Food history time. And today’s lesson is pie.
Traced back to 6000bc, it was the Egyptians who created the first pie incorporated nuts, fruits and honey into bread-like dough. Shortly after, the Romans formally documented the first pie recipe – a goat cheese and honey pie allegedly, how posh. Then the Pilgrims arrived with a meat based pie in hand for the first Thanksgiving in 1621. Soon the pumpkin pie came to the table and adored by millions ever since.
Fast forward to 2022 and the pie has evolved to take its many forms today. Mash topped cottage pie, fruit pies held prisoner by lattice slats, flaking steak pies – it’s no surprise the pie has survived the test of time.
Then there’s the sum of pie, but that’s one for another day… Let’s just cover the best pie stops across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire without mathematical embarrassment ok?
Starting off with the latest pie maker ticked off my list, Breer Pie. Born over a coffee in a local cafe, brother and sister (Dale and Jodie) devised a cunning plan to bring something new to the food scene – and the answer was pie. Committed to baking “fine pies filled with promise” and ‘breer’ meaning to sprout something new in Scots, I can confirm that there’s nothing quite like them around.
Picture a sturdy shortcrust case similar to a small plant pot and rammed with comforting filling, the pies are a treat to look at and devour. If the pots of Bill and Ben were Breer Pie cases, no amount of wholesome storyline could keep them safe from my fork and knife.
I’m a sucker for a macaroni pie and I only wish I had Breer Pie in my life sooner. After being in the oven for 20 or so minutes, you’re left with a pie like it’s been made from scratch in your very kitchen. Brimming with heavenly silky macaroni, its filling will have anyone hooked.
With pies this good, it’s no surprise that they never hang about long. Selling-out its tent at food markets and flying off the shelves of delis and farm shops across the city and shire, you best be quick to grab yours. Find out where to buy.
In 2017, The Tilly Butcher shook up traditional butchery with its groundbreaking flavour combinations and collaborations with local food brands. Brisket macaroni, Buckfast BBQ, mince and dodgeball, chilli cheese steak onion ring, haggis chicken pakora – these pies (and the butchers) don’t mess about.
The latest inspired addition is the chicken curry pie made with the Tony Singh Indian Lager. Following the celebrity chef’s collaboration with local craft brewer Fierce Beer, this beer is one of a kind in the busy craft beer market. Add that into a loaded pie and expect a fierce taste like no other.
Imagine a cartoon pie and chances are it will be similar to the charming Wark Farm Pies. Distinct in their design with bubble pressed sides with mounding middles, each has its own handcrafted character.
And what do all characters need? A story – and Wark Farm has quite the tale. A fire in 2018 destroyed the farm’s existing farm shop causing head pie maker Laurel and her partner to rebuild the business from scratch. Taking a step back from the debris, they looked at what was most prized about the brand and the answer was pie. From there they ramped up the focus on their much-loved pies to spread their handcrafted farm pies far and wide.
Take your pick of beef, pork and lamb pies each with their own twists along with its resident Nutty Carrot Pie. Inspired by its farm produce and surroundings, expect spotlight seasonal pies shaped by the wild and in-season produce. A fine feast of Scottish fare is in store.
If it’s your turn to host dinner and planning the menu is at the bottom of the to do list, pie it is. Meet the Meat is your answer with its selection of sizable steak pies feeding two, three and four people.
While you’re there, grab some sides and your dinner is sorted with haggis bon bons, oven ready asparagus and potato galore. The potato hall of fame awaits your basket with chorizo and garlic potatoes, hasselbacks, wedges and honorary mash.
Add one of its cheesecakes or Devenick Dairy sticky toffee to the menu and you have yourself a Meet the Meat three courser.
How about trying a pie that won the Miss Universe Contest? Well, not strictly true, the World Champion Scotch Pie Awards. Crowned winner of the steak pie category, craft baker Murdoch Allan came out on top against bakers all across Scotland thanks to its stand out recipe. With bakers plotted all across the North-east, fans of its signature pie spread far and wide.
With its recipe secure under lock and key, try your hand at creating your own pies at home with its pie case shells and lids available to purchase. Never know, you could be next year’s champ…
I’m a fan of red wine and also a fan of venison, but a venison and red wine pie? Consider me a superfan. That’s just one of the many pies on offer at the online specialist butcher and game dealer Aberdeenshire Larder. From single pies to pies for many (or just extra helpings for you), there’s an endless selection on offer.
While you’re scrolling through its online catalogue, the gift hampers page needs your attention. Packaging up some of its best products into affordable bundles, spoil giftees with hampers for brunch, date night and luxury seafood.
The pork pie always gets a hearty share of the ‘pies I love’ pie chart and Bannerman’s Butcher always has my back. Amongst its selection of roast joints, bacon, sausages and burgers, the Inverbervie based butcher’s pie game is equally as strong.
Its mini pork pies are the perfect addition to any lunchtime grazing table – that’s if you want to share of course. If not, consider these an ideal bitesize snack and that’s a big emphasis on ‘snack’ so you can have more than one!
Should there be no sign of the mini pork pies on your hunt, the Mac and Black Pie is the one for you. Compact thick layers of macaroni, black pudding and creamy cheese top, you’ll need nap after taking on this one.
When you try to work out the sum of pie in the North-east of Scotland, the answer is most definitely unlimited. With bakers and butchers investing love, care and attention to their pies, you are truly spoiled.