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Meat pie???

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Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Meat pie???

Long time ago while in the Navy I had an opportunity to visit England. While there I had something I think was called a meat pie.  The only thing I have to describe it is it looks like a "Hot Pocket" so it had this wonderful bread surrounding something like a beef stew.  They are portable,  single portions and did not look like they were done in a pan or form.  Also the interior did not have a lining of sloppy dough because of the gravy on the interior.


So if anyone knows what I'm talking about I would love to give these a try. Being that I don't even have a name I would need a full set of instructions. 


Thanks for your help


 

techieelectric's picture
techieelectric

It sounds like a cornish pastie which come in single portions and with meat and gravy on the inside, as well as potato and turnip, but they have pastry rather than a yeasted bread on the outside so I could be wrong. I'm only suggesting what it sounds like, I don't have a recipe but I'm sure you can find one once you have the name, there are loads on the internet. Otherwise it might have been a steak and kidney pie, they're popular in my part of the world as well. Then again I'm from Ireland so maybe you could wait form an actual English person to answer your question.


Hope it helps,


Daniel

bakinbuff's picture
bakinbuff

They do have a savoury pastry around them, they are a lot like a calzone but instead of pizza type fillings they have, as the previous poster mentioned, chunks of meat, potatoes, carrots, swede or turnip, etc.  You can get/make all kinds of pasties, like Lamb and Mint, Ham and Cheese, etc.  Very popular in the UK, as you mentioned they are a single portion that you can eat anywhere on the run.  Interestingly, miners' wives used to make the pasties with savoury fillings (meat, etc) on one end and a sweet  filling on the other end, dinner and dessert all in one!  =)  Like Daniel said, there are plenty of recipes around for them.  Hope that is helpful!

sheffield's picture
sheffield (not verified)

Dough:


4 Cups flour, sifted


2 tsp salt


1 - 1 1/2 cups shortening


10 tbsp ice water


 


Filling:


2 lbs round steak cut into 1/4" cubes


1 small turnip or rutabago, cut into 1/4" cubes


5 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4" cubes


1-2 large onions, finely chopped


1 tbsp salt


1 tsp salt


1 tsp fresh ground pepper


 


Cut shortening into flour and salt until mixture is coarse.  Rub flour together in fingers to produce a course crumb.  Add water and form into ball.  Divide into 6 equal rolled balls.  dust with flour, seal in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.


Mix steak with vegetables, onion, salt & pepper.  Roll each doughball on lightly floured surface to a 9" circle.  Add 1-1 1/2 cups filling to each.  Fold pastry over to create 1/2 moon shaped pies.  Seal the edges and cut small slits in top.  Bake on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees F for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown.


I have not tried these yet, but the recipe sounds good


 

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Thank you all.  Yes sounds like we are talking about the same thing. And thank you fro that recipe.  Although it has been a long time I remember them having more of a calzone crust then a pastry crust...I could be wrong


Thanks again Faith

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Yes I did a search using the proper name....outstanding!!!  So now I understand how they keep the crust happy with all the gravy inside.  The ingredients go in the pastry uncooked so the pastry has time to set before the juices get flowing from the filling. Just too cool!!!


I'm smoking a pork butt today so I will make these in a few days.  You all know how to make a girl happy! thank you!!!


Faith

Gunnersbury's picture
Gunnersbury

Yes, pork butt should do well. Fall River, Mass. still sells pork pies around town: Harks back to the English influence. They are delicious, and are made with the same crust as mentioned in the earlier post: using shortening, etc. like a regular pie crust.


Gunnersbury

davidg618's picture
davidg618

...on the same subject, a few months back. More recipes, links, and history.


www.thefreshloaf.com/node/15519/pasties


David G.

genie's picture
genie

This is my first comment.  I had to jump in as it brings back happy memories for me.   My Italian grandmother learned to make these from the wives of Cornish miners who worked with my grandfather in the copper mines of Upper Peninsula Michigan.  The miners would carry these meat pies in their pockets to work and have their lunch handy while it warmed them on their way to work.


Mother made them for us and it was and still remains for all of us a special day when we can sit down to a homemade pastie although the authentic ones from Upper MI can be bought commercially in some supermarkets, at least throughout the Midwest.


If I may, I'd like to add a few notes to the recipe submitted by sheffield.  Mother and Grandma didn't use shortening, they ground up suet with the flour to make their pastry.  Also, they always had carrots with the potatoes and onions; a rutabaga or turnip was optional, sometimes added.  Parsley was another addition in our household and midway during the baking a tablespoon of water was added in the slits of each pie to keep them from drying out.


