Who loves pies?
There's just something about homemade pies that warms my soul, especially on a cool rainy day like today. I have fond memories of my trips to Australia, where some of the world's best pies are served in a dizzying array of flavours!
My own homemade pie is, of course, nowhere near that standard. But we all start somewhere, so here's my shot at a beef pie...
Unlike baking, my cooking is almost never to recipe. You can vary the ingredients according to your tastes, and you can add anything you like or omit the stuff you don't like. So, here goes:
* Meat of your choice, minced or cubed (you can use beef, chicken, pork, lamb, or even ham)
* Vegetables (e.g. peas, carrots, corn, celery, mushrooms, potatoes, etc)
* Onions, chopped
* Liquid (e.g. tomato puree/paste, milk, or canned soup)
* Herbs (e.g. basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, curry, whatever you fancy!)
* Salt & pepper to taste
1 - Fry onions till soft, then add meat and cook till almost done.
2 - Add vegetables and cook.
3 - When almost done, add liquid and herbs of choice and cook till it boils. If the mixture is too thin, simmer till it thickens, or add some slurry or instant mashed potatoes.
4 - When done to your liking, set aside while you prepare the crust.
* 120g butter, very cold
* 260g flour
* 80ml cold water
* 1/2 tsp salt
Makes about 4 small pie crusts.
If you are serving the pies in ramekins, you can also omit the base and just have the crust on top. In this case, halve the recipe.
1 - Cut or rub the butter into the flour and salt until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.
Bake at 200 degC for about 20-30 min, depending on the size of your pie. Since the filling is already cooked, your pie is done when the tops are nicely browned.
* Place the butter in the freezer for about 10 min, then grate it over the flour. The flour will coat the small bits of butter and with a quick stir you'll instantly get that bread-crumb texture. Sure beats using all that effort to cut the butter with a fork or pastry blender! It also avoids melting the butter with your warm fingers with the rubbing-in method.
* Alternatively, just blitz the flour and butter in a food processor, then drizzle cold water until the dough comes together.