The power of pie
In the early 1900s, the US was at war - over pie.
Food reformers wanted to break the nation’s devotion to the “unmoral food”, alleging pie eaters were “all dyspeptic” with “sallow complexions” and “lusterless or unnaturally bright eyes”, while the traditionalists considered it “an article of necessity in every household as much as the bed and cook stove” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 1899).
In 1902, the New York Times even touted it as “the food of the heroic” and “the American synonym of prosperity … as anyone who knows the secret of our strength as a nation and the foundation of our industrial supremacy must admit. No pie-eating people can ever be permanently vanquished.”
The Scots hold a similar regard for their Scotch pie, which has been enjoyed for the past 500 years or so. No one knows quite where its origins stem from, however, the pie was uniquely suited to fuel the working life of industrial Scotland with its tough shell of lard-based hot water crust pastry encasing a hearty feast of highly spiced mutton, lamb or beef.
Rooting out the great and the good
Today, Scotch pies are often sold with a drink of Bovril at football grounds, hence the occasional reference to football pies. And aligned with the changing flow of consumer tastes, the pie has morphed and emerged in many new guises.
For the past 20 years, Scottish Bakers has celebrated the humble pie to raise the bar in the industry.
“The World Championship Scotch Pie Awards has been good for our two trades for over 20 years, bringing bakers & butchers closer together and sharing our many common skills, strengths, worries and successes. Let’s keep it that way and continue to celebrate our wonderful Scotch Pie,” said Alan Stuart, a butcher & baker from Buckhaven, who formed the Scotch Pie Club in 1999 to raise its profile.
Scottish Bakers has again thrown open the challenge to the Scottish community in its search to root out the best of the best to be crowned World Champion of 2024.
The hotly contested annual search for pie perfection provides entrants the opportunity to show off their skills and put their prized pies to the test by a host of independent experts who will carefully consider each and every entry.
“We are delighted to be launching the World Scotch Pie Championships for 2023/4 and its my first one so I can’t wait,” said Lesley Cameron, recently appointed CEO of Scottish Bakers.
“We know there are hundreds of hard working butchers, bakers and other pie makers who bake perfect pies day in and day out and now it’s time for them to put their products to the ultimate test.”
In addition to Scotch pies, registered bakers, butchers and other pie makers are invited to enter their showstoppers across 10 categories, including Scotch Pie, Football Pies & Savouries, Macaroni Pie, Steak Pie, Sausage Roll, Hot Savoury, Vegetarian Savoury, Haggis Savoury, Bridie and Apple Pies.
Online entry registration is open until 31 October and products should be delivered to Dunfermline on 15 November 2023 for judging.
Awards will be given to the best in each category, while the winner of the Scotch Pie category will be declared as the World Champion.
Proudly sponsored by
This year, Scottish Bakers is shining a light on the sponsors who make this competition possible, including overall awards partner and Scotch Pie category sponsor Bako, a leading supplier of bakery products and ingredients.
The Apple Pie category is sponsored by Carr’s Flour, which has been milling flour in the UK for almost 200 years.
Rondo, manufacturer of machines and systems for the production of pastry of all types - which it terms ‘dough-how’ - sponsors the Football Pie category.
The Sausage Roll category is sponsored by Fleming Howden, long renowned for sourcing, manufacturing and distributing a wide range of bakery ingredients and yeast products.
The Steak Pie category is sponsored by DMD 2000, a UK-based food packaging manufacturer specialising in thermoformed packaging and trays.
Bakery ingredient supplier Andrew Ingredients sponsors the Hot Savoury category, while pasta manufacturer Marshalls sponsors the Macaroni Pie category.
The Haggis Savoury category is sponsored by Dalziel Group which produces seasoning blends and ingredients, frozen and chilled meat, butchery supplies, crumb and battering systems and industrial food machinery.
Finally, the Vegetarian Savoury category is sponsored by ingredient producer Macphie.
Scottish Bakers has been supporting and protecting the interests of Scotland's bakery trade for over 130 years. It celebrates excellence in the sector through both the World Championship Scotch Pie Awards and The Scottish Baker of the Year Awards.