Catsup was served with these.  We would cut around the top, lift the crust and pour on our own catsup, then close the pie and enjoy.


Hope this helps.

copyu's picture
copyu

Pies and Pasties are still the #1 'National Identity Food' of Australia, despite the fact that they eat more pizza, curry and laksa in Oz, nowadays.


There are 'pasties', 'Cornish pasties' and 'meat pies' and they are NOT the same thing(s) at all...I happen to be a Noo-Yawk-Yankee, but I lived in Oz long enough to know the difference!


If you're talking about a little beef with mostly veges, then it's a 'pasty'. If you start talking about 'gravy' with beef and onions (mushrooms, peas, peppers, carrots, etc, which are ALL OPTIONAL EXTRAS!) then you're talking about a meat pie. Simple!


The only commonly-agreed difference between a 'pasty' and a 'Cornish pasty' is that the latter is always made with ONLY white vegetables, ie, onion, turnip ('Swede') and potato. Real (northern) English and Aussie pasties usually contain some yellow veges as well as the white veges...triamble, trombone, pumpkin, butternut squash, carrots...something like that. It depends on the cook and (very occasionally) on what's in season.


Wrappers are made from short-crust, but you can also use puff pastry, phyllo, or whatever you can make or get...they ALL taste fabulous!

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Success,


Thank you all so much you helped me find my long lost desire for something enjoyed long ago.


With Copyu's definition I made a meat pie because I  had carrots in there.  I made lamb, potatoes, parsnip, carrot and onion with smoked pork gravy left over from the smoked pork butt.


Using the laminated dough instructions here I made a nice puff pastry that just popped in the oven.  I decided to use lard instead of butter being that there would be so much flavor in the filling.  


So now I can see I have a new family favorite.  The possibilities are endless.


Thank you all,  Faith

JohnMich's picture
JohnMich

Hi all!


I consider myself to be a bit of an expert on Cornish pasties especially eating them. First my Scots mother was a dab hand at making them and second I love them and having lived in the West Country (UK) for some months I had a pastie for lunch about 50 times and there are good and bad pasties! So I googled them and got a squillion recipes - some of them not worth bothering with.


So having got the recipe right, I think, I wrote it out for a friend and here it is with chit chat and all.


 


Cornish Pasties - adapted from Antony Worrall Thompson, BBC UK chef. Featured on LifestyleFoods.com.au




Ingredients



  • 450g shortcrust pastry (ideally made with lard) - easier made with Pampas or home brand ready rolled sheets from Coles/Woolworths

  • 450g chuck steak - but we use lamb usually lamb leg chops. You would need at least 600g to have 450g left after the bone, etc has been trimmed out.

  • 100g onion, finely diced about 2-3mm - almost match stick.

  • 150g swede, peeled and diced small - about a 2-3 mm dice - very small. Do not use turnip the taste is not the same and the swede is the major flavouring agent. The thing that makes the Cornish pastie special.

  • 175g potato, peeled and diced - about 6mm - same as meat

  • 1 tsp white pepper (or more to taste) - the original said ½ but we don't think it is enough

  • ½ - 1 tsp salt

  • Milk for glazing


 



  • Method

    • Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Roll out the pastry (about 2mm a scant 1/8th inch)and cut out four circles the size of dinner plates, about 23cm (9 in) in diameter. Or thaw out four sheets and cut to same size. It must go close to using full width of sheet else it won't be big enough for the volume of filling




 



  •  

    • Trim the meat of any sinew, gristle or fat. Cut the meat into 5mm (¼ in) dice and combine with the onion, swede, potato, pepper and salt and mix together thoroughly - with hands is best.




 



  •  

    • Arrange the 1/4 of meat mixture in one half of each circle of pastry, the side nearest you because it's easier to fold over.




 



  •  

    • Fold one side over to meet the other to form a half moon. Use the tines of a fork to crimp the pastry together to make a tight seal and place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Brush the tops all over with milk




 



  •  

    • Cook the pasties for 20 minutes at 200°C/400°F, and then reduce the heat to 160°C/325°F and cook for a further 40 minutes. Serve hot or cold.




  Tips



  1. The weights are approximate but don't go too much over in total (875g) because you won't fit the mix into the four pastry circles. The original said two. I left a comment on the site that there was no way it would fit.

