Secrets to a stable and flaky meat pie crust
I don’t know about you guys, but I am often very disappointed with the meat pie offerings at many of our African parties or weddings. Eagerly anticipating the promise of various finger foods or “small chops” as we call them, I quickly spot the meat pie stash on a tray and proceed to grab one with the promise of the savory meaty goodness, only to bite into a mediocre filling and bready crust. Since my last meat pie recipe (which I admit was a bit standard… still great, but not a knock out), I have been toiling in the kitchen to bring you all the best fail-proof meat pie recipe. My requirements for perfection are:
- A stable crust. I have no problems with flaky crusts especially since I am used to making flaky puff pastry, but I need the crust to be more stable. Regular puff pastry would be too delicate for this recipe most of the time.
- Flaky crust. I also need the crust to be light and airy. I love meat pies, but tough dough pies are not my speed.
What you will need:
175g All-purpose flour
175g bread flour
1 ½ sticks or 12 tbsp or ¾ cups or 170g of unsalted cold butter (cut into chunks)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
15-20 tbsp ice cold water
NOTE: NO, do not use only all purpose flour or only bread flour. The bread flour adds more structure to the dough and the all purpose flour keeps it light.
- In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt, and gently cut in the cold butter chunks with a pastry blender, fork, knife or your good-ole fingers. The texture should not resemble that of bread crumbs! It should have pieces if butter range in sizes, between a pea and a grape.
- Add the cold water a tablespoon at a time, while mixing with a wooden spoon to bring the dough together. Add water until the dough comes together, be sure not to add too much water at once. You must use ice-cold water!
- Bring the dough together on a floured surface and rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Make sure the dough is wrapped or covered whilst in the refrigerator.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough in a rough rectangle in one direction. Fold the top third down to the center (from the short end of the dough), then the bottom third up and over that (think about folding it in thirds like folding a letter). Wrap the dough again and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, repeat step 4 rolling out the dough (short side facing you) into a rectangle and folding like a letter. This repetition creates the famous pus pastry layers and flakiness, without having to go through the technical process of laminating the dough.
- After the dough has rested for thirty minutes, cut the dough into 12 even pieces without disturbing the layers as much as possible. Roll out each piece into rough circles and stuff with the
Note: Make sure the dough is cold every time you are rolling it out. If the butter in the dough begins to soften/ melt, STOP, and place in the refrigerator until the butter is solid enough to handle
Notice the layers. There should be layers! Please and Thank you!
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 3 medium sized carrots, diced
- 4 golden potatoes, diced
- 16oz/ 1lb of ground beef
- 3 tbsp unflavored oil (I used sunflower oil)
- 1 tsp bullion
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp of curry
- Prepared dough
- Salt to taste
- Heat up the oil in a skillet and saute the onions, carrots, and potatoes for 5 minutes on medium heat.
- Add in the crushed red pepper flakes, thyme, curry and bullion and continue sauteing the onions, potatoes and carrots for another 3 minutes.
- Add the ground beef into the sauteing vegetables, and keep stirring the mixture to ensure the ground beef does not stick together.
- Once the meat is cooked and turns from pink to brown, add in the bell peppers and keep stirring for another 3 minutes. At this point, taste the mixture and adjust the salt to your taste.
- Set aside and allow to cool completely before filling into the pastry.
- Preheat your oven to 375°F just before assembling the pies.
- To fill the pastry simply place about 2 table spoons of the prepared filling one half of pastry circle. Brush the edges with water and fold the other half over filling. Seal the pies by pressing gently with a fork or by pinching the edges with your fingers. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining pastry and filling (there was a little left over filling in my case).
- You may glaze the pies with a beaten egg (I used a mixture of milk and hot sauce since I do not eat eggs). Use a knife to create shallow vent holes on the top of the pies so they do not burst open.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
- Once your pies are out of the oven allow them to cool for 15 minutes then serve!