By Neil Muir (NEILMUIR1) on March 22, 2011

This wonderful dish is always a family favourite. Ideal for lunch, a snack or a supper. It is always a delight, yet it is not hard to make. Also great for picnics and buffets, it is absolutely delicious with chutney, pickles, and mustard's or just on its own. The choice is yours!

This stunning and old-fashioned pie has many names depending on where you come from in the UK! It was made everywhere from the large houses to farms, and by housewives where the ingredients were readily available, as it is quite easy to make. It seemed to go out of fashion, but lately can be seen at well to do Wedding buffets, to lunchtime snacks being eaten out for lunch in Restaurants, and gastro pubs. To start you will need a two-pound loaf tin that is well greased on the inside and around the edges. There are two ways of making this, one the old way with just a greased loaf dish and the other with a greased dish and then baking paper added to the dish. It is swings and roundabouts whatever way you do it! For the old way it is easy to get your pastry in, but cannot be so easy to get it out. With baking paper getting the pastry in can be tricky, but getting your pie out is easy. I am using the old way! The pictures show the dishes greased and the one on the right with the baking paper in.

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Now for the pastry,  there are in fact three ways of making this. All the same apart from the fat with the butter. The fat you put in is up to what you can get hold of, how you like your pastry and basically in the end your health!  You will need; 16 oz of plain flour, approx 4.5 oz of butter sliced and diced, 4.5 oz of lard chilled and diced, 1 medium egg yolk, and milk! But you can use 50% butter and 50 % vegetable fat for pastry making. Or if you like your pastry really short and very flaky add 100% butter. You can do the next bit like my grandma did by hand, but if you do have a food proccessor it does make things a bit easier. Add the flour, butter and lard and give it a blitz until it gets crumbly, put your egg yolk in then a bit of milk and blitz again till it all comes together. I added mine on a board with a dusting of flour as I am using 100% butter, although the correct way is with 50 % lard! Put your pastry on some cling film/plastic film and cover with some more on top, then flatten it down and place in the fridge for about an hour!

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Get a pan to the boil and add six large free range eggs, bring to the simmer and cook for 7 minutes and no more. Then plunge in cold water by cooling down in the pan with the tap running till cold and leave them there. This stops them overcooking or the yolk going black! The pictures show this although you may not need all six eggs, I always cook one extra, and you will find out why!

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For the pie filling you will need; two pounds of *sausage meat, half a large or one medium finely chopped onion, one tablespoon of finely chopped sage, one tablespoon of finely chopped thyme, black pepper and one tablespoon of English or Dijon mustard. Mix the sausage meat with all the ingredients and leave to stand at room temperature.

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Now for the pastry, which should be cold as it rolls better and is easier to work when cold. I do the top first but you can cut it into two thirds for the base, and a third for the top. Place a layer of cling film/plastic film on your board/work surface and place a square block on top as shown. Then place another layer of film over the top but do not seal. You can now roll it out to the size of the pie lid and to the size you wish and need without getting flour everywhere. Once the top is rolled out you can easily work out the bottom size, then add the size of the sides and the overlap you need. There is a method in my madness.

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Once your top is rolled out, start on the base and do the same. The pastry should be just under a quarter of an inch thick. Now add your base into the greased loaf tin/dish. Do not worry about any overlap, as you need that to crimp it shut tightly. Fill the bottom with one third of your pie filling and firm well down.

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Peel your eggs, and then chop each end of till the yolk shows. I use a spoon to do the next bit, as you have to make a trench/trough in the sausage meat to place your eggs in.

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Eggs placed in the pie filling, nice and neatly in the trench you have made.


Fill each side of the eggs with your pie filling, firming in all the way. Then once the eggs can no longer be seen add the rest of the filling and firm well. Now add your pastry topping like this, after egg washing the bottom and top. An egg wash can be made with an egg yolk and milk, beaten and then brushed on.

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Then crimp the sides with your forefinger and thumb to get a good seal around the edges,. Pierce a steam hole cross in the middle of the pie, and add some pastry leaves. Then egg wash the whole top of the pie! Place in a preheated oven at 375F for one and a half hours or until the pastry is lovely and brown. Once done, remove from the oven and cool immediately on a rack. Once cold place in a fridge and then leave overnight. Next day remove your pie from its dish. If you have trouble trim the edges off. They do normally come out!


Then you have this to look forward to! A slice in the background served with pickle.

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Although I like mine the old fashioned way with pickle or mustard, some people like a slice served with a green salad. Although my father likes his with chips! It takes all sorts I suppose.

It is nice to see the resurgence of these dishes, as they are part of our heritage. What could be better than a pie and a pint, at any time of year? Each one of these pies weighs well over two pounds in weight, so will feed quite a few people.

If you have trouble getting sausage meat and cannot get sausages which you can use if you take the skins off, you can make your own *sausage meat!



For Nancy.

Related articles:
black pepper, chips, chutney, Gala pie, green salad. pie and a pint. resyrgence of a classic dish., hard boiled eggs and sausage meat, herbs, mustard's, onions, pastry, pickles, sage and thyme, Scotch Ham & Egg pie

About Neil Muir
I started as a seven year Apprentice for a Parks Department on the London\Kent borders. Going to college one day a week and working in the varied Victorian parks, gardens and nurseries five days a week.
After this I worked for many large estates and became Head Gardener in different locations. However with the growing use of pesticides and herbicides I went back to University, primarily to study Conservation and Ecology, but relevant to the now growing organic movement in the UK. After 28 years in Horticulture due to an accident I was informed I could no longer do the physical work involved and was retired. I love supporting the Great British Gardens we have in our small island, and cooking the traditional food of this Country. My hobbies are listening to bagpipe music, steam trains and model making, plus of course gardening.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
That sounds delicious. Happy_1 Mar 27, 2011 3:03 PM 18
gala pie murielw1 Mar 24, 2011 10:19 AM 2
pie irisarian Mar 22, 2011 11:17 PM 17
gala pie murielw1 Mar 22, 2011 12:47 PM 4

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