  2. The very small dice is to ensure that veg cooks.

  3. It is essential to get a tight seal else the pasty can dry out. Dip the fork in water after each crimp so that it doesn't stick to pastry and pull the joint apart.

  4. Michelle  says I'm a peasant but a dash of tomato sauce doesn't go astray

  5. There is a belief that the wives calling down the mineshaft "Oggie, oggie, oggie, oy, oy, oy!" (Oggie is a Cornish name for pasty) to let men know that they were there with their lunch may have been the origin of the "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oy, oy, oy!" sports chant of today. So there you go! A thing you just needed to know.

  6. Do not cut holes or slits in the top. That lets the steam out and tends to dry the filling.


Please note there is no gravy added the ingredients are moist enough - pies have gravy pasties don't. No herbs and spices (except pepper -white but not black which is too strong) are required and there is no place for carrots or peas - not if you want the real thing. This has been covered by other commentators and they were right IMO.


Many regards, John

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I spent three months doing a project for the Royal Navy in Plymouth some years ago--stayed at the Mayflower Hotel; got hooked on a cricket test between UK and Australia on the telly--I agree with you, there are good pasties and not so good pasties. The recipe, and your adaptations sound delicious.


I want to try them, but I'm not sure Swede is what I think it is. In the USA I think we call Swede, Rutabegga. Do you know?


David G.

JohnMich's picture
JohnMich

Yes David you are spot on. Rutabaga and swedes are the same thing. If you see turnips and swedes alongside each other they are easy to distinguish. The turnips are a softer creamy yellow with a purplish look on the top whereas the swedes are much more yellow orangy colour.


Swedes are brassica napus and turnips are brassica rapa. Once upon a time, in my blissful ignorance I thought swedes were old turnips!


Regards, John

copyu's picture
copyu

Here in Japan, I can hardly ever find them, so I use a mixture of giant white radish (daikon) and Japanese turnip (kabu) in my pasties and they turn out great.


In some places they sell 'red turnip' (aka-kabu) which is OK on its own, but older ones often have too much purple color in the vege to look authentic. The taste is authentic, however. 


JohnMich's recipe and tips are excellent, although I don't really fancy lamb in my pasties. I'll stick with steak.


Cheers,


copyu

JohnMich's picture
JohnMich

G'day Copyu!


My wife won't eat a pasty that has beef in it - don't ask me why, I'm only the husband! But I suggest you actually try them they are good. But it must be lamb, mutton would have too much of the lanolin taste in it.


Go on! Be daring!


John

copyu's picture
copyu

I can buy cheap Aussie Beef here, but lamb is a rarity and a luxury food in Japan!


Cheers,


copyu

JohnMich's picture
JohnMich

Hi Copyu


I should have thought of that beforehand. A couple of Asian friends, Malay and Chinese have told me that generally  SE Asians don't like the smell of lamb and mutton fat. Indians - no problem. Is that the case in Japan where I would have thought lamb could be sold at reasonale prices?


Regards, John

copyu's picture
copyu

and it's NEVER cheap in supermarkets. Many Japanese dislike the smell of lamb fat, too, but you meet the occasional people here who say they really like lamb and wish it were cheaper. I've never actually been a big fan of it, which is a shame for someone who lived in Oz for decades, but I would eat it.


Last November, however, a German friend (who knew I had a reputation as a pretty good cook) asked me to barbecue a whole lamb as part of his wedding breakfast. If I say so myself, it turned out a great treat, despite the seasoning being very simple and the cooking situation downright primitive!


There's an enterprising fellow here in Tokyo, who calls himself "The Meat Guy" and he provides all of those 'rare items' that expats are likely to miss from back home. His prices are quite reasonable.


Cheers, John,


copyu

LauraB's picture
LauraB

No, no, no!!!


A 'real' meat pie (at least here in Australia - and in my opinion of course!) contains good quality minced beef, onion and gravy within a puff or shortcrust pastry shell (depends on preference - my family like puff, and the frozen Pampas stuff from Woolies/Coles does a good job).


