“ Type: Meat „
This was the first meal I had tried from Aunt Bessie's. It was more the side dishes that I went for from her range, and of course the desserts as well, but since the other stuff was nice then I thought this would be just as good. I like how Aunt bessie's always tastes home made, although you know it is massed produced.
This was a large Steak Pie. Since we like a good bit pie in out house, we decided to cook the whole thing and have half each. Of course we had to have Chips and that as well. The wife was daunted about the size of the bit Pie as it looked huge, but it sort of looked the right size for a good enough meal. I don't have the pack to hand but think this was 500g.
We picked this up on offer when it was £1. I think the right price is around £1.60. It is frozen and you just cook in the oven from frozen. This took about 30 minutes to cook. The top part of it looked a medium brown colour and the pastry looked quite flaky and crisp.
Since you just cooked this in the foil tray, you had to try and get this out of the foil. It was sort of messy, but the wife cut the top layer of Pastry in half, put that on the plates, and then scooped the Steak and Gravy out. Not too messy, but fiddly enough. This usually happens with Pies that we buy anyway.
So how did this taste? It was alright. I thought that the pastry was light enough, flaky and not that greasy. It did seem to have a bit grease to it, but not that bad. The Gravy wasn't that thick and a little bit runnier than I thought it would be. It tasted Meaty and seasoned and the Steak pieces were soft and broke up easily. They didn't taste grizzly or fatty. I could have happily had a few more steak bits and some more gravy, as although it wasn't dry inside, it could have been that bit moister I would say.
Nice enough Pie that I would buy again and even the right price of this would be alright to pay as it made a good enough meal.
We don't eat that much pie but Cool Trader has started selling these Aunt Bessies Steak Pies for £1.69 and that's a wicked price because one square pie easily feeds all 5 of us, with mash and peas it makes a lovely comforting meal.
The filling is pure steak and a thick meaty gravy. I love how well cooked the steak is, there's no fat or gristle on the meat at all and there's an absolute load of steak in the pie. The pieces are thickish strips and every fork full of pie will come with at least one piece of yummy steak. The steak is lovely and tender too, it's cooked loads better than most steak that comes in frozen pies like this.
The pastry is delish. The top of the pie is crusty and proper flakey when you cut through it, but the sides and the bottom have gone soft in the gravy. I prefer the softer pastry because it tastes so stodgy and meaty and has got a gorgeous buttery floury flavour.
The gravy is delish. It's got a bit of a peppery taste and is so meaty that the flavour of the beef comes through in it, it's thick and very rich and I have never tasted such yummy pie gravy.
I love this steak pie and think it's the best frozen one ever. For the sake of cooking it in the oven for about 40 minutes it's loads easier than making your own pie and actually tastes loads nicer too! lol
I am a huge steak pie fan and will give any pie a try! I got a voucher for this pie and decided to try it out. This is one of the best pies I have tried, the steak is in meaty chunks not that horrible gristle you get from so many cheaper pies. The gravy was thick and beefy and came oouzing out when I put my fork in. The pastry is a shortcrust pastry and people may know that this type of pastry can get a bit thick and stodgy on your stomach but in this pie the pastry was golden and crispy on the top and held the gravy and steak in well - no spillage like with some pies. In one sittin gi managed to eat the whole pie however I would not recommend this - get a friend or two to share it! A fabulous pie, better than my gran used to make
I have always been partial to a meat pie and often prefer to have pie from the fish and chip shop than a nice piece of cod. I have also been a fan of Aunt Bessies products and have been buying her Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes for a while now. Consequently when I saw that she had side stepped into making pies I knew I would have to try them as her other products were high in my estimations.
The product type I brought were the steak pies and you can purchase these in either a family box with one large pie inside or as four individual ones, and it was these that I tried first.
