There seems to be a lot of pie around Prague all of a sudden. Not that I’m complaining.
You may have heard about two recently established Prague pie purveyors, The Pie Shop and Prague Pie Hole, but since neither has a permanent premises yet you might be wondering if it’s worth tracking them down and placing an order. I went to find out.
The Pie Shop apparently sprung up last month and sells savoury British/Australian style pies, and Prague Pie Hole, which is still gearing up for business, offers sweet, American-style pies.
The Pie Shop must be the only pie shop ever known to have had its own launch party, but then, this isn’t just any old pie. This Welsh, Australian and Czech team have decided it’s time someone filled the pie-shaped gap in the market, and they’ve given the humble pie a somewhat upmarket makeover.
Their recipes are a fair bit more creative than the meat and potato pies that are so popular back home (that’s in Lancashire, England). They’ve incorporated flavours from their three countries, and named the pies accordingly after different cities.
Along with some fellow pie tasters, I tried The Sydney, described as “Beef and black beer badness”. The flavour was spot on, rich without a hint of bitterness from the beer. There was a good amount of meat in the filling, along with tender carrots, but unfortunately most of the meat was very fatty. The thick shortcrust pastry was quite dry, and more gravy in the filling would have been very welcome.
Our favourite was The Prague, with a slow-cooked pork goulash filling. This warming, well-spiced, tomatoey filling was absolutely delicious – who knew goulash could work so well in a pie? The pastry was also a little softer on this one, too. We loved the tender chunks of pork – the only disappointment was that our pie contained very few of them.
The chicken and leek pie, known as The London, has a little bacon inside too. Their website says it’s “perfect with a glass of white wine”. I can’t say I’ve ever had wine with pie. What I did drink with this pie though was several glasses of water, as the whole thing was pretty dried out. This time, the filling also seemed dry, the meat even visibly so, which was a shame as there was plenty of it in there, the flavours were good, and it would have otherwise been a very nice pie indeed. Maybe sitting in the warm display cabinet had taken its toll.
These weren’t like any pies I’ve had at home, so didn’t have much “comfort food” appeal for me. But it’s an interesting concept – the goulash pie was definitely a winner – and though all the pies we tried were a little dry, its early days for The Pie Shop and I’ll be back to check out their other offerings. These pies are definitely worth trying.
All were priced differently. I’m not sure of the exact prices, but they were somewhere between 70-80kc each. There’s no permanent shop premises yet, but from now until December 24th they can be found at the IP Pavlova Christmas Market, and you can find out more at www.pieshop.cz
Meanwhile, Prague Pie Hole is gearing up to open for business soon, offering pies of the sweet variety, and they have a list on their Facebook page of all sorts of delicious-sounding pies we’re not so familiar with in the UK. Despite not being quite open yet, they’re already getting plenty of attention from pie fans.
Lisa, the Pie Artist (how’s that for an awesome job title?), recommended that I try the Salted Caramel Apple and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream pies. They’re available in either large or small sizes, for 400 or 200kc. I took a small version of each.
When I opened up the boxes I found the “small” pies were bigger than I’d imagined. Lisa also recommended that I taste the Salted Caramel Apple Pie first, as the other pie was so much richer, so that’s exactly what I did.
I expected it to be pretty good, and the first bite confirmed it. But as I took another bite, and another, I found that it was much, much better than that. The crust was buttery, yet light. Flaky, crunchy on top, but not at all dry. The tender, light slices of apple tasted very fresh, the caramel wasn’t overpowering, and worked perfectly with the occasional savoury kick from the few grains of salt sprinkled on top. The pie tasted as fresh as if it had been baked an hour ago. As soon as I’d finished my piece I also discovered that it was extremely moreish! It’s hard enough to find faults with pie, but this one was in a league of its own.
I don’t know a great deal about American-style pies, though I have had this before in the US, and even helped make some when working in a Cape Cod bakery. I remember thinking the salted caramel flavour was overpowering. I wasn’t particularly impressed. This time, I thought the balance of flavours and textures was perfect.
The Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream pie was all new to me, so I’ll just do my best to describe it. It’s made of, I believe, peanut butter and whipped cream, with chocolate and chopped peanuts on top and a rich chocolate cookie crumb base. For anyone who’s never had it, the easiest way to describe it would be to say it has the same flavours as a Snickers bar – but better, if you can imagine that! Prague Pie Hole describe it as “sinfully delicious”, and it really is.
It’s intense and indulgent, and a small piece was enough. This small pie could easily be cut into six or even eight pieces. I can’t say if this pie tasted the way it’s “supposed” to taste, but it was delicious, and everyone who tried it loved it!
You can see the full list of their pies and find out more on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Praguepiehole
EDIT – since this was written, the English-style chip shop Ryby & Chips opened up at the end of December. It also sells pies – classic flavours like cheese and onion, beef and ale and chicken and mushroom. I tried the chicken and mushroom, and it was better than the pies found in most chip shops at home. This one has a flaky, buttery shortcrust top, was full of flavour, well seasoned and not at all dry. Not the best I’ve ever had anywhere, but the best I’ve had in Prague, at 65kc.
Have you spotted anywhere else selling pies in Prague? If you’ve tried either Prague Pie Hole or The Pie Shop yourself, please leave a comment and let us know what you thought!