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Savoury Pies

Fish Pies

Fish Pies
© Paula Trites

The Savoury Pies category includes dishes such as fish pies, Cornish pasties, chicken pot pies, Melton Mowbray Pies, Shepherd's Pie and Cottage Pie, Tourtière, etc.

Savoury Pies were -- and still are -- a good way of stretching meat that is limited in quantity.

In the old days, the Pie Crust wasn't eaten (see separate entry on Pastry Crust.) But now, generally, unless the dish is something such as Shepherd's Pie and Cottage Pie where the "crust" is mashed potato, a minimum of a bottom crust is expected. And, for Savoury Pie fans, a top crust as well, and a side crust is a real bonus. For them, a Savoury Pie is all about the crust.

Historically, pies used to be all savoury for the most part: it is sweet pies that are the innovation historically.

History Notes

In the Middle Ages, the crust wasn't meant to be eaten, it was just a container to cook in. You broke it open and ate the stuff inside and left the crust. The crust would have been made from cheap flours such as rye. Its purpose was just to act as a container to keep all the moisture in and stop what you were cooking from drying out. Later recipes had the crust made from wheat flour, which would have been more expensive, and butter, so by that point the crust would have been eaten.

Literature & Lore

World War 1 Meat Pamphlet

World War 1 Pamphlet [1] encouraging
people to stretch meat by using it in pies
Click for full version

"However, there are pies and pies. The English custom serves a meat or game pie, either hot or cold, for breakfast, and this is certainly more to be commended. Pie being among those dishes considered rather indigestible, even for the hearty and robust, should be given plenty of time during the most active hours of day for digestion: therefore, the morning or midday meal is the proper time for pie-eating. The immunity enjoyed by those, who, in certain rural sections, still observe the custom of serving pie for breakfast, may be accounted for by the active, outdoor life they lead which calls for a larger amount of "staying" food than the less active and less exposed workers could possibly accommodate with comfort of safety." -- Table and Kitchen Column. Trenton, New Jersey. The Trenton Times. Thursday, 23 January 1902. Page 6.

Language Notes

Pie was spelled "pye" in Middle English. "Coffyn" was the word for crust.


[1] Make a Little Meat Go a Long Way. United States Food Administration. Food Leaflet #5 of 7. 1917. Women's Archives Minnie Fisher Cunningham Papers, 1914-1944 02/2006-010

See also:

Savoury Pies

Aussie Meat Pies; Bacon and Potato Pie Recipe; Bacon & Onion Tart Recipe; Cottage Pie; Cow-Heel Pie; Devizes Pie; Fray Bentos Pies; Friday Pie; Hornazo; Huntingdon Fidget Pie Recipe; Huntingdon Fidget Pie; Melton Mowbray Pork Pies; Muggety Pie; Pasticcio; Pork Pies; Puffed Pinwheel Pizzas Recipe; Sausage and Mushroom Turnovers Recipe; Savoury Pies; Shepherd's Pie; Stand Pies; Stargazey Pie Recipe; Stokenchurch Pie Recipe; Stokenchurch Pie; Tartiflette Tart; Tourtière; Zucchini and Pesto Puffs Recipe

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Also called:

Tarte (French); Pastete (die) (German); Torta (Italian); Pay (Spanish); Torta aberta (Portuguese)


Oulton, Randal. "Savoury Pies." CooksInfo.com. Published 12 January 2004; revised 14 August 2012. Web. Accessed 06/21/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/savoury-pies>.

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