Scotch Pies – Traditional Scottish Favourite is such a tasty treat. Traditionally the pies were filled with minced mutton. But these days lamb, or beef, is used as mutton is not readily available. Although Scotch Pies are known all over the UK it is certainly true that in Scotland they are much more popular. Every butcher and bakery, as well as suipermarkets, have Scotch Pies on sale.
The pies are made with hot water crust pastry. That is a pastry which is so simple to make, just with lard and flour. It forms a lovely hard crust to encase the filling. Hot water crust pastry is also used to make pork pies.
The pies are seasoned with a good amount of pepper, though that can be varied to suit tastes. In my case I used white pepper since it is slightly milder than black pepper. The pepper is important as it is the main seasoning but others are added too. Ground mace, salt and mixed herbs complete the seasoning line-up. But nutmeg is a great alternative to mace though in a slightly lesser volume since it is stronger in flavour.
So, we have a simple recipe for a very tasty pie. Although it is simple it does take time. That is because the pie cases are left to dry out somewhat, preferably overnight or longer, before being filled. However I have also seen pies made as soon as the pastry has cooled enough to handle.
Scotch Pies are different to most pies since they have a deep lip around them. That is often used to hold baked beans, gravy, mushy peas etc when serving the pies.
Although I made pies which were 4 inch/10cm in diameter you can make them smaller too.
In many bakeries the pie crusts are left to dry out for a few days and then they are filled and baked. They are baked free standing, with no pie tins. However, often, particularly for home baking the pies are baked in the tins. That saves the risk of the pies sagging during baking.
The recipe – adjusted
I just want to mention my video for this recipe. In that I made rather more pastry than I needed for the amount of filling I had. So, for the written recipe below, I have adjusted the ingredients to make a smaller amount of pastry.
My Scotch Pies
I made my pastry and left it to cool completely. Then I divided it into two pieces, one piece twice the size of the other. The large piece was used to line pie tins that had a diameter of 4 inches/10 cm. I had four of those and made extra using aluminium foil pie dishes fashioned into the correct shape.
Once the pastry cases were in the tins I left them, on the counter, overnight. Leaving them longer, for a couple of days will let them dry out even more. But overnight is good enough.
The lamb filling was made the following day and I filled the cases, but only two-thirds full. I thought I would have 6 pies, but when filling I realised that there was enough for 5 nicely filled ones. So 5 it was.
Then I used the remaining pastry to create the tops for the pies. I place the tops onto the filling and pressed it up against the sides a little (It is not important to make sure the top is sealed against the side).
Then I baked the pies for 35 minutes at 200C/180C Fan/390F and tested the internal temperature of the pies. That temperature was 90C which is over 190F so I knew the lamb was cooked through. I then took them out of the oven and left them for 10 minutes before removing them from the tins.
I cut one and tasted it. What a wonderful flavour. The lamb was juicy and so flavoursome. The peppery flavour was there too and I could also taste the herbs. So altogether it made a great tasting experience.
Another lovely recipe is Gala PIe
Scotch Pies – Traditional Scottish FavouriteCourse: Pies, TartsCuisine: ScottishDifficulty: Medium
200g(7 tbsp) lard
185ml(3/4 cup + 1 tsp) water
4g(2/3 tsp) salt
500g(3 1/3 cups, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) bread flour(plain will work too)
500g(17 1/2 ounces) minced lamb(or beef)
1.5g(1 1/2 tsp) mixed herbs
2g(2/3 tsp) ground mace (nutmeg will work too)
6g(1 tsp) salt
4g(1 tsp)pepper. ( I used white pepper for preference)
upto 60ml(4 tbsp) lamb stock, or other
- Place the water, lard and salt into a saucepan and bring it to the boil, until the lard is fully dissolved.
- Place the flour into a large bowl and pour the hot liquid over it.
- Stir the liquid into the flour( don’t use your hand as the liquid will be very hot indeed).
- When the flour has absorbed the liquid and has clumped together into a soft dough tip it onto a clean work surface.
- When the dough has cooled enough that it can be handled gently knead it for a couple of minutes.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave it to cool completely.
- Divide the dough into two pieces, one being 2/3 of the dough and the other being 1/3 of the dough.
- Wrap the smaller piece in plastic and set aside on the counter.
- Divide the remaining 2/3 of the dough into 5 equal pieces.
- Roll out each piece until it is large enough to cover the base and sides of a 4 inch, deep, pie tin(or whatever size you are using).
- Carefully line each tin with the pastry, trimming the top to level it.
- Set the lined tins aside on the counter and leave them overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/390F.
- Place the minced lamb into a bowl and break it up with a fork.
- Sprinkle the mace, pepper, salt and herbs over the top of the mince and stir around to mix them in.
- Add the stock, 1 tablespoon at a time and stir gently until the mixture begins to clump a little. You may not need all the stock.
- Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared pie cases and press the filling down, so it fills the case to about 2/3 full.
- Divide the remaining pastry into 5 pieces and roll them out to a diameter of about 4 inches.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut out a disc, then cut a small hole in the centre of the disk.
- Place the pastry disc onto the filling and gently press around the edge so that it just touches the side of the case. It is not important to seal the pastry.
- Place the pies on a baking tray and bake them for 35 minutes, until the meat and pastry are fully cooked.
- Remove the pies from the oven and leave them for about 10 minutes before removing from the tins.