Is This The Ultimate Pie?

By Jo Cooksey

Is there anything more Northern than a pie? It is the forerunner of convenience food and successive generations, myself included have been raised on them. A wintry, wet Saturday at the football isn’t complete without a steaming cup of Bovril and a warming meat and potato pie. What would a Northern buffet table be without a stack of pork pies, all glistening and golden? Hot, cold, meaty, or cheesy, there is a plethora of choice.

Now there is a new pie vying for the attention of Northern pastry lovers. Three Yorkshire companies have joined forces to bring us the Proper Steak and Henderson’s pie and by gum is it a good ‘un.

Those living on the Lancashire side of the Pennines might be scratching their heads and wondering what is this Henderson’s Relish you speak of? Those on the Yorkshire side will be nodding in delighted recognition at the mention of their staple tea table condiment. This little bottle of ‘the black stuff’ isn’t a relish in terms of being of a chutney consistency. It is a piquant sauce, not unlike Lea & Perrin’s and in a similar shaped bottle but with a softer, spicy tang. Henderson Relish has been blended to its original secret recipe in Sheffield since 1885 and has been in the ownership of the same family since 1940.

The pie came about because Henderson’s customers have been splashing the sauce on to their pies and in to stews since it’s inception and the company wondered if they could combine the three to make their own signature dish. They joined forces with The Proper Pasty Group of Sheffield and Huddersfield pie maker, Jones Pies, who encase the slow cooked steak and Henderson’s in a crispy, hot water crust.

General Manager, Matt Davies remarked, “We are very proud of this pie, which tastes amazing. It’s a new step on the exciting Henderson’s journey and we are confident of its success.

“These are exciting times for Henderson’s, as we invest in new machinery to boost our expansion drive across Yorkshire and beyond. The new pie will raise the profile of our relish across the north, which complements our expansion drive perfectly,” he added.

The owner and Managing Director of Jones Pies, Tony Risso-Gill was similarly enthusiastic about the new product. “This is a cracking initiative for us, launching a new pie with such an iconic brand as Henderson’s. We are proud of our Yorkshire roots and are keen to use Yorkshire products, such as Henderson’s Relish from Sheffield, Bradshaw’s flour from Driffield or beer from Ossett Brewery. This ticks all the boxes and we are confident that our pie will be a tremendous success.”

Jones Pies kindly sent us some to try and I can report that they are indeed an excellent pie. In our opinion there is no better piecrust than hot water pastry. It holds together well, especially when eating with your hands and isn’t as susceptible to a soggy bottom as other types when faced with a wet filling. Under the golden crust it is clear to see that these pies have been generously filled, with good sized, slow cooked chunks of steak, swathed in a rich, unctuous Henderson’s Relish gravy. Bliss!

Already being stocked in the Co-op, Parfetts Cash and Carry, delis and independents across the North, the Hendo’s pie is shortly due to be on the shelves of major supermarkets. The individual (210g) pies are in the chiller cabinets and will also soon be available in larger plate and slab sizes for the whole family to enjoy.

We also heard on the pie grapevine that there is a lot of interest coming from football clubs. The Saturday afternoon, hand-warming treat just got more exciting.

Photos: © Henderson's Relish& Taste Today