Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries, apologies I’ve been a way for a wee while but this has been a deliberate manoeuvre on my part. As I explained in my last entry next Tuesday I will be a judge at the World Scotch Pie Championships, judging, somewhat unsurprisingly, the Football Pie category. This week a myriad of documents arrived via email and I have spent the last couple of days familiarising myself with the criteria these pies must aspire to. Conscious that some will have passed my lips already I resolved to take a short pie based sabbatical for the benefit of judging impartiality. Now for some people ten days without a pie isn’t really a big deal but when you spend a few hours a week talking about these pastry swathed beauties rationing becomes a difficult skill to master. I hope you can all understand.
With all that being said I still have a pie in my back pocket for your reading delectation, so without further ado, let’s rate some pie.
Where: St Mirren Park, Scotland v Northern Ireland, Sky Sports Victory Shield
Price: A step up in surroundings saw a considerable step up in price with a scotch pie setting me back £2.10, admittedly only 10p more than the Stirling University Pie recently reviewed but still more than double the price of the junior pies that have been passing my lips this season. If I was still at university, and I was doing some kind of economics based course I am 95% certain I would try to do a statistical analysis of the price of pie even though the BBC do a decent, if not slightly flawed, job of it already. I mean Rangers for whatever reason still have their toys out of the pram and refuse to collaborate in these fan focused surveys at the moment but what was stopping a ‘journalist’ (somebody paid to investigate stories), going to Ibrox, buying a pie, a Bovril, a programme and a ticket and then whacking the information into their ‘Price of Football’ super computer. I mean the price of entry and cost of match day sundries once inside Ibrox are some of the few things down Govan way that aren’t shrouded in mystery these days. I tell you what BBC because I’m a nice guy next time I go I’ll get you a price list. Moving on.
Presentation: The traditional presentation style for a pie in the upper echelons of the Scottish game. A small white napkin with the pie snugly wedged into a silver tin foil case.
Meatiness: I hope you can see from above this was a very will filled pie. The first bite was one where you could almost feel your teeth going through the layers. The meat was moist and the right balance was struck with it being firm enough to bite securely without being so firm that the meat didn’t give a little once you pulled your lips away. Where this meat really excelled though was with its peppery kick, something that has been sadly missing from my recent bout of pie tastings. It was almost instantaneous in hitting the palate not hot with fire but spicy with pepper, I was so impressed with this burst of flavour I decided to time how long the linger would last but at the 6 minute stage I was still waiting for the tang to subside and so I gave up suitably impressed with the enduring presence of the pepper within.
Pastry: The pastry was nice. The top disc was a little loose leading to some gaps around the side, in some ways this allows the pie to cool before eating but, on receipt of my pie judging forms this week, not something that you should consider as pie perfection. The upper lip of the crust was nice and crispy without being too hard and the base remained in tact. An impressive feat considering the penchant for destruction that a tin foil case has when it comes to pie pastry. .The all important pastry to pie ratio was just right although I’m not a fan of the dusty top that inexplicably makes it way on to some pies including this one. Often I feel this dusting subtracts flavour instead of adding it but all in all as a receptacle for the meat inside this did an admirable job.
Brown Sauce: The brown sauce provided came in the form of a large pump handle bottle, economically a sound move but logistically a bit of a nightmare as you often find yourself squinting your hand into all sorts of position to get the sauce coating you desire. This was especially true in this instance as this particular pump handle was only allowing a small spot of sauce out at a time. The sauce itself though was suitably tangy.
Overall: I had recently been going through a bit of a pie rut with nothing really capturing the imagination but this pie has been a mighty fine example of a football snack. Well filled, with an excellent peppery kick with the proportions of meat to pastry just right and if somebody could just blow off the floury sprinkles on top then this would be a true top pie contender.
Gravy Factor: Peppercorn Sauce. Love that Linger.
So another pie down and the next pie to pass my lips will be at the World Scotch Pie Championships to be held in Dunfermline next week. I plan to write about my experience after which my journey of pie will continue in full once again. Slated for review next will be the Glasgow City pie as they are in Women’s Champions League action at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie. My latest Sporadic Scottish Football Round-Up will also be up on The Football Pink in the next few days.
However until next time, go forth and eat pie!