So after much rumination and cogitation, we can finally announce the eight semi finalists who will go through to the final at Hall & Woodhouse Bath on Thursday 6 March. In no particular order they are… drum roll, please (or, better still, some of that tense music they play before the eliminations on the X Factor)…
1.Mitch Adams’s Slow-cooked diced venison and beetroot pie filling made with juniper, Poacher’s Choice and stock
2.Ben Hutchins’ Tangle Foot stewed pork cheek with braised fennel, garlic and star anise in a suet crust
3.Russell Clarke’s Shortcrust pastry top and bottom. Filling of wild mushrooms, acorn (or similar) squash, puy lentils and Poacher's Choice
4.Kevin Wooton’s Stilton and roast pear pie
5.Laura Hadland’s Badger Golden Glory spiced pumpkin pie
6.Sarah Maclean’s Blandford Flyer ginger pecan pie
7.Bernie McTaggart’s Golden Champion A shortcrust pastry bottom, chicken balti filling with a hint of first gold and an onion bhaji topper.
8.Neal Biddle’s Pheasant, fig, beetroot, shallot and Poacher’s Choice pie
Now, if reading that hasn’t made you want to reach for a big slice of homemade pie I don’t know what will. Good luck to all our winners – and may the best pie win on March 6!