Taste Test - Meat Pies

Meat Pies

From top left to bottom right: Gregg's Scotch Pie, Fletcher’s Venison Pie, McPhie’s Steak Pie, Saunderson’s Steak Pie, Piemaker’s Steak Pie and Simple Simon’s Steak and Mushroom.

Gregg’s Scotch Pie

Gregg’s, various outlets,
Scotland wide 70p

We couldn’t do a meat pie test without saying ‘aye’ tae a pie – a traditional Scottish mutton pie, that is. The hot water crust pastry is crunchier and more robust than the flakier steak version, and the filling sweeter, fattier and spicier. The ingredients list state it has 16% beef and 2% mutton. Is this really the stuff of legend? Best eaten when hot, hot, hot. ●●

Fletcher’s Venison Pie

Fletcher’s of Auchtermuchty, from www.seriouslygoodvenison.co.uk and Edinburgh, Perth and Fife farmers’ markets £1.40
Something a bit different, this little pie lookalike is made by pioneering deer farmers Fletcher’s. The meat is drier than beef and sweetly seasoned – it can be eaten cold though it’s better hot. Overall it has a nice balance of meatiness and pastry, and isn’t heavy at all. ●●●●

McPhie’s Steak Pie

McPhie’s Craft Bakers, Shettleston Road, Glasgow, www.mcphies-craft-bakers.co.uk £1.65
Sold by both butchers and bakers, each obviously bringing a particular strength to the meat and pastry equation. For all McPhie’s renown on the baking front, however, the greasy, sludgy filling was a real let down. It was too wet for the pastry, making it hard to eat, there wasn’t much meat inside and the gravy wasn’t pleasant. ●

Saunderson’s Steak Pie

John Saunderson Family Butcher,
40 Leven Street, Edinburgh, www.johnsaunderson.co.uk £1.40

A traditional butcher’s steak pie with two-part pastry: softer shortcrust holding the meat below and golden flaky pastry on top. The filling here is rich, moist and meat-heavy: exactly what you’d expect, if a bit one-dimensional on the taste-buds. Doesn’t quite reach Desperate Dan standards but will fill you up just fine. ●●●

Piemaker’s Steak Pie

Piemaker, 38 South Bridge, Edinburgh, £1.50
It looks like a chain and perhaps could be, one day, but for now this wee independent does what it says above the door pretty well. The square, wrap-around flaky pastry works better than the traditional round shape for eating on the go; while it’s a satisfying enough package, the flavours are nothing exceptional, with a bit of gristle in the meat. ●●●

Simple Simon’s Steak and Mushroom

Simple Simon’s Pies, Biggar, from www.simplesimonspies.co.uk and at local delis and food halls. £3.85
Made in a small kitchen-factory in the Borders, they are expensive but are a meal in themselves, with a tall puff-pastry shell containing both meat filling and a nest of shredded potatoes. The meat is chunky and the overall taste balanced and satisfying. A pie that has been clearly crafted with care. ●●●●●


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