My recipie varies a little every time I make it but typically would be something like this (makes a 'family sized' pie)-


* 500g nice lean minced beef


* 1 good sized brown onion, finely chopped


* Gravy  - 2-3tsp beef stock powder (can use liquid stock, but I prefer powder because it's easier to vary the strength of flavour) - 1.5 c boiling water - 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce - 1/2 tsp each of dried oregano & basil - 1 tsp dried parsley - 1/4 c tomato sauce - 3 tsp plain flour


Cook mince and onion in a large frypan (just a tiny bit of oil or oil spray) until the mince is browned and the onion translucent. Add gravy ingredients and mix well. Allow gravy to simmer and thicken (I allow a good 30-40 minutes to let the meat take up all the flavours), then allow the mixture to cool.


Grease and line a pie dish with pastry (rolled to about 1/8 inch thick), place filling in dish and top with another sheet of pastry. Press edges together around the dish, prick surface and brush/wash according to preference.


Hope that helps - and hello from a new member.


Laura


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Hahaha! Feel your frustration. I've been sitting here resisting responding, but since you've opened the box....!


Yes, you're quite right. Oz is the home of the meat pie, and the traditional Aussie meat pie is beef. I'd take issue with some of your ingredients as 'typical' of the quintessential meat pie, but let's leave that aside for now! 


You've got to be mindful, too, that the 'meat pie' the original poster referred to was not a meat pie at all, but a Cornish pastie - and what a joy THAT is.


I had the good fortune to sample the best one of my life when I stopped in a little Cornish village bakery for lunch during a hitching stint in the UK and Europe back in the early 80s. I've never forgotten it. It was the size of a dinner plate and beyond delicious.


As for meat pies, IMO there are VERY few good ones anywhere in Australia these days. Every time I travel anywhere, I seek out supposedly the best of the best, and they never come close to the tremendous pies I had during my childhood. I do not believe nostalgia is warping my memory here, either. There was one pie shop in the southern coastal town of Busselton, WA, that my family went to routinely during our annual holidays (which we continued to go on for 12 years, before swiitching to Denmark, further along the coast). This bakery sold the best pies I have ever tasted, and none I have had since have come close. I had enough of them over the years to recall their quality vividly. I've actually tried to track down the owners to see if they will part with the recipe, but the bakery is long gone, and the family is so far untraceable. The recipe was probably lost when the older generation owners of the bakery passed on, anyway.


It's like fish and chips - they were far superior way back then. That was partly because fish was cheap and when you asked for cobbler or pink snapper or dhufish, that's what you really got! I suspect, also, one of the reasons the chips and batter tasted so good, as well as pie pastry, was the liberal use of lard in pastry and deep fryers. We know better now - transfats and all that - but damn, did the chips taste good, and that pie pastry...well, there's nothing else like it for flavour. Godammit!

copyu's picture
copyu

it's good to see the Aussies 'getting their oars in'. (I hope you guys didn't think we were talking about lamb in meat pies—that was a 'pasty' discussion! Whew! Glad the 'formalities' are over with!)


Ross, you have a point about the modern meat pie. Those factory-made jobbies are often almost inedible these days.


When I was a kid, we got a shilling for lunch on Mondays (because school started before the baker's horse could drag its lazy a*se to the house. That shilling would buy you a pie and a cream bun (or some other sweet pastry—London bun, 'Banbury' pasty, fruit bun, rock cake, Lamington...) Most of us kids would scoff the sweets first, and THEN relish the meat pie as a "dessert", that's how good they were!


Through the late 80's I used to take a huge group of kids camping in Murray Bridge every year. I was the camp organizer (ie, 'chief cook and bottle-washer') and prepared 3 meals a day for the 5 days of the camp.


One lunch-time in the week was a sort-of "cook's holiday" and I discovered a bakery in that town called "Price's" [or MAYBE "Pryce's"] bakery that made pies and pasties the same way they were made in the 1960's. HEAVENLY! I'm sure it's not nostalgia, it's the truth. You don't ever forget a taste like that.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Well, copyu, if you're talking shillings, you've established your cred as one who was also around in the days of the truly great Aussie meat pie! So I have no doubt Prices/Pryces was indeed the real deal. Where is Murray Bridge, by the way? 

JohnMich's picture
JohnMich

Murray Bridge is in South Australia 50 miles (80 kms) SE of Adelaide


Regards, John

LauraB's picture
LauraB

Hi Ross - you're more than welcome to take issue with my ingredients! We have discussions all the time here (ironic really, because I don't eat them) about whether it should be minced or diced beef, whether the gravy should be plain or have the extras in it, etc., Perhaps I should have called the recipe 'my version' of an Aussie meat pie?


Always looking for variations though - even if you've no recipes as such, what's your take on the 'typical pie'?


