I am a little funny about my pies. I love a good pie. Sweet, savoury, chicken and leek, apple or cherry. I love them all. That isn’t odd. What is odd is that I like the pie crust as much as, if not more than, the pie filling. While I see some people scrape the chicken out of the pie, I will leave the largest and best pieces of crust until last, with a taste of filling for flavour balance.
That is my odd thing about pies. I am happiest when I work towards the crust of a pie (or tart) and I see a tasty line of biscuit, shortcrust, flaky or filo waiting for me. I know I am not alone in this.
I rail against new-fangled ‘pies’ that are a sloop of filling with a piece of baked filo pastry on top. It’s not a pie!
The pie has a noble culinary heritage and like the sandwich, it’s traditional construction is born out of function and practicality. Everyone knows that good design follows function, and this principal is true even when talking about a simple pie.
A pie was way for a worker to get a solid, generally meaty meal when away from home – working on a farm or in a field for instance. A pie kept all the meat and gravy together in a nice neat package. No mess and easy to eat with your hands.
The nouveau ‘pie’ or the artfully placed filo square is the antithesis of this, and so prevalent, that pie-lovers such as myself can’t order pie outside the home unless you can see it in a window in all its crusty glory.
The quality of a crust can do so much for a pie. A pie (or tart) isn’t just about the filling, it’s a whole package meal, and should be enjoyed as such. I don’t like promises to be like pie-crust but I do like a pie-crust that promises much.