Are pies your guilty pleasure? As British Pie Week is set to launch on 7 March, now is the perfect time to show your appreciation for this traditional dish.
Over the years, pies have become somewhat a national delicacy for us Brits. Given the persistently cold and rainy weather in this country, it’s understandable that we’re comforted by these hot and crispy packages, oozing a warm and wholesome filling.
The great thing about pies is that both veggies and meat-lovers can enjoy them in equal measures! However, the often butter-laden pastry casing means that pies aren’t always the healthiest option for lunch.
I think homemade pies are the best option. Aside from often being tastiest when eaten fresh out of your own oven, the other advantage of homemade pies is that, if you’ve cooked it yourself, you can keep track of exactly what goes into it.
To celebrate #BritishPieWeek, have a go at cooking my favourite wholesome healthy pie recipes here:
Healthy pizza dough pie
This is inspired by the Hairy Bikers genius idea of using pizza dough instead of pastry
250g pizza dough mix (or ciabatta bread mix)
250g mushrooms, sliced
100g baby spinach leaves
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
Handful of basil, stalks chopped, leaves torn
1 tsp garlic puree
200g fresh mozzarella, roughly chopped
Heat oven to 200C/gas 6. Make the dough following pack instructions, reserving a few tbsp of the mix for dusting. Heat a drizzle of the oil in a large frying pan, then cook the aubergine rounds, in batches, for 1-2 mins each side, until golden. Remove and season, then set aside. Add a little more oil and the garlic puree and fry the mushrooms until soft, then remove and set aside.
Lightly butter an 18cm round cake tin, about 4cm deep. Dust a flat surface with the reserved bread mix and roll out two-thirds of the dough to come over the sides of the tin. Line the tin and press the dough into the corners. Leave the sides hanging over.
Layer up the ingredients, starting with half the aubergine, basil, tomatoes, mozzarella and mushrooms. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, pushing down well. Roll out the remaining dough to form a lid and put it on top. Pinch together the lid and the sides, twisting them together to form a crusty edge.
Cook pie for 30 mins. Remove from the tin and place on a baking sheet. Brush with a little oil, then cook for 20 mins more.
Chicken and leek puff pastry pie
700g cooked chicken
2 tbsp of butter
1 carrot, diced
2 leeks, sliced
1 onion, diced
2 sticks of celery, sliced
2 tbsp flour
Large bunch of parsley, chopped
Zest of a lemon
3 tbsp crème fraiche
250g puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Heat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Place the chicken into a 1 litre pie dish.
Melt the butter in a pan, add the chopped veg and fry until starting to soften. Sift in the flour and cook for 1 min. Gradually stir in the stock, cooking until the sauce is smooth and glossy. Take off the heat and add lemon, parsley and crème fraîche. Season. Pour the sauce over the chicken and leave to cool.
Roll out the pastry and trim to 5cm larger than the pie dish. Brush the edge of the dish with water. Lay the pastry on the pie, tucking the edges under to make a double layer around the rim. Press the pastry edge to seal it. Roll out any trimmings to make leaves for the top. Brush the pastry with milk or egg and bake for 30-35 mins until the pastry is golden.