Hot water crust pastry
Hot water crust is a type of pastry used for savoury pies, such as pork pies, game pies, etc. Hot water crust was traditionally used for making hand-raised pies.
As the name suggests, the pastry is made by heating water, melting the fat in this, bringing to the boil, and finally mixing with the flour. This can be done by either beating the flour into the mixture in the pan, or by kneading on a pastry board. Either way, the result is a hot and rather sticky paste that can be used for hand-raising - shaping by hand, sometimes using a dish or bowl as an inner mould. As the crust cools, its shape is largely retained, and it is filled and covered with a crust, ready for baking. Hand-raised hot water crust pastry does not produce a neat and uniform finish, as there will be sagging during the cooking of the filled pie. This is generally accepted as the mark of a hand-made pie. It is possible, however, to bake the pastry in a mould, as with other pies.
Raised pies are easier to make whilst the pastry is warm.
There is a recipe for Melton Mowbray style pork pies here.
- 225 g (8 oz) strong plain flour
- Pinch of crushed sea salt
- 25 ml (25 g) (1 fl oz) milk
- 25 ml (25 g) (1 fl oz) water
- 75 g (3 oz) lard or shortening
- 1 large egg yolk, whisked, for glazing and sealing
- Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F - Gas 4)
- Sift the salt and flour into a bowl
- Mix the water and milk into a medium-sided pan and heat gently
- Cut the lard into small pieces and drop into the milk/water mix
- Once the lard has completely melted, raise the heat and bring to the boil and then immediately remove from the heat
- Pour into the flour and, using a wooden spoon, mix well
- Dust a chopping board with a little extra flour and knead the dough for a minute or two
- Two thirds of the dough for the pies and 1/3 for the lids
- Divide the larger piece into 6 and roll into balls and, using your hands, mould each ball into a pie shape (an upturned glass is useful for this)
- Fill the pies with your desired filling
- Using a pastry brush, paint a little of the egg yolk around the rim of each pie
- Divide the remaining third into six pieces, roll into balls and then roll each ball flat to make the pie lids
- Crimp the lids to the pies with the tines of a fork and glaze the pies with any remaining egg yolk
- Make a little slash or hole in the top of each pie to allow steam to escape and bake on a tray for about 50 to 55 minutes
- Allow to cool on a wire rack
Serve warm or cold
Having made these, I would suggest that this quantity is better suited to 4 slightly larger pies. Although unconventional, to prevent them collapsing, I would bake them in muffin trays.
- Macaroni pie (Scottish)
- Melton Mowbray style pork pie
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