Keef Cooks logo
British food-lover Keef shows you how to cook amazing food with easy to follow recipes and videos. So stop wasting your time and money on takeaways or supermarket ready meals, and Get Cooking!

Scotch Pie

Introduction & method

Scotch pies were traditionally made with a mutton filling, but that's quite hard to find these days, so lamb is used. Scotch pies are similar to pork pies, in that the meat is fairly dry, not in a sauce, and it is raw when it goes into the pie. What makes scotch pies special is that the pastry is very thin and dry, the lid is recessed below the rim of the pie, and the filling is greasy to soften the pastry.

Scotch Pie Recipe

Make the Hot Water Pastry

Cut the lard into small pieces, put them in a small saucepan with the water and slowly heat until all the lard has melted. In a large heat-resistant bowl, stir the salt into the flour. Make a well in the centre and pour in half of the lard and water. Mix well, then add the remaining liquid. The dough will be very dry, so you'll probably need to tip it out onto your worktop and knead it a bit until it comes together.

Make the Pie Shells

The pie bases (shells) need to be well-chilled, firmly set and a little dried-out before you can use them. Some people say you should leave them to dry in the open in your kitchen, or in the fridge, for 3 days. I tried this and it wasn't noticably better than the ones that were drying in the fridge for 5 hours - even 3 hours would give a decent result. It's not a great idea to dry the lids out - you can roll and cut those just before you need them. Separate enough pastry to make 6 lids and wrap it tightly in plastic film. You'll need some kind of rings or ramekins to form your shells. They should be 9-10mm (3½-4 inches) diameter, and 3cm (1¼ inch) tall. Butter the inside of your formers. Sprinkle flour on your worktop and roll some dough as thinly as you can. Seriously, it'll be hard work, but the thinner you can get it, the better. Now sprinkle a generous amount of flour on the pastry disc and lay it into a former, floured side down. Use a blob of spare dough to press the pastry right down into the bottom of the former. Try not to get any folds or creases in the pastry. Roughly cut of the excess dough around the top - don't cut it right up to the rim at this stage. Place the shells in the fridge to dry out for between 3 hours and three days. After 3 hours the shells should be firm enough to be removed from their formers.

Prepare the Filling

You need to use the fattiest lamb you can get hold of - you might even add some slivers of frozen lard just before you put the filling in the pie. Mix the meat and seasonings thoroughly by hand, cover and place in the fridge. 

Make the Lids

Roll out the remaining dough as thinly as you can and use the top of one of your formers as a cutter to cut out 6 discs. Make a large hole in the centre of each disc - I use the narrow end of a funnel for this.

Assemble the Pies

You'll want to have your oven heated to 160°C (320°F) if it's a fan oven, or 180°C (356°F), gas 4, if not. Take your meat filling out of the fridge. Divide the meat into equal-sized balls and squish one ball into each pie shell. It should be quite thin, like a mini hamburger, and shouldn't come more than halfway up the side of the pie shell. moisten the edge of one lid with water and press it down over the filling. Smooth the edge of the lid against the inside of the shell. Paint the top and sides of the pie with milk.

Bake the Pies

Put the pies onto a floured baking sheet and bake them for 35-40 minutes. Serve with chips or mash, mushy peas or baked beans, and gravy. Traditionally, some of those accompaniments would be put in the recessed top of the pie. You can also eat these pies cold.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Scotch Pie on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 450 grams plain (all-purpose) flour
 150 ml water
 150 grams lard
 1 tsp salt
 450 grams minced (ground) lamb or mutton
 1 tsp salt
 1½ tsp ground black pepper
 1 tsp ground nutmeg or mace

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 6 pies
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Chilling time: 3 hours.
Cooking time: 35 minutes.
Total time: 3 hours 50 minutes.