Then after your food is coated in sauce STOP squeezing before you turn the bottle upright. It is as easy as pie. (Apparently pie is easy.)
Pie is certainly not easy, but it is delicious, if it is done correctly. The best pie is, of course, meat pie. (If any vegans are reading this post, I feel your pain; I really do - now can you please bugger off and read some other post?). But something so simple as meat pie can be so difficult to do correctly.
Firstly, where should you get your meat pie from? Supermarket pie is to be avoided: even the best supermarket pies come with their delicious meaty gravy frozen, which takes something out of their freshness. Furthemore, getting the pies in proper edible condition is a lengthy, difficult, and sometimes costly process, and many catastrophes must be avoided.
7/11 pies are cheap, but often poorly made. The crust is moist and doughy (on the matter of the proper crust, read on); and the mince has the same consistency and taste of sludge. Furthermore, they are often either too hot, or too cold.
Gourmet pies have something to say for them, but it can be hard to find a good one. Some are exceedingly expensive (pies are a good meal for a working person, so if you need more than two gold coins to pay for them, they're probably not worth it.) Worse, many 'gourmet' pie cooks defer to the disgusting tastes of their upper-class clientelle. Pies should never have more than three vegetables in them, and any pie containing cheese should be avoided.
On the whole, the best pies are bakery pies. But even here, it's best to be careful: some bakeries reheat their pies in the microwave, leading to sogginess, and pies that are often too hot or cold (and often both at once). Others, although they heat their pies in the proper manner, neverthless purchase them from a pie manufacturer, instead of lovingly crafting the pies themselves.
Finding the 'right' sort of pie bakery is in fact an art in itself, and can take a lifetime of training.
The next matter is the crust. What sort of crust should a pie have? Some say a pie crust should be flaky; some say that it should be fleshy and moist. I incline to the flaky school myself, although a pie should not be 'overflaky'. The result is messy and often very itchy. Furthermore, some pie cooks, in their zeal to achieve a perfect 'flakiness', can burn the pie. This should be avoided.
Readers should, of course, experiment until they find the perfect amount of 'flakiness' for themselves; but they should remember that flakiness should enhance the flavour of the crust, not detract from it.
Temperature is another important matter. How hot is the perfect pie? Again, it is very much a matter of finding the right medium. A pie should not be cool, tepid, lukewarm, or warm; rather, the correct pie temperature lies somewhere in between fairly hot and piping hot. If the pie is merely 'fairly hot', then it tends to become lukewarm by the time it is eaten. However, if the pie is 'piping hot', then it cannot be held in the hand and eaten. This, of course, is the only way to eat a pie: those people who eat pies with knives and forks are cretins, and should be shot.
It should also be added that a 'piping hot' pie, once the eater has balanced it in his hand, has a tendency to gush hot gravy all over the eaters hand: painful, and unecessary.
(The matter of gush will, perhaps, be taken up in a later post.)
Now; what are the correct ingredients of the perfect pie? In fact, there may be no correct answer to this question. I hold to the rule that, so long as there is 75% to 100% meat in the pie, then the actual ingredients do not matter so much. If a pie has less than the requisite amount of meat, then I contend that what you have is not a pie, but a misshapen pastie.
Here is a brief list of possible pie ingredients:
- Chicken and mushroom
- Beef and mushroom
- Chicken and carrot
- Beef and Bourgundy
(Sweet 'Fruit pies' also have something to say for them. They may be eaten cold, and indeed make an excellent snack between two of the most important meals of the day, breakfast and brunch. But that is another subject entirely.)*
Pies with cheese should never be eaten. It is an insult to cheese, and an insult to meat.
What sauce should you put on the top of your pie? Certainly not barbeque sauce; as Tony quite rightly points out, it is a 'ghastly affair' and whoever invented it 'needs working on'.
Tomato sauce, of course, is the correct condiment; but what type of tomato sauce? Again, this is not a subject on which I am certain, and maybe I should open up the comments box for a poll:
WHAT IS THE BEST TYPE OF SAUCE TO PUT ON A PIE
a) Homemade Tomato sauce
b) Homebrand Tomato sauce
c) Rosella Tomato sauce
d) Some other variety of tomato sauce? (Industrial American-style ketchup, perhaps?)
Pies are a wonderful meal, and should be eaten often and frequently. If you are in any of the following areas, I can recommend these pie shops:
New Lambton Pies, New Lambton Road, New Lambton, NSW
Harry's Cafe de Wheels, Hunter Street, Newcastle, NSW
The Bakery, Bay Street, Port Melbourne, Victoria.
Various pie shops in Coburg and Brunswick, Victoria.
Anyone else got a favourite pie shops?
* As an interesting anthropological footnote, I should add that my friend David has apparently discovered an amazing store which sells canned pies. I can't, of course, endorse such a radical departure from the pie-norm, but one shouldn't deny it before one tries it.