Laura


 

copyu's picture
copyu

450-600g (1-1.5lb) minced beef


1 onion, finely chopped


2 teasp gravy browning /'Vegemite'/ 'Marmite'/ 'Promite', etc, for deep colour


3/4 cup beef stock


3 or 4 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce


1/2 cup tomato sauce (ketchup)


salt and pepper, to taste


2-3 Tblsp flour and a bit of water to hydrate


a generous dash of ground nutmeg (1/4 to 3/4 teasp OK)


shortcrust pastry for pie shells


puff or flaky pastry for tops


[optional: 1 can sliced champignon mushrooms; finely diced red pepper (capsicum) added with the onions; herbs and spices you really love...milk glaze or egg wash]


Brown the beef, drain liquid, add onion and cook for a few minutes; add salt, pepper, stock and sauces. Cook this for 5 min more, or so, on low-med heat.


Add flour, mixed with a little water and cook until the gravy forms. Allow to cool before spooning into shortcrust shells.


Top pies with flaky pastry. [You can use milk glaze or egg-wash on the tops, if you like...]


Bake at 230°C (425°F) for 10min. Reduce heat to 180°C (350°F) until done...could be 25 min or so, depending on oven...


PS: I'm not saying these are the BEST Aussie pies I've ever eaten, but they go close enough for most non-Aussies to understand what the fuss is all about!  


 

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

This looks awesome.  When I get back from my trip these will be on the top of my list.  I'm one of those people that read a recipe and know how it will taste.


Thank you so much!


Faith

copyu's picture
copyu

I'm one of those people, too, who can almost 'taste' the recipe that I'm reading.


The 'options' in my provided recipe are from a nephew's grandma, a real Aussie woman, cracking 86 years of age in 2010. Of course, my nephew loves his grannie's pies, but he's only in his early-mid twenties. My memories of meat pies go back 50 years!


The only red, green or yellow peppers I ever saw (in Australia) back in 1960 came from my family's own garden (or the garden of another Euro family...Just trying to keep things 'authentic'!) I've never used the red peppers, in meat pies, myself, although I love their taste. I'll be trying them soon.


Safe trip, Faith!


copyu

JohnMich's picture
JohnMich

You are dead right about the lard, leaving it out definitely spoils the flavour of the pastry.


But, thank God, pastry chefs all over Oz are starting to use it again because of its superior flavour and structure. Try googling lard - there's plenty of evidence to suggest that lard is better for you than some of the so-called substitutes.


Now as to the health effects I'm old enough to remember, for example, when butter would kill you so everyone (except me) switched to margarine then it turned out that butter was better than marg - and so it goes on. Lets face it something is going to kill us one day and I'm buggered if I'm going to stop eating the most suitable traditional foods just because some self-styled expert (Ex as in hasbeen, Spurt as in drip under pressure) says its bad for me.


The CSIRO put out a brilliant book on diets - then some expert wrote to the Prime Minister wanting him (why him!?!?!) to have it banned because it didn't agree with her theories. What is world coming to?


Make hot crust pastry with lard for your pie base and you'll love it! Go back to lard for your fish and chips you'll smile again!


There's no point in trying to live longer if the cost is eating crap!


That's my rant for the day


Many regards, John

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Some more common ground, John. I also refused to switch from butter to margarine. The flavour of butter is just too superior to give up. Then during a couple of years I spent in Sydney in 85/86 I met a naturopath who was adamant that margarine was far worse for you than butter. His explanation sounded very rational to me. Didn't need any further justification!!


Oh look, there's no doubt that chips and batter fried in dripping are WAY tastier than in vege oil. This alone explains the drop in quality of yer corner fishnchip produce in the last 3 decades or so - even if you don't factor in the unfortunate fact that fish prices have rocketed and that suburban Joe fishnchip man has little choice but to substitute inferior imported frozen varieties like Nile perch, that bland basa stuff, and - to move up a rung, while remaining near the bottom of the fish quality ladder - hoki.


My attitude is similar to yours on health vs gastronomic pleasure, but unfortunately, sometimes you do have to take the warnings seriously. My partner was found to have significant kidney impairment a year ago, and we've HAD to cut right down on salt. Major bummer, but you do get used to it, and I've developed some good workarounds in my cooking (top grade Hungarian paprika is my new best friend!). Also, have become far more sensitised to 'saltiness' in foods, so less is often enough.


