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How do I make a meat pie?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
How do I make a meat pie?

I saw them at a Scottish bakery, but they were sitting out and they were "microwaved to order" so I didn't try one.
post #2 of 25
Are you referring to pasties? Individual turnover type baked pie with a meat & vegetable filling, or quite often with savory filling at one end, with a sweet filling at the other?
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post #3 of 25
As long as they weren't Mrs. Lovett's meat pies!
post #4 of 25

When you get to the fork in the road, take it.

There are two basic types of pies. One is a top crust over a stew, and the other is a turn over with a slightly drier filling. Do you know which interests you more?

The strategy for the first kind is to make a fairly thick braise or stew, put it in a pan, cover the pan with a plain crust (pate brisee), and bake the sucker. Is it really as simple as that? Yes, it really is.

The strategy for the second is to make a very thick braise or stew, lay out a piece of pate brisee, put some filling in it and fold it or roll it into a turnover. Small pieces because the turnover style is meant to be eaten on the go and out of hand -- and not too much liquid or anything that will make liquid when baked or reheated so it won't drip like mad when eaten out of hand. Simple as that? Again, yes. Another name for the same thing is "pastie," as in "Cornish pasties." You could call it a calzone or an empanada, and you wouldn't be wrong.

Both of these are really assemblies of things most cooks past the bare beginner stage can already do -- not that there aren't a few tricks.

One of those tricks is to make a VERY flaky pastry by using lard as opposed to any other shortening, or by buying pre-made, frozen puff pastry. For this purpose, New Crisco Now with 0-Transfat is not as good as the pre-made; and a butter crust will be the wrong texture altogether.

An American alternative is to use a biscuit crust. You may recognize the biscuit crust as common in chicken pot pie -- if so, and the lightbulb that "Meat pie is chicken pie with meat instead of chicken," goes on -- don't turn it off. That's it, in a nutshell.

A second "trick," such as it is, to control the amount of moisture you've got going under or in the dough.

By the way, meat pies are an outstanding way to use leftovers -- and that's a big part of their appeal. Cut up the leftovers, wrap 'em up with a little extra chopped onion and a tablespoon of gravy, bake 'em up and go. Easy and thrifty.

Give me a clue as to what you want and I'll come back with something more specific. I was going to get write a steak pie (crust over dish style) anyway. In the meantime there are plenty of recipes all over the net. Don't forget to look for "pasties" and "empanadas," too.
post #5 of 25
As BDL said, we use a pre made puff pastry (Pepp. Farm I believe) thawed and cut a little larger than our crocks. Put in whatever filling you want, set the pastry over the edge and press it down along the rim to form a seal. A little egg wash, grated parm or gruyere on top, and 20 mins @ 350 degrees.

Mighty tasty and looks impressive too!



Willie
post #6 of 25
You can also make a meat pie by surrounding the entire vessel with pastry as opposed to just having a top... though the surrounding pastry needs some structure or it'll burst like a bad dam. There was this place with very good British style meat pies back in the city I used to live in that did it this way.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #7 of 25
It was a low dish and the crust not only covered the top, but went around the sides? The whole thing was baked in a baking pan?

Very cool. More, more. Tell us more.
BDL
post #8 of 25
Going back many years Chick or Beef Pot Pie was served in a cassarole type dish with both a crust on bottom, sides and top. It was not a Puff Pastry Dough. It was a moist pie dough. Puff Paste was adopted later on for lazyness sake because it comes already made. Also in many places it is baked on side and simply thrown on top of chicken or beef mixture. All for the sake of convienence. Even Marie Calelander, Swanson, and Boston Chickens frozen pies have pastry on bottom ,sides and top. True this adds to total weight of the product ,which allows them to put less chicken and filling but I must say Calenders isn't bad. Not for food service use, for home only.
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post #9 of 25
Chef,

Yes, I know. If I understand you correctly, you're talking about a double crust. That is, the baking pan is lined with a bottom crust, the stew is on top of that, and a top crust is laid over the stew. The strength and the weakness of this method is there's a lot of crust -- some of it, a browned top crust, and some a soft, soaked, bottom crust. You either like that bottom crust or don't.

But if I understand Blueicus, she's talking about using an overlarge top crust which is draped over the pan and allowed to go beyond the sides. It's a presentation which provides extra, outside crust; but no bottom crust.

These are so different, they're not comparable.

BDL
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
I think thats what these were, if not then it was just crust on the top. THey had a liver and onion and a ground beef one and a couple others.
post #11 of 25
I had a friend who used to make pasties and she didn;t cook the meat beforehand, but put it in raw, with onions, potatoes and "swedes" (big turnips). I never tried it, but it sounded like it wouldn;t work. She did come from a very brit family though. She absolutely would only make the crust with lard pastry.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #12 of 25
Also if you micro them they usually come out soggy and gummy
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post #13 of 25
Not a pretty picture is it?

BDL
post #14 of 25
Is there any reason why you couldn’t use homemade puff pastry? I have never used pre-made, thwacking the butter with my rolling pin is a far too gratifying exercise to give up :crazy:. Does pre-made behave in a drastically different manner?

I keep flashing on an image from somewhere in the deep recesses of my sieve like mind. I think I remember seeing a photograph of some sort of meat pie thing that was covered on all sides with dough. It seemed to be photographed outside of the vessel it was cooked in because it was oval in shape and the sides were fluted. It had the pie dough decorations on top near the “vents”. I could never figure out how it didn’t collapse because it gave the appearance of being tall-ish. Does anybody know what that is?
post #15 of 25
A variation on the pasties theme is to use a cornmeal pastry. I've made these---original recipes just called them "finger pies"---with pork, chicken, and venison fillings. It's all good:

Wish I could remember where I got the recipe, cuz whoever came up with it deserves credit.

