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6 Things You Never Knew About Pies

The size of pie!

Denby Dale in our very own Yorkshire has a long tradition of making giant pies. From such occasions as King George III’s recovery from madness in 1788 to honouring the victory at Waterloo in 1815, the giant pie is a statement of celebration. A pie weighing in at one and a half tonnes was professionally made in 1877 to mark Queen Victoria’s jubilee, although it was rather an anti-climax as the meat was apparently off and the pie declared inedible.

Our pies might not weigh in so large, but they are crafted using only the finest and freshest ingredients.

Mince Pies

The mince pie has an interesting history and tradition dating back to Tudor England. These festive favourite sweet treats were actually once upon a time savoury. Made with 13 ingredients to reflect the Christmas story, lamb or mutton was representative of the shepherds.

The mince pie was also rectangular in shape and often topped with a baby Jesus and not a star. The manger-shaped mince pie only became round after the reformation.

It is tradition to make a wish while eating the first mince pie of the season, and apparently when stirring the filling mix, it brings good fortune if done so in a clockwise direction. 

A Grand Pie

When we say ‘grand’ we mean a pie topped with edible gold leaf and filled with beef from pampered and massaged cows.

Yes, this is according to the Guinness Book of World Records the most expensive pie as of 2005. This grand and opulent pie also contained well-guarded Chinese matsutake mushrooms, winter black truffles, French bluefoot mushrooms, and a gravy heavy on vintage 1982 Chateau Mouton Rothschild wine.

And the cost?

Well…if you were to indulge in but a slice, it was priced at £1024. But if you were considering a full pie, you would need to set aside £8195.

Okay, so we can’t lay claim to our beef coming from massaged cattle, but we can promise that our pies are made with quality fresh and local ingredients.

And the best bit? You don’t need to spend thousands of pounds to enjoy a good pie!


Be a Sport!

Ever wondered what to do with a custard pie?

You could eat it, that would be the most obvious choice. Perhaps indulge in a little afternoon tea.

Alternatively, you could aspire to become The World Custard Pie Champion – and this does not involve the making or eating of custard pies.

It involves throwing them at your opposing team-mates.

Yes, The World Custard Pie Championship is a real event.

Established over 50 years ago in Coxheath, Kent, it has garnered such a reputation that teams from everywhere come to join in.

It is played in teams of four and the rules are really very simple – hurl your custard pies at your opposing team (you must use your left hand) and score as many points as possible by aiming successfully at your target. Six points can be earned for a pie in the face, three points for a hit from the shoulder up and one point for a strike on any other body part.

And if you fancy giving this a go, the next event is scheduled for the 4th  September.

Just don’t use our Yorkshire Handmade Pies – we’re sure they’ll be far too tasty to take aim and throw.


Tart or pie?

You would think this to be a relatively straight forward question at the very least, or at the most perhaps one which might inspire a friendly discussion on the distinguishing attributes of a pie and a tart.

But it actually provoked a rather strong debate in the 1927 correspondence pages of The Times when a Mr. R. A. Walker wrote in to protest about the “abominable soul-slaughtering and horrible trick of serving puff pastry and stewed fruit under the guise of apple tart.”

His candid thoughts opened up a heated debate over the following two weeks with insults and loaded comments concerning the pie/tart argument dominating much of the correspondence pages at the time.

A short editorial by The Times featured in the middle of this rather passionate exchange for the benefit of “all who hold that a pie is not a tart and a tart is not a pie.”

After various ‘meaty’ communications, the lid was sealed on the debate with no definitive conclusion, when the official pudding season was announced.

Pudding or dessert? Now that is a whole other debate!


The Yorkshire Christmas Pie

An impressive, well-raised and highly decorative pie which came to fashionable fancy in the Georgian era.

The Yorkshire Christmas Pie was crammed with various fowls and meats, and come the 1870s the pies were being made in the kitchens of Harewood House, Leeds for which the recipe included a chicken inside a goose surrounded by various game meats.

The Yorkshire Christmas Pie had garnered such a reputation that one was apparently even served in Windsor Castle.

The earliest known recipe comes from The Art of Cookery by Hannah Glasse (1740) which details how to prepare and season the many fowls and meats.

To encase such weight, it was important the pie’s standing crust was thick and solid, and Hannah Glasse notes “these pies are often sent to London in a box as presents; therefore the walls must be well built.”

We’re sure they would have made quite the elaborate and indulgent celebratory feast.

These days however, pies are a little more modest, and our Yorkshire Handmade Pies offer fillings to suit more varied dietary choices and requirements.

Made in Yorkshire, our award-winning pies can be sent anywhere in the country much like The Yorkshire Christmas Pie of old. We promise though, that our pastry and crust is not so thick it needs to act as a box – that’s what the courier service is for!