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Prep 1hr (+ 2hr cooling and pastry making time)Bake 45-50minMakes 12 small pies
Meat pies are the quintessential Aussie bakery favourite... But they are even better when homemade!
3 quantities Basic Shortcrust Pastry, each quantity shaped into a disc before wrapping and chilling as directed
1 egg, lightly whisked
Sesame seeds, to sprinkle (optional)
35g (1¼ oz/¼ cup) plain flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1kg (2lb 3oz) trimmed chuck steak, cut into 2cm (¾in) pieces (see Baker's Tips)
60ml (2fl oz/¼ cup) olive oil
1 large brown onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, trimmed and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
250ml (9fl oz/1 cup) good-quality beef stock
500ml (17fl oz/2 cups) water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Season the flour with salt and pepper. Place in a large bowl with the diced steak and toss to coat.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a high heat and cook half the diced steak, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until sealed. Remove from the pan, scraping any cooked-on bits from the base, and set aside. Repeat with another tablespoon oil and the remaining steak.
- Clean the pan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion, celery and carrot and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the onion starts to soften. Add the garlic and cook for a further 1 minute, stirring occasionally, or until aromatic. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Return the steak to the pan with the stock, water and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat to low, cover with a piece of baking paper and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and then simmer for a further 1 hour, stirring frequently or until the meat is tender and the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce consistency. Transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl, cover loosely and place in the fridge, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature (this will take about 2 hours).
- When ready to assemble the pies, preheat oven to 200°C/400°F (180°C/350°C fan-forced). Unwrap one of the pastry discs and place on a lightly floured, cool bench top. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the pastry disc until about 3mm (1⁄8 in) thick. Use a 14cm (5½in) pastry cutter, saucer or upturned bowl as a guide to cut out 6 rounds, re-rolling any leftover pastry if necessary. Gently ease the pastry discs into the holes of an ungreased 12-hole 80ml (2¾fl oz/1⁄3 cup) muffin tray to line six holes. Use your fingertips to press it gently into the corners without stretching it – the pastry will reach above the top of the muffin pans and buckle slighlty. Repeat with another pastry disc to make 12 pastry cases in total. Divide the steak mixture between the pastry cases to fill (you may have a little mixture left over).
- Roll out the remaining pastry to about 3mm (1⁄8in) thick and use a 7cm (2¾in) round pastry cutter to cut out 12 lids. Use a small sharp knife to cut a small steam hole in the centre of each round (see Baker’s Tips). Place a lid over the mixture to cover each pie, brush each lid with the whisked egg and then fold the excess pastry from the bases over the top of the lids, crimping and pressing together to seal. Brush the top of each pie with some more of the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using.
- Bake the pies in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through and golden. Stand the pies in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out and serving.
- You will need about 1.5kg untrimmed chuck steak for this recipe.
- You can also make the steam holes in the pastry lids by using a 1cm piping nozzle to cut a hole in the centre of each lid before placing it on top of the pies.
- These pies will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat in an oven preheated to 160°C/315°F (140°C/285°F fan-forced) for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
- To freeze, wrap individually in plastic wrap and then seal in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating (see above tip).
Prep 15min (+20-30min chilling time)Makes: Enough for a 23cm/9in round tart case
A really good, well-made, homemade pastry is always the secret to a fabulous pie or tart and shortcrust pastry, when you have a good recipe, is one of the simplest and quickest pastries to make. Here I have given lots of making ahead and freezing tips as well as some great variations to use in a selection of both sweet and savoury tarts and pies.
Ingredients225g (1½ cups/8oz) plain flour
Good pinch salt
150g (5¼oz) chilled unsalted butter, diced
3-3½ tablespoons (60-70ml/2½fl oz) iced water
- Combine the flour and salt in a large, wide mixing bowl. Add the chilled butter. With your palms facing upwards, use your fingertips to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs with some larger pieces of butter still visible.
- Sprinkle 3 tablespoons (60ml/2fl oz) of the iced water over the flour and butter mixture. Use a butter or round-ended knife in a cutting motion to mix, turning the bowl frequently, until evenly combined and the mixture starts holding together. Press a little of the mixture between your fingers – if it holds together easily, there is no need to add more water; if it doesn’t add the remaining 1⁄2 tablespoon (10ml/⅓fl oz), a teaspoon at a time, combining with the knife until it reaches the right consistency. The pastry should be soft but not sticky.
- Bring the pastry together with your hands in the bowl or turn out onto a cool bench top and then bring together. Lightly knead the pastry with your fingertips for about 5-10 seconds or until it comes together but isn’t completely smooth. Shape the pastry into a disc about 2cm/¾in thick, wrap well in plastic wrap, baking paper or beeswax wrap and place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to rest. Use as directed.
This pastry is also enough for a 24cm/9½in square tart case; ten 6cm/2¼in or eight 8cm/3¼in) individual round tart cases; a 12cmx34.5cm/4¾inx13½in) rectangular tart case; or 24 tartlet cases (1 Tbsp/20ml/¾fl oz capacity)
Making AheadKeeping in the fridge
Shape uncooked pastry into a disc. Wrap well in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Stand at room temperature for about 1 hour (depending on the temperature in your kitchen) until softened slightly and pliable enough to roll easily.
Freezing uncooked pastry
Shape uncooked pastry into a disc. Wrap well in plastic wrap, then seal in a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months. Transfer to the fridge to thaw completely (this will take about 1 day). Stand at room temperature for about 1 hour (depending on the weather) until softened slightly and pliable enough to roll easily.
Freezing uncooked pastry case/s
Place the pastry case, still in the tin or dish, in the freezer until frozen. Once frozen, leave the pastry in the tin or dish or remove and seal in freezer bag or an airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 months. Bake in the tin or dish directly from the freezer or transfer to the fridge to thaw completely in the tin or dish (this will take about 1 day) and then bake as directed.
- Rich Shortcrust Pastry: Increase the butter to 170g (6oz). Replace the water with 1 lightly whisked egg yolk.
- Parmesan Shortcrust Pastry: Combine 40g (½ cup/1½oz) finely grated parmesan to the flour and butter mixture just before adding the water.
- Mustard Shortcrust Pastry: Add 1½ teaspoons dry mustard powder to the flour and salt before rubbing in the butter.
- Sweet Shortcrust Pastry: Stir 2 tablespoons sifted icing sugar or caster sugar to the flour and butter mixture just before adding the water.
- Chocolate Shortcrust Pastry: Reduce the flour to 200g (1⅓cups/7oz). Sift the flour with 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons icing sugar and the salt before rubbing in the butter.
- Sweet Orange & Vanilla Shortcrust Pastry: Reduce the flour to 200g (1⅓cups/7oz). Add 2 tablespoons almond meal, 2 tablespoons caster or icing sugar and 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest to the flour and salt before rubbing in the butter. Add 1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract with the water.
Photography by Alan Benson.