Scotch Pie Recipe

This Scotch Pie Recipe is the ultimate hot, quick food.
By Angela Boggiano
November 27, 2013
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This Scotch Pie Recipe is a handy favorite that features ground lamb inside a hot-water crust.
Photo Courtesy Octopus Publishing

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Newly revised, Angela Boggiano’s Pie (Octopus Publishing, 2013) offers over 100 recipes for creations both sweet and savory. Boggiano helps create perfection from such a simple idea: meat, vegetables or fruit cooked in their own juices produce the best flavors. Encase it all in a pastry crust, and these pies will impress any dining audience. This Scotch Pie Recipe comes from the chapter “Hand Pie.”

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Pie.

Scotch Pie Recipe

Makes 8 pies

Large numbers of Scotch pies are sold every day in Scotland—many at half-time during soccer matches. They are the ultimate hot fast food, easily eaten in the hand or served with gravy, peas, or beans. Traditionally they’re made using straight-sided molds 3 1/2 inch (8cm) in diameter and about 1 1/2 inch (4cm) deep, but you could easily use an upturned jelly jar. The pastry lid is pressed on top of the pie slightly lower than the rim to create a space for the gravy.

Each butcher or baker has their own recipe with an individual mixture of spices and secret ingredients, but Scotch pies always contain lamb or mutton and a grinding of mace or nutmeg. Try to buy good-quality lean ground lamb as it really does make a difference to the finished pie.

If you don’t want to bake all your pies at once, you can freeze them uncooked and simply defrost and bake when desired.


For the pastry:

15 ounces (450g) hot-water pastry (see below)
beaten egg, to glaze

For the filling:

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cups (450g) lean ground lamb
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons lamb stock
salt and ground black pepper


1. Use the oil to lightly grease the outer sides and bottoms of 8 jelly jars measuring 3 1/2 inch (8cm) in diameter (if you don’t have 8 jars just make the pastry cases in 2 batches). Divide the pastry into 2 pieces. Place 1 in the refrigerator to make the lids and use the other to form 8 balls.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the balls to an even thickness of about 1/4 inch (5mm), making pastry disks large enough to fit the upturned jelly jar bottoms and to come about 2 1/2 inch (6cm) down the sides of the jars. Press each disk onto the bottom of a jar and up against the sides, then set aside to cool.

3. Cut 8 strips of baking parchment or waxed paper the same depth as the pastry cases and long enough to wrap around the jars. Wrap each strip of paper around a case and secure with string. Place the finished pie shells in the refrigerator to firm up for about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, mix all of the filling ingredients together, seasoning well with salt and ground black pepper.

5. Gently slide the pastry cases off the jars and place them on a baking sheet. Divide the meat mixture between the pastry cases, pressing it down well.

6. Roll out the remaining pastry to make 8 lids for the pies. Dampen the edges of the pies and place a lid on each, pressing them down lower than the rim. Crimp the edges with your fingers to seal.

7. Brush with beaten egg to glaze and cut a hole in the center, to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes, or until lightly golden, then serve hot with gravy poured on top and into the steam hole.

Hot-Water Crust

Makes about 1 pound of pastry

This pastry gets its name from the hot water which is added to make a malleable dough strong enough to hold the filling. It is used for making raised pies such as pork pies, raised game pies, and Scotch pies. The addition of just a little confectioner’s sugar increases the richness of the pastry without adding sweetness.


3 1/2 cups (450g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup (200ml) water
3/4 stick (80g) butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons or 3/4 stick (80g) lard


1. Mix the flour, salt, and confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Make a dip in the middle, pour in the egg and toss a liberal covering of flour over the egg.

2. Put the water, butter, and lard into a saucepan and bring slowly to a boil. When the liquid boils, pour it on to the flour, mixing with a knife as you go.

3. Knead until all the egg streaks have gone and the pastry is smooth. Use immediately to make your pie because when the pastry cools it will harden and become unmanageable. (NB Lard is better than shortening for hot-water crust pastry.)

Read more from Pie:
Chicken Pie Recipe With Leeks and Tarragon

Reprinted with permission from Pie by Angela Boggiano and published by Octopus Publishing, 2013. Buy this book from our store: Pie.

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