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Scotch Pies

Also known as mutton pies, these have a very long history. In the middle ages, they were frowned upon by the Scottish church, viewed as luxurious, decadent English-style food. In later centuries, they proved to be convenient and sustaining snacks for working people, who would buy them hot from pie-men or pie-wives in the city streets. The space on top of the pie, created by the raised crust, would sometimes be filled with gravy, beans or mashed potato.


  • For the hot water crust pastry

  • 160ml water

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 120g lard

  • 360g plain flour

  • Beaten egg yolk, to glaze

  • Filling

  • 600g minced mutton

  • ¼ tsp mace

  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

  • 75ml gravy or stock

  • Salt and white pepper


  • 1.

    Preheat your oven to 200°C/gas 6. Choose a baking tray that has an edge and line it with parchment.

  • 2.

    First make the filling. Mix the ingredients together, seasoning well and working the liquid into the meat. Divide into 4 portions and mould into balls. Refrigerate while you make the pastry.

  • 3.

    Have ready 4 strips of greaseproof paper, about 5cm deep and 25cm long, to wrap around the pies. You’ll also need 4 pieces of string to secure the paper.

  • 4.

    To make the pastry, heat the water, salt and lard in a saucepan until just boiling. Pour the mixture onto the flour and mix together with a spoon. Once cool enough to handle, tip onto a floured surface and knead into a smooth dough.

  • 5.

    Working as quickly as you can, cut off a quarter of the pastry and set aside. Divide the remaining dough into 4 balls. Roll out each ball to an 18cm circle, about 5mm thick. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out 4 circular lids, 10cm in diameter. Place a ball of filling on each large circle of pastry. Gather the pastry around the meat and bring up the sides to form the shape of a pork pie. Keep stretching the pastry so it comes above the meat by around 2cm. Dampen the edges of the pies with water and press the lids on top of the filling. Seal the edges together with your fingers. Wrap a strip of greaseproof paper around the pie and secure with string, to make sure the pie holds its shape when cooked. This is much easier if you have someone to help you. Repeat until you have 4 pies.

  • 6.

    Put the pies on the baking tray and cut a steam hole in the centre of each. Brush with egg yolk. Leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes, then bake for 35–40 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot.

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