Taking the pies out of the box, the four frozen oblong shapes look like every other average frozen pie you can get on the market, although they did seem to be a little less floury on the top which is a bonus for me as the flour on other (cheaper) frozen pies leaves a distinctly nasty feel on your fingers after handling them. There was no residue left after placing these onto a baking tray to cook in the oven.
25 minutes later and I had four luscious looking, golden brown pies ready to be served up with mashed potato, peas and gravy. Unfortunately I encountered some problems in getting the pies out of their foil trays. Two of the pies slipped straight out after a gentle shake and arrived on the plates, right side up and in one piece. However the remaining two pies, stuck to the bottom of the individual foil tray they had been cooked in and I eventually had to resort to sliding a knife under the pie to release it from the foil. To my dismay however, this meant that the bottom of the pie had already split and the pies ended up on the plate with their insides oozing out everywhere and torn pastry stuffed on the edge of the plate where it fell from the foil tray. Not the best in presentation but they were just the kids!! (hee hee)
Obviously myself and hubby had the decent looking ones, and I sat down eagerly to sample Aunties delights! The pastry was the first thing to be tried and I think I actually died and went to heaven. The crust of the pie was solid enough to stay together in one piece when you cut into it, making the forkful an easy size to put into your mouth. But when I bit into it the pastry just simply crumbled and melted into my mouth. The smoothness of it was delicious and the buttery taste left me wanting more.
I had deliberately not put too much gravy on my plate as I didnt want to spoil the first taste of this pie and the pastry was by no means affected by this. I have had pies where I have needed to smother it in gravy, either to soften it up or moisten it up, but this pastry was perfect. It didnt leave me thirsty and it was extremely enjoyable as a food type in its own right. Not too dry and so amazingly light that I knew I had stumbled on to a winner here.
The insides of the pie were just as delicious, however I did feel there could have been slightly more encased in the lush pastry. There seemed to be a fair amount of thick gravy oozing out but no where near as much meat as I had expected from a good brand name like Aunt Bessie. The meat that was there was perfect however; large chunks, although not too big that it needed to be cut in half to eat. It was tender and I have yet to encounter a fatty, grisly piece of meat in one of these pies. There are no other bits in here either, which is a good thing as my kids dont like mushrooms or onions in their pies and these are common additions in this type of food. It is easy enough to cook your own mushrooms to add to the side of your plate and I think it may have spoilt the simplicity of these pies if they had other ingredients added.
I would liken the steak pieces to those you can get tinned from supermarkets. It is always very tasty and very tender and coupled with the amazing pastry, which has to be the highlight of these pies, it makes for a scrumptious meal for the whole family. We all enjoy our pie and mash, and I dont think it is too unhealthy if you only have it once a fortnight or so. Of course these things are high in calories and fat but as part of a sensible balanced diet it is no big deal!
Iceland are currently selling the individual pies in steak and chicken varieties for £1.50 instead of £2.50 for four individual pies and the larger family pie, which does have the same gorgeous pastry sells for £2.00 in Iceland as well. However I do prefer the individual pies in this range as they are easier to serve, as long as you manage to get them out of their foil trays in one piece. But even if you cant at least the contents all ends up on the right plate. With the family ones it is hard to share the insides of the pie out equally as it all runs into the centre when you cut it up.
Overall though Aunt Bessie gets my vote!
AUNT BESSIE'S STEAK PIE IN RICH GRAVY
Much as I'd love to be up at 5 a.m. to wash the laundry by hand in the nearby pure flowing stream, have snowy-white sheets blowing in the breeze by 7 a.m. just in time to lovingly prepare a full cooked breakfast which is deftly slipped onto the table (yes, on a plate!) as the man of the house bimbles to the table to hide behind his newspaper whilst I pour his tea - I can't be faffed.
I used to make my own pastry and pies (steak in gravy being a favourite), but it dawned on me a while ago that you're a long time dead and time could be better spent climbing the Matterhorn or at the very least filing my nails.
