Who Ate All The Pies?

saffronbunny-food-blogger-cornwallGrumpies of Cornwall have hit the food scene in Cornwall with all the impact of a rolling pin on a flour-dusted granite worktop – thwack! and before you know it, the two cantankerous caricatures of Trevor and Mark have stormed twitter, food festivals, local and even national radio. Chris Evans declared the steak and ale pie to be “one of the best artisan pies he has ever tasted.”

But what really makes a good pie? The perfect piece of toast and cup of tea have been nailed in previous bunny posts, but let’s briefly consider the pie (and this from a hopping mammal who was practically breast-fed on Bristol’s very own Pieminster Pies).

What I want from a pie: unctuous tasty filling with an abundance of chunky flesh, a gelatinous bone-derived sauce and a pastry with bite and not apathy. Plus lard. A good pastry needs a bit of no-nonsense lard to offset the butter.

Nothing beats a homemade pie but Grumpies (pronounced grumPIES) have done their darndest to emulate a subtle pastry full of some of the best ingredients Cornwall can offer. Meat from Philip Warren in Launceston and ale from Penpont Brewery are both excellent places to start.

The blue cheese, walnut and mushroom was my absolute favourite and from an offal-avid food writer, this is some achievement. Caressingly creamy yet offering a tangy depth from the blue cheese and texture from the walnuts, it happily converted me into a temporary vegetarian (who hasn’t been watching Hugh’s Veg? Temporary vegetarianism is where it’s at). Second, the pork and cider. I would normally avoid pork in a pie, if it’s poorly reared and badly-cooked, it’ll be tough. But not Grumpies’ pork. Succulent, happy meat, even happier to be coupled with cider.

The complete range features:

Steak and ale, chicken, gammon and leek, pork, apple and cider, homity pie, blue cheese, mushroom and walnut, lamb, mint and potato.

For more information on stockists and the miserable duo who are embracing the onslaught of becoming older and wiser with refreshingly tongue-in-cheek branding, go to www.grumpiesofcornwall.co.uk. They’re serious about good food but thankfully don’t take themselves too seriously. Check out the boys on their very own Christmas road tour of some of Cornwall’s best pie-eating institutions:

Related articles: read the Pieminster boys’ tips on how to make the best pie pastry.

Country Living’s best American pies


9 thoughts on “Who Ate All The Pies?

  1. Humble appeal from a constant reader: what’s homity? How does it GrumPie?
    My daughter is getting married next summer, August, Nova Scotia. Wedding cake, schmake. Pies. One peach pie serves…which brings me to a legendary Canadian story. Prince Philip, Canada, dinner. Legend has it a server said, “Keep your fork prince, there’s pie”.
    More bunny! More pie! I agree about lard in pastry. Do you use vinegar and egg as well, or are you an old school flour, shortening(s) and fingers fan?
    P.S. bunny, it’s no fewer than six different pies. Fewer number, less volume.


    • Hi Ann, good to hear from you as always, you are aboslutely right regarding the less/ fewer issue, thank you! to be rectified. Very good news about your daughter, I imagine Nova Scotia is stunning? Old school for pastry – flour, shortening and fingers. What about you? love bunny


      • Hi bunny,
        I learned the vinegar and egg method from my mother, who used only lard for pastry. These days I make wholemeal shortcrust with butter, vinegar and an egg. It must be true wholemeal pastry flour, not “all purpose” flour.

        Nova Scotia is stunning, most stunning like its namesake (Nova Scotia means new Scotland) on a sunny day 🙂 The provender is improving. Bunny, meet “The Noodle Guy”. http://www.thenoodle.ca/


  2. Hi bunny you got all my message. I didn’t include a recipe. The pastry world divides at vinegar and egg. An entire conversation could go: Pastry? Eye contact. Lard, shortening (Crisco) or butter? Maintain eye contact. Vinegar and egg? Nod. My mom, too.

    Two recipes. On the first link, Tenderflake Perfect Pastry is my mother’s actual recipe from the lard box. http://clubweb.interbaun.com/~elien/pies.htm#b7

    A reviewer commented on the second recipe “This is also my Mom’s ‘secret’ pie crust recipe and it is the best crust I have ever had.”

    My mother always used a pound of lard. These days I rely on Paul Southey’s wholemeal shortcrust pastry recipe (rich) from Gourmet Cooking Without Meat, which calls for weighing the butter and flour. The book is not at my fingertips. I add vinegar and an egg to it. It works brilliantly.

    Substitute your ideal lard & butter combination. The recipes for one cup, half a pound of shortening, and a pound, both take only one egg, and up to 1 tablespoon of vinegar. The cold water must be icy cold. Stir up the vinegar and egg in a cup. Add icy water sparingly. You can always add a bit more to the bowl to gather the last bits. Borrow a pastry blender? The old ones with wooden handles are better for buttery gripping. Chill the pastry at least 30 minutes in wax paper or cling film.

    I hope this helps. I’m here for you bunny!


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