When is National Pie Week 2022? UK date, what happens, history and pie recipes - including for chicken pie
The humble pie is central to British foodie culture and is found everywhere from your local pub to fine dining restaurants
The pie has been at the centre of British cuisine for centuries.
Whether it’s a cottage pie, pork pie or pie and mash potato, the pastry encrusted treats are one of the UK’s biggest contributions to the food world.
So it’s only right that we celebrate British Pie Week, also known as National Pie Week, every year.
But when does this appreciation week take place - and how can you make your own pie?
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is British Pie Week?
British Pie Week is a celebration of all things pie.
According to the British Pie Awards, which are themselves a focal point of the celebration, we eat £1bn worth of pies in the UK every year.
The organisation, which is led by The Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, defines a pie as: “a filling wholly encased in pastry and baked.”
It says they evolved out of pasties in Britain, but might have first been cooked by the Egyptians or Romans.
Whatever their origin, Britain has been the unofficial home of pies for centuries.
Their first mention in British history is by author of The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, who gave a recipe for an apple pie in 1381.
Other pie recipes from a similar time appear in the recipe books of King Richard II’s cooks.
It’s believed pies were not originally eaten like they are today, with the pastry casing often thrown away before eating.
But this practice appears to have stopped once fat was added to the pastry mix - a move which added another dimension of taste to the food item.
Different types of pie have sprung up ever since, with the filling often dependent on the local area they are found in.
For example, the Cornish pasty derives from an association with tin mining, which required workers to have high levels of energy to carry out their work - hence why the pastry encased starchy vegetables as well as meat at one end and a sweet filling at the other.
Now, pretty much anything can be put in a pie.
From macaroni cheese pies to cheeseburger pies - if you can imagine it, it probably exists.
What happens during British Pie Week?
British Pie Week will often see your local butcher or delicatessen put on special offers for their pies, or even produce special edition ones.
Major pie brands often get in on the action as well.
For example, Pieminister is offering fans the chance to create their own dream pie if they eat one of the brand’s pies during British Pie Week.
When is National Pie Week 2022?
National Pie Week usually falls in March.
This year, it is taking place between 7 and 13 March 2022.
The British Pie Awards will take place in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire on Friday (11 March), with awards given across 23 categories, including best pork pie, best pasty and best vegan pie.
Savoury pie recipe
Pies take a while to put together and bake, so it’s often easier to buy one in than make your own.
But if you are particularly motivated to make your own one, it can be a rewarding experience for your taste buds.
A simple recipe for the pastry mix (if you’re not buying in ready-made pastry) requires:
- 250g flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 60g cold butter
- 60g cold lard
To put together the pastry, sift the flour and salt together into a bowl.
You then want to grate in the butter and lard before rubbing the mix into crumbs with your fingers.
Add 2 tablespoons of cold water and then continue to add tablespoons of cold water until your mixture binds together.
Once you’ve got a lump of pastry that’s not falling apart but equally isn’t too wet, wrap the bowl it’s in with cling film and leave it to rest while you crack on with the filling.
NationalWorld will leave the filling up to you, but you ideally want to make sure you’re creating a mixture that’s full of flavour and texture, as well as that thick gravy sauce that will coat your baked pastry.
So, whether you’re putting in a meat like chicken or a meat alternative, be sure to add stock, plenty of seasoning and tasty fried vegetables, such as leeks, onions, carrots or mushrooms.
Ideas for fillings include:
- Chicken and mushroom (with onion)
- Beef (with leeks and carrots)
- Cheese and onion
Once you’ve put together your filling in a frying pan, crank your oven up to a medium-high heat.
You’ll then want to roll out two-thirds of the pastry you’ve made and use it to line a 25cm pie dish.
You then want to brush the edges of this lining with water.
Pour in your filling and then roll out the remaining pastry to create the pie’s topping.
This will need to be crimped and sealed with your fingers.
Before you put it in the oven for around 45 minutes, brush the pie with a beaten egg so that it will shine when it’s been cooked.
You should also make a hole or two in the middle of the pie to allow steam to escape during cooking.
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