Therefore, I developed the finely honed skill of cooking speedily
prepared but nourishing meals. Salad and chips are OK in the summer, but come the winter, himself prefers something a little more substantial after a hard day's graft. And so it was, after a few false starts, I finally discovered a range of semi-prepared frozen meals that are not only tasty, but value for money.
AUNT BESSIE'S STEAK PIE IN A RICH GRAVY is one such 'convenience' food with added kudos of tasting home-made. At 800g, there's more than enough to feed two hungry adults and at a cost of £3.29 at my local Co-op, that works out at £1.65 per person. Lots left over for a new nail file.
The golden shortcrust pastry can't be faulted. The texture is 'short', and I would say it comes very close to resembling home-made pastry that's been made with a light hand. It's not perfect, of course, and pastry purists will disagree but I find it perfectly acceptable. Some pastries look, smell and taste of rather unpleasant, cheap cooking fats. Aunt Bessies's pastry looks as if she has lovingly made each and every pie case with pure butter.
The pie measures approximately 183mm (7 inches) x 220mm (8.5 inches), with the pastry crust just under 2mm (1/8") thick, which is the way I like my pastry - not too thick. The depth of the pie is about 37mm (1.5 inches).
Served in a tinfoil pie-dish, the pastry comes about 4mm (¼") over the edge of the dish and is nicely fluted (whether by a special decoration tool or an old set of gnashers, I'm not sure) and the edging is not too thick. I think that's important because some pies come with a huge wodge of pastry all round the edge and though that may make the pie look substantial, it's actually cheating.
In the listed ingredients it says '19% Beef' (and it's third on the list of a total of 15 ingredients.) I was very surprised to see this, because Aunt Bessie is not mean with her meat portions.
The beef was chunky and succulent. Neither my husband or I came across any nasty gristly bits. (On the packaging, it warns that whilst extra care has been taken to remove bones, some bones may remain. We've had about 6 of these pies now and I'm happy to report I haven't found any bones in my pies.)
Delicious! It's not a very thick gravy, but substantial and great with mashed potato. It's rich, brown and most importantly is tasty without being salty. I checked the ingredients again, and salt is 14th on the list of those 15 ingredients, so you can see just how low in salt this product is.
The gravy really is something Aunt Bessie should be proud of and I only hope the company doesn't do what other companies have done in the past when vying for consumer attention: they slap the word "Improved!" onto a product and all that seems to mean is they sprinkle about couple of teaspoons of salt (sodium) into the mix and quite apart from the product being a health risk, it is also made unbearably salty.
Everyone's taste is different so all I can say is that I recommend this pie if you prefer your food to be tasty as against salty and that as a rule, you are not in the habit of sprinkling salt onto your food before you've even tasted it. In our house, we don't even put the salt and pepper on the table and a packet of cooking salt can last me a very, very long time!
The pie, which is cooked straight from the freezer, is first removed from its cardboard carton but left in its foil container, then you just pop the pie, (there's no plastic film to try and get off either - another faff-free plus!), into a pre-heated oven for 50-55 minutes. I found it cooked nicely in just under an hour on the middle shelf of an electric oven on 200°C. Full cooking instructions for different ovens are, of course, provided.
When the pie is cooked through and the pastry is golden brown in colour, you just cut it in half - still in the container - and your tastebuds will tingle when you see the brown, juicy gravy oozing from the pastry.
A full list of ingredients is marked on the box, and are very easily read. I do note that there is Lactic Acid in the mix, if that's of any help to those who have a lactic intolerance. I won't put the full list of ingredients because as well as being unnecessary and boring, I would assume that if you do have intolerances, you'd have the sense to check the box before you buy!
Aunt Bessie has a website: www.auntbessie.co.uk which regularly run fun competitions and special offers. I am a proud member of Aunt Bessie's club and even have a certificate to prove it!
© Louise Saunders
Cook from frozen for delicious golden shortcrust pastry deep filled with succulent chunks of steak cooked in a rich gravy.