Behind The Scenes:
British Pie Week. Never was there a better excuse to eat pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As stalwart supporters of anything British (and anything pie-related) we’re marking the occasion with the help of notonthehighstreet.com seller, Timmy, and his oh-so delicious pies. We caught up with the man behind the crust to find out more about pie-making and to try out one of his unbeatable recipes.
What, in your opinion, makes the perfect pie?
Here at Timmy’s Pies, we believe it’s all about the company you eat it in – and a really good shortcrust. You can’t go wrong with the right pastry and great friends.
What is the most unusual filling you’ve ever put in in a pie?
We once ran a competition for unusual filling ideas and baked the winner’s idea for them. We must say, the British public outdid themselves. We ended up making a Welsh Tapas pie of pickled eggs, monster munch and quavers. It was horrific.
Shortcrust or puff pastry?
How did you get into pie-making?
By accident really – I was a very enthusiastic amateur, baking for picnics, friends and such. I was doing a PhD at the time, and when that came to an end I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next in life. While I was making my mind up, I got a market stall at Duke of York Square in Chelsea. It was more to keep me occupied at first, but the pies got such a good reception that I kept going. That was four years ago now, we’ve come a long way as a business since then and won lots of Great Taste Awards, but we’re still at our same stall every Saturday in Chelsea.
What is your all time favourite pie?
Egg and bacon – nothing fancy, great for a hangover, cracking hot or cold.
If all this talk of pie has whet your appetite, head on over to Timmy’s Pies and pick one up for yourself. They really are delicious.
Or if you’d rather bake your own, why not try Timmy’s recipe for his classic Steak and Ale Pie.
Timmy’s Steak and Ale Pie
Makes enough for 3-4 people
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C
350g diced beef chuck steak
12g plain flour
250g diced onion
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp tomato puree
2 diced carrots
5 stalks of thyme
1 pint London Pride or your ale of choice
300ml beef stock
1 tsp mustard powder
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp black treacle
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
500g shortcrust pastry
- Put the diced beef and the flour in a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper, mix to coat the beef.
- Take an oven-proof, heavy-based casserole pan. Heat a good lug of olive oil and really brown off the beef – not just sealed, try and get it to a good dark brown. Remove and set aside.
- Add another lug of olive oil and fry off the onions until they start to colour. Add the garlic, anchovies and tomato puree. Fry until the anchovies have dissolved.
- Put the beef back in the pan, along with the beef stock, diced carrot, mustard powder, balsamic vinegar, bay leaves and treacle. Crush the thyme between your fingers and bung that in too, along with 3/4 of the ale.
- Bring the mix to a simmer, pop the lid on and put the whole casserole in the oven for 1.5 hours or until the beef can be broken apart with a fork.
- Meanwhile, line your favourite pie tin with shortcrust pastry. If you don’t have a pie tin, a 6 inch springform cake tin will work just as well. For mini-pies (perfect for picnics) use a muffin tin or egg rings. The pastry should be about 4-6mm thick and should have a lip hanging over the edge of the tin. Roll a piece of similar thickness for the lid.
- Once the filling is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for half an hour or so. Add in the remaining ale and season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon the cooled filling into your lined pie tin. Brush the overhanging lip of pastry with a mixture of egg and milk and place the lid on your pie. Crimp it closed between finger and thumb, then glaze the whole lid with the egg mixture. Pierce the lid a few times with a sharp knife and decorate with any left over pastry – we favour dinosaurs or celebrity faces – glaze again.
- At this stage, you can freeze the pie for later (wrap it tightly in cling film), or bake off for 50 minutes at 190°C.
- Enjoy with chums and a couple of pints.