the complete pie spectrum

In a mere 72 hours, I have eaten pies from both ends of the spectrum ~ hideous and exceptional and conclude there is one I will never eat again and the other I would happily have again for dinner.

Sunday night just gone; the day went by in a flash. Sydney experienced a lovely flash of summer with the sunshine out under clear blue skies. Somehow organisation also flew out the window and it was suddenly 8pm and apart from baby ELG, no one had eaten anything since lunch. Opening the pantry to peruse options, I remembered that I had succumbed to a running joke and bought a pie in a can the week before at Coles. I first heard of this unimaginable creation from a girlfriend at work. Her Dad loved them and to be honest, it was a case of disbelief, dismay and plenty of laughter that a steak and kidney pie could survive in a can, let alone be eaten and enjoyed. I have since discovered that this dust-collecting bottom shelf pie, Fray Bentos has quite the silent following of fans. There is even a Facebook page named the Fray Bentos Appreciation Society and I am not surprised to learn it is a Brit thing. A good friend also has several stocked in the pantry and in the case of when no one can be bothered to cook, the oven is preheated to 230 degrees C, the can opened and 20 mins later dinner is ready. As this good friend is quite the food connoisseur, I finally gave in and placed one in my trolley. Following the instructions and opening the oven after the set time, the pie in the can has a lovely looking puff pastry top and is oozing steam. Surprisingly it is actually looking ok.

Ten minutes later and I know I have spoken too soon. There is an oily residue in my mouth and I start to wonder just how long the pieces of kidney have been there. Not wanting to think about it too much anymore, the rest is binned and at least I can say I tried it but never again!

Fast forward to today and I am reminded that fresh is always best. Midday has passed, the tummy is whispering “what’s for lunch” and I just happen to be passing Black Star Pastry on Australia Street in Newtown where there is that familiar buttery pastry smell wafting out. With not much room inside for my stroller but plenty of room for sourdough olive baguettes, raisin cobs, macarons, pastries and a selection of pies and sausage rolls, I make a quick purchase and resist the urge to have a crazy in-the-car eat attack and make it home just in time. My lamb shank pie is literally glowing as I stare at it in its box. Licking my lips, I drizzle tomato sauce across the top and this pie is devoured in seconds.

Thankfully the pie in a can has not scarred me permanently and my pie love affair continues. The Fray Bentos experience is now long forgotten and instead, I wonder when can I go back to Black Star again?

And one last thing…are you a secret Fray Bentos fan?


Black Star Pastry @ 277 Australia Street Newtown, NSW 2042

One comment

  1. Marion Corbett · September 1, 2011

    i have fond memories of the Fray Bentos pie as a pantry fall back. They used to do a steak and mushroom which is nicer than the steak and kidney.
    Of course it doesn’t really compare to anything from Black Star…


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