Happy Australia Day! My uncle was the family pie-maker and he always made pies for family gatherings and then would take us out to buy us each an ice-cream in a cone. Then I married a man who was brought up in a cake shop where the pies were FAMOUS!  That’s almost like double dipping in the good things of life don’t you think?

They agreed on the fundamental precept and that is, you should ALWAYS know what goes into your pies.

Here is the way to make that happen – make them yourself!  They may not be cheaper but the quality will be super high.


  • 500g round steak cut into 1 cm cubes
  • Toss in a bag with flour, a dessert spoon of sugar, a beef stock cube and some salt & pepper to taste.
  • Fry this in some oil or butter (the oldies used dripping) till the sugar caramelizes.
  • Add a cup of water or red wine with a dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • A carrot diced finely

Simmer this mixture, making sure that you stir in all the sticking bits on the base of the pan.  Cover and cook till the mixture is thick, brown and juicy and looks like pie filling!  Cool before using (perhaps make it a day ahead).

Pie base

  • 250g   plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 60 g beef dripping (this can be purchased but it is a great use of the fatty bits of beef – render them by boiling in water to cover, till the fat is released.  Cool in fridge or freezer, scrape off the chunks of dripping and throw the rest away.)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • Sprinkle of  extra flour for rolling.


Sift flour and salt into a bowl, combine dripping and water together into a saucepan, stir till dripping melts. Stir till combined. Turn out onto a marble slab, knead slightly until smooth. Roll out and line base and sides of 8 greased 10 cm X 10cm  (4 in X 4 in) pie tins.

Put in the fridge for a half hour.

Then fill with the meat and cover with the puff pastry.


Bought puff pastry if you like but the best recipe for this is here. And I would advocate watching this video clip as well.

Make this a day ahead and put in the fridge before rolling out.

To prepare topping, preheat oven to moderate 180 C (375 F).

Roll puff pastry onto a floured sheet . Cut a circle to fit tops of pie. Wet edge of pastry and stick to the base. Brush top with egg and milk mixture to glaze if you want and make a small hole in the centre of pie to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes at 180 degrees C (375 F) until pies are golden brown.

These are great for picnics, after school snacks or for when you just want a good ol’ fashioned pie!

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