As a self confessed pork pie - oholic, whose weight bears this out, I enjoyed reading the recent feature article in The Star about Konrad Kempka who owns a butcher’s shop on Abbeydale Road.
His Polish origin and business history made for very interesting reading. What caught my eye was the mention of his renowned Sheffield pork pies. Since coming to Sheffield in 1992, I have not been impressed by the quality of the pork pies on offer in the local butcher shops and particularly the supermarkets.
In the supermarkets, a well known brand of pork pies manufactured in Melton Mowbray is on the shelves. I have found these pies to have a hard dry crust, often over cooked and a distinct lack of gelatine to moisten and flavour the pastry and tasteless pork filling. Supermarket own brands are of a similar poor quality.
How refreshing therefore to pay a visit to Konrad’s establishment to sample his home made pies. Travelling from Shirecliffe to Abbeydale Road on Tuesday afternoon, I was not best pleased to arrive and find that his shop was closed. I telephoned him on Wednesday and he explained that he did not open on Monday and Tuesday and apologised for my wasted journey.
I telephoned again on Thursday and he told me that he had just baked a fresh batch of pies and they were cooling down. I told him that I liked plenty of gelatine in my lightly baked pies and he immediately offered to top up two of them with extra gelatine. He put them to one side and I collected them later in the day. I have just sampled one of them and I must admit that it is the best I have tasted. Soft pastry crust, not over cooked, plenty of tasty pork filling, and most important to me, plenty of gelatine which moistens both the pastry and the filling. An excellent pie Konrad and you are to be congratulated on your prowess.
My previously published letters to The Star have mainly been about political matters, and in contrast I am now writing about the vastly different topic of pork pies. It is ironic that in Parliament, politics and ‘pork pies’ often go hand in hand!
Busk Meadow. Sheffield, S5