I’ve been thinking about pie a lot recently.Partly the cold weather is to blame for whilst I will eat pie at any time of year as soon as the leaves start to turn and fall pie seems to become the answer to so many questions.
Need something to warm you through? Pie. Need a good idea for supper? Pie. Want to put a smile on someone’s face? Pie. Filling up before a cold two hours watching Arsenal? Pie. You see I’m trying to think of a question that doesn’t have pie as it’s answer and I can’t.
But more than all the reasons above, I’m thinking pie today as I’ve just reread a review of a pub in Oxford written by Jay Rayner, one of the restaurant reviews I love the most, and he waxes lyrical about the very life enhancing qualities of good pie. Following that with my first ever trip to the legend that is Piebury Corner for a pre match “Tony Adams” and then Thanksgiving and I think you will have to agree, pies are among us, there is no escape.
My pie is a beef pie, a cow pie of great meatiness and a perfect pie with which to welcome to Islington a new resident at the butcher’s shop on the corner of St John’s Street and Myddleton Square. When I first moved to Islington a previous incumbent ran this place but sadly it closed. The shop itself is listed so as Turner and George are the very essence of new wave butchers the building is perfect for them: each tile has remained in place, the money is collected in a booth at the rear and the butchers block could have been in situ since “Late Bland” was still with us. Turner and George have wonderful meat, well sourced, well hung and well prepared. I’m thrilled to have them so close and am hoping we will have a long and happy relationship.
I use feather blade for my meat cutting the pieces about 3-4cm in size , but shin would work too. The recipe is in two parts first the meat is cooked to melting tenderness in loads of butter then it’s topped with butter rich puff pastry. The stuff of dreams and smiles and many contented sighs.
For Thanksgiving I made a pumpkin pie, not hugely popular in my house but I love it and I do the cooking. This year I combined my two tins of pumpkin with a tin of condensed milk, two tablespoons of maple syrup and 3 eggs plus a hearty dose of freshly ground spices:nutmeg, cinnamon and mace. I didn’t add extra sugar, the condensed milk being sweet enough. I also don’t pre bake my pie case just cook the filled shortcrust pile in a hot oven 200C for 15 mins then at 160 C until the filling is set. If the top cracks, as well it might, pile on whipped cream flavoured with orange liqueur.