“ Manufacturer: Pukka Pies / Type: Pie „
I don't eat many pies but like the Pukka Pies you get in the chippy so today in Tesco I saw they were selling them for £1.00 so I brought a couple and had one for my dinner. They have to be cooked so while it was in the oven I cooked some mash and peas so I could have a proper dinner with some gravy.
When it was cooked the flaky pastry had gone golden brown and I got loads of pastry flakes on my plate when I cut through it. The meat and gravy inside looked a bit sloppy and the pie didn't taste meaty like the ones I buy from the chippy are but there looked like there was quite a bit of meat in it even though the steak was in very small bits and the kidney was bigger.
The steak is quite tender but it tastes like proper cheap meat and I found a few pices that were a bit gristly. The kidney was cooked nice and hadn't gone rubbery like it does in a lot of pies, there was loads of kidney in the pie which is ok for me because I like kidney but if you're one of them people who pick it all out then you won't be left with a lot of meat at the end of it.
The gravy is quite thick and rich but I thought it had a bit of a peppery aftertaste which made it a bit spicy but I didn't mind because I'd done a thick rich gravy to go over it and that toned it down a bit. The pastry soaked the gravy up lovely and I thought the pie made a wicked dinner that was proper filling and comforting because it feels like a cold and windy winters day in Birmingham today.
I reckon these pies are well worth £1.00 and I'm going to buy some more while they're still on offer and stick them in the freezer.
Being raised on a diet of pies and fizzy pop may seem a little strange to most folk, but coming from a family of Wigan'ers or 'Pie eaters' as we are sometimes known; it probably makes perfect sense. Now I have eaten my fair share of pies, probably enough to sink a ship, therefore I know a thing or two about what makes a tasty little pie.
The Pukka Pie stands out in its attractive black and orange packaging which makes it look that little bit different, but the price is a little bit more than I would have liked to have paid for this tempting little box with the price tag of £1.34 from Tesco.
Having taken the pie out of the box there was little to admire with a bulbous anaemic looking pie top protruding from the top of the metal pie dish; not to complain though as it wasn't cooked yet. Having warmed up the oven, I popped it in and waited patiently until it was done, now usually with pies, you get a lovely aroma that makes your mouth water, but not with this one; the top had browned up though and admittedly looked a little better than what I had first imagined it would look like, so I plated it up and sat down to tuck into it.
The knife goes in straight through the big bulbous crusty top which is very light and thick, so thick in fact that I was covered with shards of flaky bits of pastry. I cut down to the bottom and divided the pie in half to see what it looked like and more importantly to inspect what the contents had to offer. Not much, is the simple answer; just a measly amount of meaty gravy which didn't even begin to mop up the endless amounts of flakiness. The last time I felt like this was eating crackers with nothing on (the cracker that is). The meat tasted pretty average and the pastry didn't seem to have a flavour which made eating it a bit of a let down. It's hard to say whether the pie was to blame, but I had indigestion after eating it too.
To sum things up, the pie was edible and filled a gap. It says on the box 'the proof is in the taste' but having tasted it I very much doubt that I will be rushing out to buy another one.
A little nutritional info for anybody interested in having a try-
Calories: 488 per pie
(of which sugars) 1.0g
(of which saturates) 12.4g
COST: £1.39 @ Morrisons for a serves one size pie
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per pie):
- of which sugars 1.0g
- of which saturates: 12.4g
Wheatflour, beef (20%), margarine, mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, soya lecithin, annatto, curcumin, minced beef kidney (4%), modified maize starch, onion, salt, monsodium glutumate, pepper, ammonia caramel
Contains gluten, soya, wheat and may contain traces of celery, egg, milk
The very first time I had a Pukka Steak & Kidney Pie was back in the rather hot summer of 2006. A new snack bar had opened just down the road from where I worked, and I decided to try out their food. I had up until that day never seen or even heard of Pukka Pies, and this snack bar had a few of them displayed in one of those old-fashioned heated contraptions for keeping pies, sausage rolls etc. hot. Wonderful I thought - because I really fancied a pie, and I don't like pastry products just shoved in the microwave. I decided to see if Pukka lived up to their quality claim, and toddled off to sit in Tavistock Square under a shady tree, to while my lunch hour away and sample the pie.
I lifted the top off, and shrank back in disgust, as underneath the lid of the pie on top of the meat, was about 2cms of mould! So, it was back to the snack bar for a refund, and though the mould could have been the fault of the snack bar (maybe they weren't too fussy about serving food inside of use-by dates or fussy about storage), it put me off Pukka Pies for a long, long time - plus, until I stopped working in London, I afterwards gave that snack bar a wide berth.
