Pie firm joining upper crust with batch of awards

A PIE made up of chicken, ham, mushroom, buttered leeks and suet pastry beat off competition from about 900 other pies to take the top prize at the British Pie Awards.

The creation made by Wellingborough firm Dunleys was named the winner in the hot pub pie category and went on to take the top prize and be named the Supreme Champion at the awards, which took place in Melton Mowbray on Wednesday.

The firm also triumphed in the celebration pie category with its trio of mini pies, which is made up of a venison pie, a chicken and mushroom pie and a pasty.

Dunkleys pie ambassador Mark Beeston said: “It’s fantastic.

“It’s great news for Dunkleys.

“I was a bit shocked and dumbfounded.

“We have entered before and we have won gold, silver and bronze medals before, but we have never won a class so I was over the moon with two class wins.”

As well as taking home the overall top prize and the wins in two categories, Dunkleys also won 21 gold, silver and bronze medals at this year’s awards.

The firm entered about 30 pies into the contest, which was judged by a panel of 93 food experts and celebrity chefs, including TV chef Phil Vickery.

Mr Beeston said the pie which won the pub pie category had the cutting edge because the chicken thigh which goes into it is cooked slowly to make it more succulent.

The pie is filled with the chicken, Wiltshire ham, buttered leeks, mushrooms and a creamy white wine and mustard sauce.

He said: “The pastry is a suet pastry rather than traditional pastry.

“The advantage of the suet is it makes a pastry which is incredibly light so it goes golden and crispy on the outside.”

Mr Beeston said the firm made the miniature pies after demand grew for them when it originally created them as little versions of its full-sized pies to be used as tasters for potential customers.

He said the firm had decided to enter the trio into the celebration pie category because of their fun size.

Mr Beeston said: “What’s nice about the mini pies is people buy them and share them.

“We saw the idea of buying them and sharing them as being a bit of a celebration.”