In praise of the Great British Pie

Pie-making is a British tradition that goes back centuries. Today, traditional meat pies are still a top choice for Yorkshire pub lunches, with classics like steak-and-kidney, beef-and-ale, chicken-and-mushroom and Cottage Pie on practically every pub menu.

“Pie and chips” is a popular choice at fish-and-chip shops, but not one a connoisseur would ever make; the discerning order from their local pub. In areas like Keighley, Yorkshire food – especially pub food – means food made in Yorkshire, preferably on the premises. Every freehouse and brewery bar worth its salt offers a few “home-grown” recipes, both modern favourites like curry pie, and the all-time-classics we’ve spoken about. A vegetarian option, with pastry made with vegetable fat rather than butter, is usually one of the “gang of three” on a standard menu, while fish pies topped with buttery mashed potato are highly popular, especially if the fish has been caught locally from somewhere like Whitby.

Not all recipes are from Yorkshire. Food ideas are often imported from areas like Cumbria (Cumberland Pie), Lancashire (Butter Pie, made with potatoes), Scotland (the famous Scotch Pie), and the West Country (the peculiarly fishy Stargazy pie, though only the bravest publican would serve this!).

So far we’ve only spoken about savouries. However, fruit pies are an equally popular option, with roast beef followed by apple pie and custard being a mainstay of all Yorkshire pub lunches. Rhubarb pie is not necessarily restricted to the “Rhubarb Triangle” south of Bradford, and even the most traditional landlords will generally have Mississippi Mud or Key Lime listed somewhere among their Yorkshire food offerings.