Hot water crust meat pies are a classic British dish, celebrated for their hearty and savory filling encased in a golden, crispy crust. These pies have a long history and remain a beloved comfort food to this day. Making a hot water crust meat pie may seem intimidating at first, but with the right guidance and a bit of patience, you can create a delicious pie that will impress your friends and family. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of making a hot water crust meat pie from scratch.
For the Crust:
1. 500g all-purpose flour
2. 200ml water
3. 200g lard (or a mixture of lard and butter)
4. A pinch of salt
5. 1 egg (for egg wash, optional)
For the Filling:
1. 500g minced or ground meat (traditional options include pork, beef, or a mixture of both)
2. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
3. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
4. 1 carrot, finely diced
5. 1 celery stalk, finely diced
6. 1 tsp dried thyme
7. Salt and black pepper to taste
8. A splash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
9. Beef or vegetable stock (for making a gravy)
10. An egg (for egg wash)
Tools and Equipment
1. Mixing bowls
2. Rolling pin
3. Pastry brush
4. 20cm pie tin
6. Frying pan
7. Wooden spoon
Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making a hot water crust meat pie.
Step 1: Prepare the Filling
1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add a little oil.
2. Add the minced meat and cook until browned.
3. Remove the meat from the pan and set it aside.
4. In the same pan, add a bit more oil if needed and sauté the chopped onion, garlic, carrot, and celery until they soften.
5. Add the browned meat back into the pan and season the mixture with salt, black pepper, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce (if using).
6. Cook the mixture for a few minutes, then set it aside to cool.
Step 2: Make the Hot Water Crust
1. In a saucepan, heat the water and lard (or lard and butter) over low heat. Allow the fats to melt into the water, then bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and a pinch of salt.
3. Pour the hot liquid mixture into the bowl with the flour.
4. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.
5. Allow the dough to cool for a few minutes but keep it pliable.
Step 3: Shape the Crust and Fill the Pie
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
2. Divide the dough into two portions: one slightly larger for the base and one for the lid.
3. Roll out the larger portion on a floured surface to line the base and sides of your pie tin.
4. Fill the lined tin with your cooled meat mixture.
5. Roll out the smaller dough portion to create the pie’s lid.
6. Place the lid on top of the meat-filled base.
7. Crimp the edges together to seal the pie, and make a small hole in the center to allow steam to escape.
8. Optionally, beat an egg and use it as an egg wash to brush over the pie, giving it a beautiful golden finish.
Step 4: Bake the Pie
1. Place the pie in the preheated oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is piping hot.
2. If the crust begins to brown too quickly, cover the pie with aluminum foil.
Step 5: Make the Gravy
1. While the pie is baking, you can make a simple gravy to serve with the pie.
2. In a saucepan, combine the beef or vegetable stock with any remaining meat mixture.
3. Heat the mixture, stirring until it thickens into a gravy-like consistency.
Step 6: Serve and Enjoy
1. Once the pie is cooked and out of the oven, allow it to cool for a few minutes before serving.
2. Slice the hot water crust meat pie, and serve it with a generous helping of the homemade gravy.
Making a hot water crust meat pie from scratch is a rewarding culinary adventure. While the process may seem complex, it becomes easier with practice. The result is a delicious, savory pie with a crispy crust that is sure to impress your family and friends. Whether served as a hearty meal or a delightful picnic treat, hot water crust meat pie is a classic British dish that continues to stand the test of time. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and get ready to savor the warmth and comfort of this traditional dish.