I guess it's a balancing act. If you blithely ignore health issues in your food choices, it may well catch up with you. OTOH, good eating is so important to the quality of my life, that to just give the goodies up entirely is unthinkable.  That's when you really have to decide between quality and quantity!


Cheers


PS: I had the great fortune as a kid to drink REAL milk and enjoy pure cream for a few wonderful weeks staying with relatives in Albany. In those days, a truck like a small petrol tanker would deliver milk to people's doors, and they'd leave out a plastic bucket or other container, which the milkman would fill with milk directly out of the tanker! It was straight from the cow that day - unpastuerised and of course unhomogenised. There is nothing like it. FAR FAR better than any other milk I have ever tasted. Bugger the TB risk. If I could get access to unpasteurised milk, I would accept no other milk for the rest of my days, however curtailed they might be as a result!


On a related topic, as you no doubt are aware, the reason Aussie cheeses just can't compete with the best in Europe is that the laws here do not allow cheeses to be made from unpasteurised milk. Given the compromise in flavour that results, it's miraculous that our cheeses are as good as they are.


Sorry to hijack this thread folks, but I've been raving about this stuff for years, and it's such a relief to find like-minded folk. Most people just look at me in mild bewilderment when I get on this hobby horse and politely change the subject!


Gratefully yours, 


Ross

JohnMich's picture
JohnMich

Afternoon Ross!


There was one other thing I forgot to mention about traditional foods in my earlier rant. A few months ago we thought about trying roast potatoes coooked in dripping like Mum used to do. Mate we will never go back to oil - the difference in taste is extraordinary and so is the 'crisp on the outside fluffy on the inside' effect. Wondrous food.


I agree with you about balance but lets face it we don't eat fish and chips every day and neither do we eat roast spuds or pies that often but when we do why not do it right?


But here's a shocker for you, I just came back from the library where I had a look at a cookbook Fast Food by Gordon Ramsay, the F word the superstar UK chef and what did I find but a recipe for chunky chips baked in the oven and what was the shortening? Olive oil, mate!! Olive oil baked chips!!! . Being in a library and a polite bloke I suppressed Ramsay's favourite noun/verb but it was a near run thing.....


Now about the milk. Just recently my mother-in-law sent me a 2litre bottle of milk suggesting that I try it. It was almost like real old fashioned milk. Almost like as old dear said, a light milkshake. So much so that I rang the local SE Qld producer and asked them what the difference was. They said they didn't add anything to their milk. It was straight milk whereas they thought other producers added permeate a byproduct of preparing milk for cheese making. It's perfectly good food but it changes the taste away from 'just milk'.


So it is out there, we can buy it in supermarkets at the same price as the bulked out milk.


So never fear, taste research works - and read your messages.


Regards, John

JohnMich's picture
JohnMich

Well Laura we were discussing Cornish pasties but now you have started on meat pies here a couple of my ideas.


Commercial pies are mostly rubbish. Many of them come out of the same factory. Remember a few years ago here on Oz when a pie factory burnt down and about twenty brand names dropped out of sight for a few months. And these days they are getting very expensive.


Now to your recipe. I agree pre-made pastry isn't too bad but try putting short crust on the bottom and puff on the top.


Try using diced beef rather than minced. Anyway unless you minced it yourself you never know what's in it. The diced beef gives a better texture in my opinion and doesn't run down the front of the shirt as easily.


A commecial mob in SE Qld make a chunky beef and beer pie and have won Austrlian champion pie with it.


I didn't see any mention of pepper - try some white. There's plenty of salt in the stock powder I would think


Just a couple of thoughts, John


 


 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Agree wholeheartedly with John on commercial pies - except I would take out the 'most'. In my experience ALL commercial meat pies are rubbish. The thing is, they always have been. Even back in the good ol' days we've been reminiscing about, the commercial mass-produced pies were nothing special (although they were better than they are now - Bakewell did quite a good one and Big Ben weren't bad...dunno about the eastern states). 


Over this way, the great Aussie meat pie was always a product of smaller bakeries, especially small bakeries in country towns. 


I make a point every year of sampling just about every pie that wins a prize at the Perth Royal Show. All are from individually owned bakeries, and although some are getting there, still none come close to the beauties I recall from that bakery in Busselton in the 60s and early 70s.


