I really never expected to find proper English pies here! [My mum is English, so we grew up with her home-made ones] But, you can and they are excellent. The Leek and Thistle Pie Company has been around here since 2006 and their popularity is growing.
As Mark Hughes tells the tale; the idea for his business came about while having a few pints with a friend – I also have had a few schemes hatched that way – only his worked. So after many pastry trials, he developed a flaky and delicious crust to hold all of his marvelous fillings. And since he is making English pies, these include meat and fruit offerings.
The pies are truly hand-made – no hi tech dough sheeters here; each and every crush is rolled and pinched by Mark along with the lattice crusts, are cut individually. This process is repeated on average, 150 times a day. Add to this, he makes all the amazing fillings; Chicken with a creamy Leek and Mushrooms, Steak –marinated in Guinness – with Carrots Onions and Thyme, a Fisherman’s Pie – no pastry – but topped with Parslied-creamy Mashed Potatoes. While many of the pies have simple ingredients, they are so comforting to enjoy. To me that is the essence of very good food – nourishing to both the body and the soul.
The day I was there, he was crafting a selection of fruit pies, Blackberries and Apples, Cranberries and Peach. The fruit is the main star here – chunks of the fruit with a bit of sugar and spice to compliment it. Each pie has it’s own mark on the top to help you identify it – cool! Mark has readied his English holiday mincemeat for the upcoming season. He has a very limited supply of the very best true mincemeat I have had since my mum used to make it – soaked in liquor and containing suet and beef. Charles Dickens would be satisfied, as I was taken back to my own childhood memories of holidays past by the filling’s aroma and taste.
The Leek and Thistle also makes a selection of Savoury Quiches – I had a Camembert and Leek variety. Wonderfully creamy and perfectly ripe cheese accented by the slightly sweet sautéed Leeks. Simply delicious. In addition, they are working on a gluten free version of their pies – using local corn – which should be readied in the near future.
Mark is at the Farmer’s Market every weekend and at his shop on Hamburgo Street in the Colonia Versailles district of Vallarta.