Pastry sarcophagi

You can’t imagine how close those post came to being named “Pies!” but, when push came to shove, I just couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t abandon my role as a very low rent Araucaria.  This could have been my big chance to connect with the “common man” on a topic of broad interest, but I’ve blown it (yet again).

With my honey trap unbaited, I shall just inform the reading elite that for my lunch today I ate a pie.  “So what?” comes the swift riposte.  Well, I was at home at the time and I hardly ever eat pies at home (except of the mince variety in the run up to Christmas, and, for the sake of the argument, they do not count).  I have not eaten a pie in my primary domicile (other than exceptions previously noted) this millenium – and perhaps not since the 1980s.  It is not that I have anything against pies – there is no vendetta involved nor have I been dissed by a bridie – no, it is the pastry where I draw the line.  Unlike other carbohydrate-heavy augmentations to a meal (e.g. crumble, sponge, cobbler), the making of pastry requires the forced breaching of mixing bowl containment: it is the mess caused by rolling out (and the use of my limited work surface area) to which I object.  As a result, my rolling pin rarely sees the light of day – but should come in handy as a defensive weapon should I ever need to confront an intruder (it’s a toss up between that and a Le Creuset frying pan – but I think the rolling pin better satisfies the requirement for “reasonable force”).

So why did I relent?  Well, I didn’t: the pie was obtained last Sunday from the annual, local farmer’s market (which I feel is a sub-optimal frequency for such an event).  The original plan was to consume it on my journey to Brighton to hear the Esterhazy Chamber Choir sing in celebration of 500 years having elapsed since John Sheppard’s birth (well, probably – record keeping was not to a modern standard in, or around, 1515).  An anniversary which I am quite certain has been widely honoured by GofaDM readers: I’m sure performances of his Media Vita have been a vital part of everyone’s 2015.  So little did I know about pies that this plan was doomed to failure by the need to cook the proto-pie at 180°C for twenty five minutes.  I had plenty of cooking time available on my journey, but sadly Southern Railways do not even provide the option to charge your phone let alone run a small oven.  A very short-sighted policy, if you ask me.

So, anyway today the pie and its primary contents, of shiitake mushrooms and asparagus, were consumed in a single sitting (appetite is author’s own).  The cardboard box which once housed the pie is rather beautiful when fully unfolded: a partially-stellated dodecagon.  It also carries a very detailed list of ingredients, including the exact balance between pastry and filling (9:16) and the percentage share of its various high-value contents.  I’d not seen this before – though it may have been common for years – but feel it is a very welcome development in food labelling.  Without this level of detail, one can easily be fobbed off with a pie which is mostly pastry or, for example, a chicken and ham pie with almost no ham (unless one is willing to perform the pie-equivalent of an autopsy at the time of purchase, and few retailers allow a potential buyer to insert his scalpel before money has changed hands).

The pie itself wasn’t at all bad and the ratio of filling to pastry well within the Goldilocks zone.  However, it wasn’t a patch on the amazing pies I have sampled at 10 Greek Street where, by some arcane method unknown to me, the filling to pastry ratio must be nearer 90:10 (and the pastry itself is simply divine).  Perhaps this is another reason why I rarely attempt a pie at home: having been exposed to such perfection, my own tawdry efforts will always fall short.

Feel free to continue the lunacy...

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