pie, pie, pie, pie, pi, p, pa, pastry thing.)
British beef and craft ale: I love this pie, you would struggle to find a better embodiment of the word “British classic” and while many British classics can be made disappointingly to the point that classic becomes synonymous with the word “fucking waste of time”, this certainly does not! It’s well seasoned and the ale actually contributes to the flavour giving a superb experience, it’s well seasoned and just damn good.
“The hopper”: I hope you haven’t stopped reading because here it is! It’s a bizarre experience, eating a pie where the selling point is that there’s crickets in it- no, not cricketers, that’s cannibalism and they taste like leather so who would want that in a pie? It’s Mexican inspired and contains a chipotle, tomato, coriander, lime and sour cream sauce with rice and (you guessed it!) cricketers-I mean-crickets. The flavour was smokey and creamy but given a slight levity by the lime so that’s a big tick next to flavour. However, there was a slight crunch, and a slight ‘grassy’ flavour which, while pleasant, just kept reminding me that I was eating bugs. My brain tried to reject the idea but it honestly is a good pie and you’ll have definitely eaten worse. But I’ll stick to the steak and ale if it’s all the same to you.
Featured image by Josh Caldicott