When builder Edward Harrison came up with a novel idea of what to do with his left-over Sunday lunch it changed his life. Catherine Scott meets him.
“I was just driving along one day and my mind was wandering and I just suddenly thought ‘why can’t I make a pie out of a Yorkshire pudding instead of pastry,’” says former builder Edward Harrison.
“We’d had a big roast chicken Sunday lunch and I couldn’t see why we just couldn’t put the leftovers inside a Yorkshire pudding. I did it and it worked. My wife said someone else must have thought of it.”
But when the Harrisons looked on the internet for every derivative of Yorkshire pudding pie they could think of, they still came up blank.
“We were amazed to find that nobody had ever made a Yorkshire pudding pie before, it seemed like a natural choice as an alternative to pastry.
“Who doesn’t love Yorkshire pudding? It was then we realised we had the makings of a business, especially when my father-in-law said we should protect the method.”
And so the Yorkshire Pudding Pie company was created in January last year.
The exact way the pies are made still remains a closely guarded secret, but Edward admits it did take months to get the perfect pie, with crispy Yorkshire pudding, no soggy bottom and a lid that stays on and doesn’t leak.
The pies themselves are gaining in popularity with thousands already having been sold and celebrity chef supporters including Michelin-starred Tommy Banks and Yorkshire-born Brian Turner.
“Brian tried them when he came to Malton Cookery School looking for ideas for food for Shakespeare’s village at the Rose Theatre in York earlier this year,” says the stepdad-of-two.
“When he found out how we made them he couldn’t believe it hadn’t been done either, as it is relatively simple.”
Brian Turner loved them so much that he decided to include them in the Shakespeare village (which runs until September 22) where they have been proving very popular, with thousands being sold after being freshly made on site and eaten straight from the pop-up oven – the way they should be eaten, says their creator.
“To have Brian’s backing from a personal level is great because of who he is. He had every opportunity to say they were no good if that was the case, but he does really like them. He has also given us some tips which I have found really useful as well.”
After the success of the roast chicken dinner, Edward, 40, experimented with different fillings - including sweet ones.
“I don’t think there is anything you can’t put in one of the pies, although some have been more successful than others,” says Edward, whose fillings include sausage and red onion marmalade, smoked salmon and scrambled egg, chicken and chorizo and savoury mince, and Yorkshire ‘Wagyu’ cheeseburger with mozzarella
All the fillings are sourced locally, even the eggs for the batter, many directly from the farmer, something Edward believes passionately in.
“Nearly all our meat is sourced from local farmers.
“I believe in the farmers getting a fair price and this way I know exactly when I am getting.
“Lynne and I are both from country backgrounds and have farming in both our families and so we know a lot of local farmers and it is important for us to support them.”
After testing their pies on family and friends, Lynne and Edward, from Malton, set about taking them to food festivals.
“We went to Malton Food Festival and sold out. I thought we had made masses, but we sold out on both days.”
It was at Malton Food Festival that Edward got the thumbs up from Tommy Banks, the Michelin-starred chef of the Black Swan at Oldstead.
“I knew Tommy was giving a cookery demonstration at Malton and so I tweeted him on the Monday saying it was a shame he hadn’t come to see us. He tweeted back saying ‘We did ! Had your last five Wagyu cheeseburgers very nice too.’ I was pretty chuffed about that.
Edward believed so much in his product that, with Lynne’s agreement, he gave up his building job to work on it full-time.
“Lynne knew that I wasn’t happy and although this is really hard work it is something I really, really enjoy,” says Edwards whose mum taught him how to make Yorkshire puddings.
“I didn’t enjoy building but I really enjoy cooking.”
The future is bright for the Yorkshire Pudding Pie Company with more food festivals over summer 2018 and their pop-up at the Rose Theatre which will be there until September.
The demand for the pies is so high that they have launched a website where you can buy a variety of the products.
And Edward has big plans, not just for more flavours but the move into wholesale.
“We want people to be able to enjoy them no matter where they live and also year round as food festivals are pretty seasonal affairs. From September we will be gearing ourselves up for the wholesale market.”
He is also working on a gluten-free option of his Yorkshire Pudding Pie.
“I have tried a number of different recipes for gluten-free Yorkshire pudding batter but none that I am happy with. If I wouldn’t be happy eating it, then I won’t be selling it.”
He already does a vegetarian option, but says there is no way he will enter the current trend for vegan food.
“In my view there is now way that something made without eggs or milk can be called a Yorkshire pudding.”
Yorkshire Pudding Pies are available to order in boxes of six or 12. This can be a mixed box or a box of the same variety from yorkshirepuddingpie.co.uk