Sunday, August 1, 2010


The pie is the quintessential New Zealand fast food. You can buy them in any dairy (convenience store), petrol station, bakery, or lunch bar. Traditionally they're filled with mince or beef stew, and have either a pastry lid or potato top. Bacon and egg pies have always been around, although not as ubiquitously as the mince ones. Over the last 15 years or so there has been a trend towards up-market trendy pies like chicken and apricot, or venison and red wine.

Today I made pies from what I had lying around. They're a bit like quiches, but with a stronger pastry. I intend to take these pies to work for my lunches this week, and a pie needs strong pastry so as not to fall to bits in one's hand.

I grated 90 g of cold butter into about a cup and a quarter of standard flour …

… added half a teaspoon of salt and tossed it all to mix …

… slowly added cold water with a little vinegar mixed in until it almost came together …

… then kneaded it a bit to get it all into a lump.

Then I took the rolling pin to it, and rolled and folded it a couple of times as you would with flaky pastry, just to get it well combined and in a sort of rectangular shape:

By this time it needed a bit of a rest, as it was becoming difficult to roll. I started on the filling.
I fried some of my home made bacon …

… and when that was nearly done I added some caramelised onions from the fridge …

… and cooked them all together for a while before leaving the mixture to cool.

Back to the pastry. I rolled it out, not too thinly (remember, these pies have to be eaten by hand) and cut it into six bits. The two smaller bits will get layered on top of each other and rolled out to make one pie.

This is a commercial pie dish, I have five of them:

They're about five inches long. Those sharp edges are very handy.

Once you've lined the dish with pastry, you roll the rolling pin over the top:

The sharp edges cut the pastry off exactly where you want it trimmed:

Five lined pie dishes:

I stack them on top of each other and put them in a plastic bag in the fridge for half an hour or so to rest.

While they were resting I dealt with the scraps. In our house when I was small, it was traditional for any small pile of pastry scraps to be turned into a jam tart for Dad's, or an especially well behaved child's, dessert. I keep the tradition going, although there is no longer any Dad to get the tart - my turn now!

Firstly I pile the pastry scraps up. This is not really flaky pastry, but I treat it as though it is. It's a bit of a cross between flaky and short crust, I suppose. There will be a few layers from the folding, but not many.

Again, I roll and fold to get a tidy rectangle …

Usually I make a turnover, but I decided to be a bit fancy today, and made a braid:

I wasn't particularly fussed about letting it rest - it's scraps, after all, and destined for my stomach. I baked it while the pie pastry was resting.

Back to the pies. The bacon onion mixture went in first …

… followed by a little frozen grated cheese …

… some slow roasted tomato halves …

… and some egg beaten with milk and salt. I ground some pepper over the tops:

Then into a hot oven for 15 minutes, after which I turned the heat down to cook the fillings for a further 30 minutes or so. I sat them directly on the preheated pizza stone to make sure the pastry bottoms wouldn't become soggy.

In this photo you can see the slight layering of the pastry in the jam tart:

I showed a great deal of self restraint, and only ate the ends. I'm saving most of it for lunch.


  1. Oh my! both items look delish and I bet they are!

    and you made the jam tart look great braiding it!

  2. The pies look great but I especially liked the bit about the leftover-pastry jam tarts. My mother used to make those too and I remember the pain of burning my lip with jam 'lava' from greedily eating them before they had cooled enough.