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The first pies, called ‘coffins’ or ‘coffyns’, were savoury meat pies where the crusts or pastry was tall and straight-sided with sealed-on floors and lids. Open-crust pastry (without tops or lids) was known as ‘traps’. These pies held assorted meats and sauce components and were baked more like a modern casserole with no pan (the crust itself was the pan, its pastry tough and inedible). The purpose of a pastry shell was mainly to serve as a storage container and serving vessel, and these are often too hard to actually eat. A small pie was known as a tartlet and a tart was a large, shallow open pie (this is still the definition in England). Since pastry was a staple ingredient in medieval menus, pastry making was taken for granted by the majority of early cookbooks and recipes are not usually included. It wasn't until the 16th century that cookbooks with pastry ingredients began appearing. Historians believe this was because cookbooks started appearing for the general household and not just for professional cooks.

The origins of the pie can loosely be traced back to the ancient Egyptians. The bakers to the pharaohs incorporated nuts, honey and fruits in bread dough – a primitive form of pastry. Drawings of this can be found etched on the tomb walls of Ramses II, located in the Valley of the Kings. King Ramses II was the third pharaoh in the nineteenth dynasty. Historians believe that the Greeks actually originated pie pastry. Pies during this period were made using a flour-water paste wrapped around meat, which served to cook the meat and seal in the juices. The Romans, sampling the delicacy, carried home recipes (a prize of victory when they conquered Greece). The wealthy and educated Romans used various types of meat in every course of the meal, including the dessert course (secundae mensea). According to historical records, oysters, mussels, lampreys and other meats and fish were normal in Roman puddings. It is thought that the puddings were a lot like pies. The delights of the pie spread throughout Europe, via the Roman roads, where every country adapted the recipes to their customs and foods.

Puckles takes pies seriously. We use only the best fillings – with hormone-free beef and free-range chicken. Our range features the classic meat pie as well as cracked pepper, vegetable, curried chicken, steak and onion, mushroom, bacon and cheese, angus beef, and more. We are very particular about our pastry too. If it’s to be a great pie, it has to be something you’d proudly serve your family and friends. That’s what we serve at Puckles.

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