The big difference is in the pastry. As with pizza, it's the dough that is vitally important. You can have the best toppings in the world on a pizza, but if the base is ordinary, so is the pizza. The crust of the Busselton pies I have mythologised in my wistful rememberings was sensational. Light and a bit flaky on top, and delicious. The base was never soggy, and was, I think, different from the flaky top. I didn't know anything about pastry then, so I have no idea what sort they were using. I think it's a fair bet that the shortening was not butter, but beef dripping/lard (the same thing, I think...rarely used now due to health concerns).


So, interesting that John recommends short pastry on the bottom and puff pastry on top - this equates with my memory of those Busselton beauties, although I am sure they made their own, since I never came across pastry as good anywhere else.


Also, they didn't have chunks of meat in their pies, but it wasn't just minced, either. I think there was a sort of shredded meat element lurking there somewhere, but the mix was quite quite sloppy with a tremendously flavoured rich gravy, so I imagine a fair proportion of the filling was minced meat. I don't recall any onion - it was not recognisable within the gravy, at least. And no herbs.


Finally, the filling was quite peppery. This was one of the aspects I liked most. John's mention of pepper had me nodding my head in daftly manic agreement.


Laura, I think I've probably given a profile of my ideal pie of sufficient detail to spare you a direct response with further elaboration!


Cheers!

LauraB's picture
LauraB

You have indeed Ross! Mine do have pepper in them - I think it's something that goes in so automatically that one forgets to mention it. Re: shortcrust on the bottom/puff on top - I'll often do it that way as well, especially if I make a batch of pies, as I find it works much better when reheating...puff bases just don't reheat well without going soggy I find.


John - I do a good steak and Guiness pie (or, if you're feeling more 'gourmet', one with a red wine gravy instead)...how does that take you?


 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Hi again, Laura. 


Firstly, may I take up your invitation to John re your steak and Guiness pie (or the red wine gravy 'gourmet' one, for that matter)?


This brings me to an issue of definition vital to our discussion. Yes, I lament the passing of the wonderful trad Aussie meat pies such as those I recall in Busselton, but that is not to demean the 'other' more contemporary 'gourmet' pies such as those you bake. Different creatures, both wunderbar at their best. I just wish the GREAT trad Oz pie was not extinct - although, like the Tasmanian tiger, there is always the chance that they might pop up again somewhere. One lives in hope...


I might just start experimenting with lard pastry and peppery beef mince fillings. Will post the recipe here if I manage to stumble on my mythologised pastry and filling, but I imagine that's a lot of experiments and tweaks away. 


In the meantime, I'd love to try your recipes - if you don't mind sharing them, would you pls PM me? 


Cheers
Ross

melbournebread's picture
melbournebread

I'm an American expat who now lives in Oz, so when I moved here the only savoury pie I knew were chicken pot pies.  I HATED them, horrible pale gluggy things (I once saw chicken pot pie soup in an airport and just looking at it made me want to throw up).


A good Aussie meat pie is an entirely different beastie.  Funnily enough, remembering back I'm pretty sure there were some kind of "Aussie pies" you could by in the USA in the freezer that were beef or lamb.  I don't think I ever tried them though.


Do you notice that every single bakery in an Australian country town has at least three awards for their pies?  Like "third place for best pie" or "best curried pie"?  They can't ALL be the best, it gives me a chuckle.


Oh and another thing that an American in Oz finds amusing is that if you go see a football/cricket/rugby game, a meat pie with sauce (ketchup) takes the place of America's icon the hotdog as the preferred junk food.


Personally though, my favourite is the pastie, usually with half meat/half whatever root veg I feel like.  I make mine at home, I haven't found many good ones for sale.  I'll make a batch and then throw the extras in the freezer (cooked, not raw!), they last a few days and are good to bring to work for lunch during the week, though the crust softens in the microwave.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Well, you've missed the great Aussie meat pies by 30 years or so, melbournebread, so your preference for pasties is understandable (not that they're much most of the time, either). DIY is probably the best way to go there.


That chicken pot pie soup you saw (and I agree - YUK) is no doubt a derivation of the (in)famous Adelaide 'pie floater', which is a meat pie sitting in a soup of mushy peas! The Croweaters swear by them, but I find the entire concept perverse.


All part of the motley tapestry of Aussie culcha...we has our hits and we has our misses, but at least we're unique in some ways! 


You must have an AFL team by now - go on, fess up. Not Collingwood, I hope?

JohnMich's picture
JohnMich

You cynical man, David. Closer inspection would have shown you that it was at the local agricutural show and they are the only baker in town - that's how they get to be best.

