The life of pie

It’s officially National Pie Week (March 5-12).

A pie certainly feels like the most British of foods – and it comes in many varieties. We have the pork pie, apple and blackberry pie, game pie, gala pie, steak and kidney pie.

Then there’s the chicken, ham and leek pie, Stargazy pie, not to forget the fish pie or the ultimate in Christmas fare, the mince pie.

The pie, though, was not a British invention at all, but dates back to Ancient Egypt, around 9500BC, when it was more like a buckwheat style pancake encasing a filling of honey as a sweet treat.

The galettes developed into a form of dessert and ended up in Greece where the Ancient Greeks were understood to have transformed the dish into something close to the modern pie. A water/flour paste was made to protect meat during cooking to seal in the moisture and store it during transportation.

It wasn’t long before the dish moved to Rome and is mentioned in what is given to be the first ever cookbook, Apicius, in the 1st century. A hop, skip and a jump later we now have one of Britain’s great traditional dishes.

So to celebrate this week, here are two fabulous recipes from some fine pubs up and down the country for you to create at home.

Click here for ingredients and instructions on cooking the English rabbit pie with suet crust from the Rookery pub, London.

And here for the Potpie of roe deer with root vegetable mash from The Wellington Arms, Baughurst, Hampshire.