Preston baker lifts the lid on a Pie Week beef

Can a pie really be a pie if it doesn’t have a crust?

Monday, 1st March 2021, 7:00 am

That is the burning issue as the nation gets its teeth into British Pie Week today.

A survey by reckons shepherd’s pie, cottage pie and fish pie are the UK’s top three favourites.

But a Preston pie-oneer, whose individual style of baking has people queuing down the street, has lifted the lid by insisting none of them qualify because they don’t have a pastry top.

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Pie master Paul Addison is adamant - a pie has a crust on top.

“They’re not pies, no way,” stormed Paul Addison who is the chef behind the successful Paul’s Pies shop in Fishergate Hill. “A pie has to have a crust. Simple as that.”

Preston’s top three, according to Paul’s sales, are meat and potato, followed by butter and then steak and Stilton. We all know how well-loved butter pies are in the city. But steak and Stilton?

“Yes, they’re one of our best-sellers,” said Paul. “Prestonians love them.

“But any survey that puts shepherd’s pie, cottage pie and fish pie at the top of the list must have been done down south - amongst the upper crust.”

Paul's Pies does a roaring trade in Fishergate Hill.

Paul’s assertion is backed up by judges at the British Pie Awards which should have been held this week in Melton Mowbray, to coincide with British Pie Week, but have been put off until September. Their official definition says: “A pie is a filling totally encased in pastry and baked.”

Another poll, conducted by website Awareness Days, only adds heat to the argument. It also has the three crustless dishes at the top, but at least the next six on the list are more like it - chicken and leek, chicken and mushroom, steak and ale, meat and potato, pork and steak and kidney.

Meanwhile Paul, who made a Christmas dinner pie for the festive period, has been working on a new secret recipe for this week.