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Thanks for your thoughts about lard. My grandmother was from England so lard was used in her day and as a child I remember her cooking with. I thought when I mentioned using lard in my puff pastry I would get pummeled. (Else, no one read that line) I know lard has a bad health rap but then again at one time or another everything has hit the "it will kill you" list.


My question for today is I have a tail of fillet mignon left over and I thought where better to put than a meat pie or pastie. I am a huge fan of parsnips so if anyone has any thoughts  that would be great.


I need to take a short trip so I figured I would make a batch so that when I'm gone the family won't resort to rummaging trash cans for food.

JohnMich's picture
JohnMich

Well aren't you the lucky one Faith? I only got this in an email in the last couple of days and being also a great fan of parsnips I remembered it so go to >


http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2170/winter-root-mash-with-buttery-crumbs


Parsnips and potatoes 50/50 with butter and bread crumb, cheese and onion topping. Haven't made it but it seems like a beauty.


I particularly love roast parsnips where the fine point of the root has gone caramelised - delicious.


Regards, John

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Not all the time, and only for a few specific recipes, pie dough,Welsh cakes, and a very few one-time recipes. Nonetheless, I find its contribution to flakiness and flavor worth the ocassional increased intake of saturated fats. Recently (since 2006) the community of nutrionists have changed their demonizing of lard, to quiet tolerance. They haven't seemed to endorse it, but they've gone mostly silent about lard.


Here's a link worth reading. It's a UK website, but the references are mostly (or all) USA sources.


http://www.thehealthierlife.co.uk/natural-health-articles/nutrition/trans-fatty-acids-lard-better-than-vegetable-oil-00298.html


David G

JohnMich's picture
JohnMich

Thank you so much David - a great reference and it got better at the end where the following quote was given


'Countless studies show that the MORE animal fats people eat, the better their heart health. Need some proof from the real world? The African Masai, North American Eskimos, Japanese, Greeks, Okinawans, and our good friends the French all consume diets that are extremely high (by mainstream American standards) in saturated animal fats. Yet these people enjoy astonishingly low rates of heart disease, hypertension, and coronary events.'


You beauty, bring on the butter, dripping and lard. What joy, what better, more flavousome eating!


Many regards, John


 

melbournebread's picture
melbournebread

Rossnroller, the chicken pot pie soup was actually in an American airport.  And the three people in front of me in line ALL ordered it.  I've heard of a pie floater but never dared try one.


And yes I was quickly told when I moved to Melbourne that I had to choose a footy team.  My first home in Melb was in St. Kilda so I went for the Saints ... didn't take long to pay off (though no grand final yet, alas).  And some of my good friends are Collingwood supporters, but I don't hold that against them. ;)

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

I suppose if I had to choose a Vic team to hate a little less than the others it would be the Saints...so congrats (I suppose) on your slightly-less-than-appalling choice of teams, melbournebread. :)


Can well understand your trepidation re pie floaters. When you think about it, the pea/pie combo is OK - it's the floating part that is disturbing! 


May I just add that I'm relieved to have your clarification that the chicken pot pie soup was an American phenomenon.


 

semolina_man's picture
semolina_man

I'm a pasty fan and descendant from Michigan Upper Peninsula family, so here are my $0.02. 


I have made pasties with several forms of meat: diced steak, fresh pork sausage and shredded beef (pot roast).  They are all good.  The diced steak in my mind is the more traditional option.   The sausage and shredded pot roast were the tastiest.


As far as veggies go, I agree that rutabaga is the traditional standard.  I have used potatoes, carrots and onions also.   With the standard diced steak and root vegetable ingredients, this produces a dry (but tasty) pasty in my experience. 


I lived in Oz (Geelong, Vic area) for a short while and did sample a few pies; very good.  I would like to achieve the moisture level in my pasties that was in the Aussie meat pies. 


Lastly, as far as crust, I am a firm believer in lard.  Either 100% lard (with flour of course) or 50/50 lard and butter.  No margarine or shortening for me. 


 


p.s.  The "soup as pot pie" thing is from my experience a southeast Pennsyvlania phenomenon.  I think it is a Pennsylvania dutch tradition.  It features flat square egg noodles layered on top of a bowl of chicken or turkey soup.   It isn't bad, but it isn't what I grew up with as "pot pie".   I much prefer the more widely known pot pie with meat, vegetables, and some type of gravy, baked inside a pastry crust.