A few days ago I cast my prejudices aside, and bought a Pukka Steak & Kidney pie in Morrisons for £1.35, which I (maybe mistakenly) believe is a special offer, but I'm not sure how long it runs for if that is the case. I'm not a great fan of chicken or chicken & mushroom pies, so decided to opt for the steak & kidney version - which is why this is a separate review to another already existing on DooYoo for Pukka Pies; that one is about the chicken & mushroom variety. Here, I am reviewing the steak & kidney one.
Pukka Steak & Kidney Pie comes in a rather smart box which is mostly black & white, with the Pukka-Pies logo in orange & black on the front, stretched across an image of a meat pie. All over the sides of the box are persistent and repetitive claims about the fantastically first class ingredients apparently used in these pies, how the manufacturers haven't compromised at all in the making of them, and various other assertions of tip-top quality.
The back of the box gives nutritional information, ingredients list, storage and freezing instructions, advice that the packaging is recyclable, and cooking instructions (pre-heated oven 190C/gas mark 5 for 25-30 mins - 50 mins if cooking from frozen), and I followed the instructions carefully. I cooked a few peas, a bit of broccoli and some carrots to accompany the pie.
On opening the box, the pie was resting in a foil tray. The pastry looked rather insipid, a pale brown colour, and there were a few slits across the top crust which I assume are meant to look decorative. Once the pie had been in the oven for a while, I didn't notice any cooking smell - no tempting aroma to get my taste buds diving into anticipation mode.
Time to get the pie out of the oven! On lifting the pie out, I noticed that the top crust had gone a nice golden brown colour, and the whole thing looked decidedly more appealing than it had done when I removed it from the box, but still no enticing smell. The pie was very easily removed from the foil container without sticking at all, and next to the vegetables on my plate, looked reasonably appetising. Appearances can be very deceptive though!
Taste test time! With my knife, I lifted the upper crust off of the pie, to be greeted with a rich-brown, mushy-looking gravy inside. Stirring my fork around in the gunge, I scooped up a wodge and as I moved it closer to my mouth, I noticed there was only a very faint meat/gravy smell. It wasn't unpleasant though. I chewed away - the meat was reasonably tender, but in very tiny pieces. The gravy was rather peppery, but otherwise completely tasteless and it was the wrong consistency - a bit like custard, and unpleasantly glutinous. As I continued to wade through the meat mush inside the pie, I was horrified to find quite a lot of gobbets of fat, which totally put me off and I couldn't thus eat any more of it. I scraped all the meat & gravy onto the side of my plate, and worked on the pastry.
My knife crackled through the top crust fairly nicely, but on sampling it, I can't say that I was over-impressed. It was OK, but certainly nothing special, and was lacking in flavour. I found the pastry on the top crust to be less flaky than that on other brands of steak & kidney pie, and because the gravy (apart from the peppery flavour) was largely tasteless, it didn't compliment the pastry at all. The sides and bottom of the pastry case were rather stodgy - even a little gluey, but I did manage to eat it all, minus the meat.
Despite the claims on the box about the pie being made with the very best of ingredients, I actually found the overall taste was somewhat synthetic and though I could be wrong, I had the feeling that the miniscule sized meat pieces were of a reformed, reconstituted variety - I just wish they'd have cut the fat off first! How can a pie be low in saturated fat, as is claimed on the box, if the fat is left clinging to the meat? I would estimate that the ratio of fat to meat inside the pie was around 60 to 40. It is my humble opinion that very little care is taken in the production of these pies, and despite Pukka congratulating themselves on using and being the best, the whole thing tasted to me as if very sub-standard ingredients had been used.
My overall verdict is that I certainly shan't be going anywhere near Pukka Steak & Kidney Pies ever again. As said above, I haven't yet tried the chicken version, and it could be likely that they are delicious - as soon as I have got around to trying one, I shall give my own verdict on DooYoo and hope that they are indeed one helluva lot better than the steak & kidney variety.
Thumbs pressed firmly downwards Pukka - I found your steak & kidney pie verging on repugnant....tasteless (apart from the pepper), horrible consistency gravy, mediocre pastry, and get rid of the fat from your meat please before you deem it fit for sale - would be nice if you used proper meat too! The only thing I can say which is even remotely in favour of this pie, is that it is a reasonable size....but bearing in mind how terrible it tastes and how poor quality it is, that on reflection could be a disadvantage.
Thanks for reading!