Scotch pies have been around for hundreds of years. So long in fact that where and when they originated is unclear.
As they can be held in one hand, it is probable that they were a working man’s food like the Cornish pasty was for the west country miners.
Mutton was the traditional filling but beef is mostly used today. What sets these little pies apart is that they are made using lard based hot water pastry.
Some of the shop-bought scotch pies are really good but nothing beats homemade.
The best way to create the pie cases is using mini pie/cake tins like these here. If you don’t have or want to buy them, then the bottom of a glass bottle or jar will serve as a mould as long as it has straight sides.
A quick tip when using this method: put a layer of cling film on the glass first, it makes getting the pastry shells off a lot easier.
If you fancy some mash and gravy with your pie try these:
- Mini pie tins
For the Hot Water Pastry
- 250 g Plain flour 2 cups
- 100 g Lard 1/2 cup
- 120 ml Water 1/2 cup
For the Filling
- 300 g Lamb mince
- 1 Small onion
- 1 tsp Mixed herbs usually a combination of oregano, marjorum, and basil. You could also use rosemary.
- ½ teaspoon Mace
- 4 tbsp Lamb stock beef stock, or gravy (minimum amount, you may need more)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Start by oiling the pie tins with a little vegetable oil, or put cling film over the end of the glasses/jars you intend to use.
- Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the middle.
- Cut the lard into cubes and add to a small pot of hot water, stirring until it’s melted. Don’t allow the water to boil.
- Pour the mixture into the flour well and mix together with a wooden spoon, until it’s mostly combined. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead a little to make sure it’s fully combined. As the hot water pastry cools it becomes harder to manage so you need to work reasonably quickly.
- Divide the pastry into 4 balls and then take a little from each ball to save for the pie lid. Between a quarter to a third depending on the size of the pies you’re making.
- Roll out the pastry balls to about 5mm thickness one by one and put them into the pie tins, ensuring there is a flat even edge to the top of the sides of the pie. We rolled to approximately 20cm each for our 10cm tins. If you’re using a jar or glass then drape the pastry over and cut around it to ensure it has a flat edge where the top of the pie casing will be.
- Roll out the lids and put them on cling film or baking paper on a tray. The lids will need to fit inside of the pie casing so you’ll want to make sure they are not the exact size of the tins/cases but slightly smaller.
- Put all of the pastry in the fridge to harden.
- In the meantime, finely chop one small onion and fry in a pan. Add the mace and mixed herbs, and then put in a bowl with the minimum amount of stock/gravy.
- Once cooled add to the lamb and mix through. Add additional stock/gravy if the mixture isn’t too wet. You don’t want there to be too much liquid as it will leak out of the pie while cooking and make the pastry soggy.
- Divide the lamb mixture up and fill the pie cases about 3/4 full.
- Push the pie lids down into the pie casing, so they are around 1cm from the top of the pie.
- Cut a small hole in the top of the pies to let the air escape.
- Put the pies in the oven for around 45 minutes at 180°C or 356°F. Check at 35/40 minutes as you want the pastry to be just golden-brown.
- You can remove from the tins as soon as they’re cool enough to handle.