Friday 24 June 2011

A proper "pukka" pie

When it comes to food, we all have our own preferences and peculiarities. After all, eating is the very definition of a matter of taste - indeed, one person’s manna from heaven may well be another’s vision of hellish torture. 
This subjectivity extends not only to the flavour combinations we enjoy, but also to the quality of ingredients and standards of production that we will accept. The sticking point for me is sausages - I refuse to consume a banger containing less than 75% meat. But my boyfriend’s crusade of choice is the quest for the perfect pie. In his eyes, a proper pie is a meaty filling encased entirely in pastry, and a pie “without sides” is nothing more than a stew with a pastry lid.

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. With that in mind, and armed with the knowledge of my other half’s penchant for a shortcrust parcel, I set out on the risking strategy of cooking my first ever traditional pie, completely from scratch. Admittedly he had to act as architect at the vital construction stage, but I’m proud to say that otherwise the execution of the dish was all mine.

So my man was treated to a meat feast of bacon lardons and braised chicken, folded into a white sauce that had almost a hint of cheese thanks to the sweet fried leeks. The pastry was soft and crumbly inside, with crisp edges that made a satisfying crunch when you took a bite. It may not have been quite the Holy Grail of pie perfection, but I think it was a pretty pukka first attempt.

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