Meat pies are delicious but require you to do a little cooking on the stove before you bake them. You don't have to cook the meat all the way through on the stove; just brown it off before adding it to the other pie ingredients. That way, your meat looks delicious and inviting, rather than grey and nondescript. This works no matter what type of meat pie you're making, from a beef pot pie to a shepherd's pie. It also applies whether you use a pastry crust or not.
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Things you need
- Pastry crust
- Pie pan or casserole dish
- Aluminium foil
- Dry, uncooked beans, rice, or a heavy metal chain
- Meat pie filling
- Spoon (optional)
- Piping bag (optional)
Preheat your oven to 218 degrees Celsius. Poke the crust all over with a fork to dock the pie crust; this prevents it from puffing up and trapping steam, which leads to soggy crust.
Place a piece of aluminium foil on top of the pie crust. Press it into place, so that it's in direct contact with the pie crust. Cover all parts of the pie crust, including the edges; use more than one piece of aluminium foil if necessary.
Pour dry, uncooked rice or beans, or a length of heavy metal chain on top of the aluminium foil to weight the crust down. This will keep the crust flat as it bakes.
Pre-bake the pie crust for 15 minutes at 218 degrees Celsius. Remove the crust from the oven, and remove the pie weight and aluminium foil. Turn the temperature down to 350, and return the uncovered crust to the oven for another 12 minutes.
Pour the meat pie filling into the pre-baked pie crust. Press the top crust into place, if you are making a double-crust meat pie. Bake for 45 minutes, or for the amount of time specified by your pie recipe.
With a Pastry Crust
Preheat your oven to 177 degrees Celsius. Grease a pie pan or casserole dish with butter all over. Work in bright light, so that you can turn the pan to see whether or not you have covered it completely. Pay special attention to the inside crease and any corners in the pan.
Pour the meat pie ingredients into the prepared pan. If you are using mashed potatoes on top, such as for a shepherd's pie, spoon or pipe them on top of the other meat pie filling.
Cover the pie with foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes.
Remove the aluminium foil from the top of the pan, then place the pie back in the oven for another 15 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. If you are using mashed potatoes or a little bit of grated cheese on top, the browning will be more readily visible.
Tips and warnings
- If you use dry, uncooked rice or beans as your pie weight, you can use them again and again for this purpose. Simply keep these items separate from your other beans and rice, and allow them to cool completely before you cover and put them away each time.
- Some meat pie recipes do not specify that you need to prebake your pie crust. This is mostly a matter of preference. For a crisper crust, with a texture that is distinct from the filling, prebake your crust. If you prefer a softer, mushier crust, skip the prebaking, fill the raw pie crust, and bake.
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