All about Meat Pies and How to Cook Them

Baking is in general terms the application of dry heat in an oven, moisture coming only from the item being cooked. Meat itself is rarely baked but is encased in pastry to make a pie as in steak and kidney pie and chicken pie.

Meat pies

There are two main methods of making pies — with raw filling or with a cooked filling. The simplest type of pie is made by placing the pre-cooked filling in a pie dish and covering with short or puff paste. Savory meat pies made from raw meat require puff pastry as this stands up better to prolonged cooking than other pastes.

Pies may also be made with pre-cooked meat enclosed between two layers of pastry, the bottom one being made of short paste and the top either of puff or short paste. The filling for pies made in this way must be rather thick and not contain too much sauce or else the bottom crust will become soggy. Gravy may be served with this kind of pie, but not with single crust pies as the filling will contain sufficient gravy itself.

Simple fillings may be made by plain boiling diced meat with onions and seasoning and thickening it with either a mixture of flour and water (known as a jazey) or diluted cornflour or arrowroot. An alternative method is to cook the meat as for Brown Stewed Meat (Ragoût of Beef) before turning it into a pie dish.

Note:
In order to distinguish a savory pie from a fruit pie it is general practice to eggwash and decorate the former and to leave the latter plain. (Sometimes fruit pies are also sprinkled with sugar
353 before cooking which caramelises when cooked.) The decoration of a meat pie is usually in the form of leaves and a small hole is made in the centre of the pie to allow the steam to escape
thus preventing the pastry topping from becoming soggy.

Ingredients:

— prepared filling
— 650 grams puff paste
— 2 eggs (eggwash)

Method:

(1) Divide the cold filling into the required number of pie dishes.

(2) Line the edge of the pie dish with a strip of puff paste 3 mm in thickness and lightly eggwash.

(3) Cover with a sheet of puff paste 3 mm thick. Seal firmly and crimp the edges.

(4) Trim around the edges to remove excess paste holding the knife at an angle of 45° from underneath the dish. Decorate with leaves of paste. Make a small hole in the center to allow steam to escape.

(5) Allow to rest for as long as possible (approximately 1 hour).

(6) Lightly eggwash the surface.

(7) Place in the oven standing on a baking sheet until lightly brown in color. Reduce the temperature of the oven and cover the pie paste with foil to prevent burning. Cook until ready.

(8) Remove from the oven, clean round the edges of the dish, place on an underdish lined with a dish paper and place a pie collar around the pie.

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