Scotch pies can be the ultimate hot fast-food, eaten easily in the hand by themselves, or as a meal. They are a simply flavoured, hand-sized pie made with a strong hot-water pastry and filled with minced lamb and onion.
Their lids are designed to be lower than the top of the pie to allow gravy, the traditional accompaniment, to be poured into the steam hole of the pie and lap into the hollow. The pastry lip then keeps the gravy in place. [Yum!] As well as gravy you can also top the pies with mashed potato and peas.
The hot-water pastry is surprisingly very easy to make. It is an old-fashioned pastry traditionally used for “hand-raised pies” due to the strong structure needed to hold the solid fillings. It also includes icing sugar, which may sound strange, but it increases the richness of the pastry without being sweet.
Traditionally the pies are made using a straight sided mould, 8cm in diameter, but use whatever you have to hand around this size - jam jars or ramekins. A stand-alone mixer is a handy thing to have to, but not necessary.
Lamb Scotch Pies
Hot-water Crust Pastry:
450g plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
450g lean minced lamb
2 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon mace
4 tablespoons lamb stock
salt & ground black pepper
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
You will also need:
8cm diameter (or around that size) moulds or jam jars to mould the pastry around
16 strips of baking parchment, to wrap around the moulds
8 circles of baking parchment, the same size as the bottom of your mould
8 lengths of kitchen string, to tie around the baking parchment
traditional but optional gravy, mashed potatoes & peas
Makes 8 pies
Size and cut out the baking parchment and string and then lightly grease the outer sides and bottoms of the moulds with some oil.
Make the Pastry:
Start by putting the water, butter and lard into a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil.
In the meantime mix the flour, salt and icing sugar in a large bowl. Make a dip in the middle and pour the beaten egg in. Bury the egg with some flour in the bowl.
Once the water and fat is boiling, pour it slowly onto the flour and continuously mix it in with a knife (or the dough hook on your stand mixer). Knead it until all the egg streaks have gone and the pastry is smooth, silky, warm and very elastic.
Divide the pastry into two halves and cover one half in cling film and put it in the fridge until you are ready to make the lids.
It’s important to make the pie cases whilst the pastry is still warm and pliable, so immediately divide the remaining half into 8 balls. Roll each ball out on a lightly floured surface until they are 5mm thick and large enough to fit the upturned moulds and come 6cm down the mould sides.
This is the fiddly bit… Place a parchment circle on top of the mould and a strip of parchment around the mould. Drape the pastry circle on top of the mould and loosely down the sides, covering the parchment. [The parchment helps the pastry come off the mould once its chilled in the fridge.] Set each pastry-draped mould to one side to cool on a baking tray.
When all eight have been prepared then wrap another strip of parchment around each pastry mould and secure with a length of kitchen string. Chill the pastry cases in the fridge for 30 mins.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Make the Filling:
Mix all the filling ingredients in a bowl together and season well with salt and pepper. [For speed I tend to do this with my stand mixer too… very last I know!]
Create the Pies:
Once the cases have been chilled, gently slide each pastry case off the jar and remove the parchment circle and strip on the inside of the pastry. Keep the outside parchment strip tied with string in place. Then put the pie case back on the baking tray ready to be filled.
Carefully divide the meat mixture between all the pie cases, pushing down gently with the back of a spoon.
Take the other half of pastry out of the fridge and roll to 5mm thickness. Cut out eight lids for the pies, making a steam hole in the centre of each. Dampen the edges of the pies and place a lid on each, pressing them down lower than the rim. Use your fingers to crimp and seal the edges of the pies.
Brush the pies with a beaten egg mixed with a tablespoon of water and bake for 45 minutes until lightly golden in colour.