Cornmeal Pastry

4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup white corn;meal
1 tsp salt
1 stick plus 2 tbls cold, unsalted butter, cut into 20 pieces.
2/3 cup chilled vegetable shortening
2/3 cup ice water

Combine the flour, cornmeal and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and shortening and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Witn the machine running add the ice water and process just until the dough begins to form a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Cut the dough into quarters and shape into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

In use, roll out 1 disk into roughly a 6 x 16 inch rectangle, and trim it to 5 x 15. I make all the cuts with a fluted pastry wheel.

Divide the rectangle into three 5 x 5 inch pieces. Put two heaping tablespoons of filling in the bottom half of each square and spread evenly. Moisten the edges and old the pastry over to enclose the filling, pressing the edges tightly to seal.

Put all the "pies" on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with a wash made with an egg & 1 tbls Dijon mustard. Cut three diagonal slits in each pie and bake at 400F until well browned, 25-30 minutes.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #16 of 25
No reason you couldn't. Pre-made puff pastry (pate feuillete) is one of those products so close to really good home or fresh bakery made it makes you wonder. On the other hand, the best frozen pate brisee aka "pie pastry" is grim indeed.

Pre-made acts just the same as home made, only without all the rolling out, turning and resting. That's the obnoxious part of making pate feuillete, waiting for it to rest.

Yes. You make it in a special kind of tin like this one: http://www.bridgekitchenware.com/browse.cfm/4,425.html "Easy peasy," as long as you have the tin. The fluting actually makes the vertical walls much stronger. I've used them to bake pate en croute, as well as pies. The particular style of presentation is extremely out of date and betrays not only my age, but my ridculously old fashioned sensibilities even when I was young.

BDL
post #17 of 25
I believe what he is talking about(an oval with fluted edges) is a Jamaican Meat Pie. You can now buy these in most supermarkets. Some are good some are awful. They blend the meat, onion garlic and spice filling with bread crumbs so it does not leak through the artificially yellow colored pastry.
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post #18 of 25
Wanna bet?

BDL
post #19 of 25
I have my mother in law's recipe for pasties (she pronounced it paastees). She would cut the meat into small pieces, and dice the vegetables, then stir all purpose flour into it, just enough to thicken the gravy produced by the meat and vegetable juices. This would be arranged on one side of a 9" to 10" , roughly the size of a dinner plate. She would moisten the edge of the crust, fold the vacant half over and seal the two halves together with a nice fluted technique. Then she would sit this crescent shaped pie on its 'bottom', so this fluting formed a ridge from end to end across the top. She would then cut a couple of slits near the flute on each side, to vent the steam.

The dough was rolled a bit thicker than you would for a dessert pie. She sometimes made them with yeast dough, similar to what you find in Italian restaurants used for calzone... basically pizza dough rolled thin, and to the size for pasties. These were the very best tasting to me, and the crust held up better. :)

The filling varied according to what was on hand, usually leftovers, although she said that the turnip or rutabega had always been a tradition in her family. (Her father was Welsh, and when he came to USA he worked the coal mines near Scranton, PA).
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #20 of 25
Besides being a generally all around swell guy, apparently BDL also has the ability to perform a Vulcan mind meld through the internet. That is exactly what I was talking about. Thanks for the link, now I can add another high end super specialized piece of kitchen ware to the DH’s shopping list.
And don’t worry about old fashioned presentation methods, if I had my way I’d be wearing bustle dresses and picture hats. Unfortunately if I did the neighbors would probably talk and the children would need even more therapy.:lol:
post #21 of 25
Pastees/ Jamaica Meat Pie/ Chicken pot pie/ Ausralian meat pie/ Calzone/ Fruit Turnovers from all countries .Call them whatever , they are all the same concept STUFFED DOUGH
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post #22 of 25
>She would then cut a couple of slits near the flute on each side, to vent the steam. <

Whenever this subject comes up I fondly recall Roscoe Lee Brown's great line when he played a chuckwagon cook in The Cowboys.

He was describing to the rancher's wife how to make an apple pie, and concluded with "...three slits, one to let out the steam and two more because that's how your mama did it."

Logically all it takes is one slit. But is there anybody who doesn't use three? Even in those finger pies I make three cuts.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #23 of 25
For the record, I just wanted to state that I'm a dude, though it's nice to know my feminine side is still there ;).

Well, if you're talking about cutting slits in the pie I would think that the more slits there are (or the larger they are) the faster steam can escape from certain points, thus affecting the final product in some middling way. Also I have to believe that where you put your slits also makes a difference.

Have to admit that I've never heard of the 3-slit thing (Perhaps it's not so much a Canadian thing and my ancestors were not ones to bake pies) so I just put as many as I find attractive :).
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #24 of 25
Sorry about the gender thing. If I could get in touch with my feminine side, that would pretty much be it for the day.

BDL
post #25 of 25
Mutton pies, or also known as Scotch pies - made traditionally from mutton, but nowadays from lamb or beef are 'raised pies', cold water pastry, then lined in special moulds.

I have the moulds, but friend also use the bottom of a jam jar to 'raise' the pastry, which is left to dry out a bit before you put the peppery, lamb filling in, fit the lid and then bake.

A pie is a popular lunchtime snack in Scotland and is also served at football matches in its thousands!
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