Shirley Roberts - Pilling's Pie Woman and Steak and kidney pie recipe

PUBLISHED: 00:16 12 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:40 20 February 2013

Shirley Roberts - Pilling's Pie Woman and Steak and kidney pie recipe

Shirley Roberts - Pilling's Pie Woman and Steak and kidney pie recipe

Pies transformed a Pilling woman's life. Emma Mayoh reports Plus a Steak and kidney pie for you to try

Pies transformed a Pilling womans life. Emma Mayoh reports

There are few people who can credit pies with turning around their lives. But it was all things steak and kidney, pork and cheese, onion and potato that brought Shirley Roberts back from the brink. The 48-year-old had lost her job, was a single parent to Sally and Matthew, trying to make ends meet and she was stressed.

I didnt know what it do. I was really struggling to deal with things and for me baking at home was therapeutic, admitted Shirley, who runs Shirleys Homemade in Pilling. I was an absolute mess and it helped to calm me.

It was ten years ago that the home baker started making pies as well as jams and chutneys. But it was when friend, Jane Fletcher, started selling some of the treats in her caf that things really took off.

She said: One of the first markets I did, I took ten big slab pies with me. Within ten minutes Id sold out. At another market we ran out in the morning. People seem to love them.

Shirley credits her success to her simple recipes, good ingredients including Pilling potatoes and eggs as well as cheese from Dewlay. On a good week she, and the small team of people she has working for her, can produce up to 1,000 pies in more than ten different flavours. They also cook up more than 50 kilos of meat every week to go into the pies and demand to work at the factory is so high that when a job was advertised, more than 100 people applied. Some of her recipes have also been included in The Pie Society, by Tom Bridge, featured in Decembers Lancashire Life.

Shirley, who would eventually like to open up her own shops, said: Theres nothing fancy about the things we make, its just tasty local food put into pies using simple recipes and they are done well. Our pasties are huge, and they are bestsellers too.

Shirley joked her partner Raymond, a police officer, would like her to give up the pies because it takes up so much of her time. But there is not much chance of that happening.

She said: They have been the making of me and I just love what I do.

Steak and kidney pie from Shirleys Homemade


For the pastry

275g plain flour
125g margarine
125ml water
1 egg tsp salt

For the filling

450g pie beef, cut into 2.5cm cubes
450ml water
125g chopped onion
125g kidney, trimmed and cut smaller than the beef
125g mushrooms
25g beef dripping
1 level tbsp flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce


For the pastry

Sieve or mix flour and salt in a bowl. Cut the fats into small pieces, put them into a bowl and rub between fingers until mixture if like fine breadcrumbs. Add water and egg and using a round-ended knife, stir until mixture begins to bind. Then use your hands to knead lightly and quickly until dough is formed.

For the filling

Melt dripping in pan, add onion and cook for one minute. Mix beef and kidney into seasoned flour, coating well. Add to pan and stir over heat to seal.

Add water and Worcestershire Sauce, stir until boiling. Cover and simmer for around 2 hours until meat is tender, stirring occasionally

Place meat in a 750ml pie dish with about 4 tablespoons of the gravy and set aside to cool. When the meat is cold, cover with mushrooms

When this is done, brush edges of pie dish with water, lift pastry on top and press firmly. Flute edges and brush on top with milk.

Bake in a hot over at gas mark 7, 220 degrees for 20 minutes until golden. Reduce heat for 15 minutes.

Heat reserved gravy and serve with pie.

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