The 12th British Pie Awards has crowned its Supreme Champion today (Friday 6th March) and – in a return to tradition – a Top Rump Steak & Stilton Pie has triumphed as the best British pie of 2020.
The world-renowned awards, which take place annually in the rural capital of food Melton Mowbray, saw close to 900 pies entered by a whopping 160 professional bakers, butchers and chefs from around the country. The Awards mark the grand crescendo of British Pie Week, celebrated 2nd-8th March 2020.
Made by family-run bakery, Turner’s Pies, the Top Rump Steak & Stilton Pie replaces last year’s Curried Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Vegan Pie as champion. The West Sussex pie maker also took home the cup in 2018 with a near perfect score of 99/100.
Speaking at the Awards, Chief Judge Colin Woodhead commended the pie for its attractive appearance with neat crimping on the edge and golden bake: “The pastry had an even thickness, with a crunchy rich texture. The filling was well balanced between meat and cheese which gave a subtle taste and the meat, though tender, still having ‘bite’. Overall a cracking pie!”.
No stranger to Britain’s most hotly contested pie-athon, Turner’s has also won Class Champion in the Beef and Cheese Pie Class, picking up a full baker’s dozen of awards in total this year.
British Pie Awards organiser Dr Matthew O’Callaghan said: “Turner’s of Sussex certainly know how to make an excellent pie. They won Supreme Champion in 2018 with their Steak & Ale Pie and now they’ve done it again, but this time with Stilton cheese. Cheese in pies was a winning formula this year, appearing in five winning classes.
“Besides winning the Supreme Champion – or ‘Pie of Pies’ – title, Turner’s also won three Highly Commended Awards, three Golds, four Silvers and two Bronzes. With their record, they are undisputedly Britain’s Best Pie Maker.”
Claiming victory in the Vegan category, MUD Foods (also nicknamed Mud Pies) was judged Class Champion for its Squash, Spinach and Feta Pie. Highly Commended accolades were given to Chunk of Devon for its Vegan Spicy Jack Pie and Ginsters of Cornwall for its Vegan Quorn Pasty.
A fan favourite from BBC documentary Life of Pies, Zainab Bilal of Pie Mezzanae has been awarded Class Champion in the Hot Eating Savoury Pie category for her Cheese & Onion bake.
With this year’s vegan category receiving the second highest number of entries, plant-based pies (the likes of Naughty Vegan No Beef Here Pasty) battled it out against meaty favourites (Pissed Cow Pie – or rather, Steak & Ale) – with more avant-garde flavours on the menu too ,including Vegan Haggis Pie.
Top 15 most unusual (and must try) flavours from this year’s British Pie Awards:
- Squirrel Pie
- Vegan Keralan Cauliflower & Onion Bhaji Pasty
- Strawberry & Prosecco Pie
- Pear and Chocolate Pie
- Vegetarian Brie, Cranberry & Stuffing Pie
- Mutton, Ginger & Apricot Pie
- Vegan Haggis Pie
- Honey Roast Lamb & Apricot Pie
- Chinese Aromatic Chicken with Black Truffle and Mushroom Medley Pie
- Duck with Black Cherries and Kirsch Pie
- Vegan Roasted Cauliflower and Dahl Naan Pie
- Duck, Cranberry & Bloody Ben’s Gin Pie
- Wild Boar, Apple Brandy, Tarragon & Chestnut Mushroom Pie
- Venison with Chinese Dried Kumquats Pie
- Pheasant with Goji Berries and Chestnuts in Port Pie
Recipes dating back to the Middle Ages were also top crust hopefuls including College Pie made from cows’ heels and bacon, and Medley Pie (here called a Student Pie) inspired by 17th century cuisine.
There were 23 classes in this year’s British Pie awards. To qualify for entry, there are only a few simple rules that must be adhered to: all pies must consist of a filling totally encased in pastry and baked. All entries must be commercially available in the UK.
Photography Credit: Martin Elliot