A game pie always makes a spectacular centerpiece and this handsome example is amazingly straightforward to make – especially if you buy mixed game meat ready-prepared from a good butcher.


  • For the hot water crust pastry

  • 450g plain flour

  • 100g strong white bread flour

  • 75g cold, unsalted butter, cut into roughly 1cm dice

  • 200ml water

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 100g lard

  • Beaten egg yolk, to glaze

  • For the filling

  • 2 eschalions (banana shallots), finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 700g mixed, boned, diced

  • game meat, such as venison, rabbit, pheasant, pigeon and/or boar

  • 200g minced pork belly

  • 200g back bacon, rind removed, diced

  • 2 tbsp Madeira

  • ½ tsp ground mace

  • ½ tsp ground allspice

  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

  • 2 tbsp chopped thyme

  • Salt and white pepper


  • 1.

    Heat your oven to 200°C/gas 6. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin, about 7cm deep, with lard.

  • 2.

    First make the filling. In a large bowl, mix the shallot and garlic. Add the game, pork belly mince, diced bacon, Madeira, spices and herbs. Season with salt and a little white pepper. Using your hands, mix all the ingredients thoroughly together. Put in the fridge while you prepare the pastry.

  • 3.

    To make the pastry, combine the flours in a bowl, add the butter and rub in lightly with your fingertips. 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.

  • 4.

    Work as quickly as you can now (as the pastry will become more crumbly as it cools). Cut off two-thirds of the pastry, roll it out and use to line the prepared tin, leaving any excess hanging over the side. Check there are no cracks or holes in the pastry. Roll out the remaining pastry for the lid and leave to one side.

  • 5.

    Spoon the filling into the pastry-lined tin. Press it down and level the surface.

  • 6.

    Brush the pastry edge with beaten egg yolk and place the pastry lid on top. Crimp the edges to seal and trim off the excess pastry neatly. Brush the top with more egg yolk. Make a hole in the middle of the lid for steam.

  • 7.

    Stand the tin on a baking tray and bake the pie for 30 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 160°C/gas 3 and bake for a further 1¾ hours.

  • 8.

    Leave the pie to cool completely in the tin before removing. Slice on a plate to catch any juices. Serve at room temperature.

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