The organizers of a Wiltshire Bake Off contest are calling on cooks to urgently find a new way to bake their town’s traditional pie.
Organizers of the Devizes Food and Drink Festival say the age-old recipe of using a calf’s head, brain, testes or ovaries does not match the city’s modernization image.
Promoters for the week-long festival, which begins tomorrow (Saturday September), fear the cooks will be pushed back to enter a contest to recreate the age-old recipe for Devizes Pie.
They made a last minute appeal to bakers to organize a “bake” for a pie more suited to today’s tastes.
A spokesperson for the festival said, “It’s fun for a city to have its own pie, but the old recipe uses cuts of meat that just don’t appeal to a modern, more affluent audience.
“We felt it was time for a revival by looking for a new recipe that would be more suited to today’s palates. We would love to have a pie that Devizes can be proud of.”
Chris Gay, Mayor of Devizes, said: “I ate a Devizes pie made from the original old recipe and it is definitely not a pie that many modern pie eaters would like.
“A delicious new Devizes pie, to add to all of our other tasty local specialties, is a wonderful idea.”
The competition will now have two categories – a meat pie and a vegetarian pie – and keen cooks can enter their version through the festival’s website, www.devizesfoodanddrinkfestival.info.
The original recipe for the city’s signature dish, which dates back to the 19th century, is a vegetarian’s nightmare.
The recipe, first published in 1829 in The Magazine Of Modern Economy, asks cooks to “boil a calf’s head, cut it into very thin slices, with part of the brain, add slices of marinated tongue, sweetbreads, lamb, veal, a few slices of bacon and a few hard-boiled eggs.
Layer them in a pie dish with plenty of seasoning between cayenne, white pepper, allspice and salt. Fill the dish with a rich sauce that will gel when cold.
Cover with a dough made from flour and water; make a hole in the middle. Bake in a low oven for about an hour. When it is perfectly cold, remove the crust and turn the pie over on a platter; and garnish with parsley and sliced marinated eggs ”.
Sweetbreads are the culinary name for types of offal that can include an animal’s throat, ear, ovaries, and testes.
Some cooking historians claim that Devizes Pie originated in the 15th century, but the details of the dish were lost for generations until a recipe was discovered in the 1960s and the dish was then served at the Bear Hotel. in Devizes for several years.
It was also tasted by the late Terry Wogan when he sampled it at the Black Swan in Devizes for his television series The Great British Food Trip.
Oddly, in 2009 it was claimed that Devizes Pie can relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome due to the large amounts of nucleotides found in organ meats. According to scientists, the nucleotides help restore the intestinal lining and may relieve symptoms of IBS.