The specialist piemakers based by Perthshire's River Tay

The specialist piemakers based by Perthshire's River Tay

credit: Stephen Robinson

The stories behind the stalwart of butchers and shops across Scotland

Rose Martin is busy explaining why the Wee Pie Company hand-fill every one of their idiosyncratically named pies. These include Baa Baa with its chunks of mutton, Poacher’s Pocket with wild rabbit and pancetta, and Wee Black containing venison and black pudding. ‘You can’t get the right balance otherwise,’ she says.

For Martin, everything must be local and sustainable too, a lesson learned during her time managing a remote island estate with her husband. They were required to be virtually self-sufficient, re-establishing oyster beds, nurturing wild deer herds and growing their own vegetables.

They also oversaw some self-catering cottages, and tourists would often come ill-prepared for island life. ‘We started to sell basic provisions, and that’s when the pies were born.’

They were such a hit that when they returned to Perthshire in 2011, there was no question about what to do next. By the following year they had opened a dedicated kitchen and shop in Glencarse to cope with demand from locals as well as farmers’ market grazers.

Meanwhile, across the mouth of the Tay at Jamesfield by Abernethy, it would be hard to describe Robert Corrigan’s savoury cold meat pies as anything other than substantial. Aware of producers’ frustrations about chefs not using the more obscure cuts of meat, he put in a bulk order for pig trotters and started making a go of the pie business, going straight to the top to learn the ropes with a spell at Melton Mowbray.

Corrigan’s chunky 500g cold cutting pies with their thick, crisp pastry and clear pork jelly feature fillings like classic pork, ruby veal, mutton and capers, and piggy black – pork with black pudding. Known as Acanthus Pies until early 2013, the company was renamed Mr. C’s Hand-Crafted Pies – and the awards have rolled in, with the game pie collecting the prestigious Richard III Prize (‘Pie fit for a King’) at the British Pie Awards in 2013.

Mr. C's Hand-Crafted Award Winning Pies

Jamesfield Farm Shop, (Bakery Unit) Jamesfield Farm, Abernethy, Perth and Kinross, KY14 6EW

In 2006, Robert Corrigan was part of the Scottish delegation to Slow Food's Terre Madre in Turin, where he heard complaints about chefs not using the more obscure cuts of meat. Back at home, he put in a bulk order for trotters with Ramsay of Carluke…