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Hot water crust pastry recipe

Hot water crust pastry recipe

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  • Dish type
  • Pies and tarts
  • Pastry

This is a traditional hot water crust pastry made with lard, perfect for savoury pies. Very forgiving and easy to work with, hot water crust pastry will stand up well to hearty pie fillings.

85 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 2 sheets pastry, enough for a lidded (23cm) pie

  • 150g lard
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 60ml boiling water
  • 250g plain flour

MethodPrep:15min ›Ready in:15min

  1. In a large bowl, combine lard, salt, milk and boiling water. Whisk with fork until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add flour and stir with round-the-bowl strokes until all flour is incorporated.
  3. Rolling tip: sprinkle a bit of water over a work surface and lay a large sheet of greaseproof paper over top. Place half of the pastry on the paper, flatten slightly and then cover with another sheet of greaseproof paper. Roll to desired thickness with a rolling pin and repeat with other half of pastry. Use to line and lid a 23cm pie dish or several individual moulds.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(2)

Reviews in English (2)

I made a large chicken and ham salt crust pie using this recipe. It made 18 portions (i tripled the ingredients) See photos.-24 Apr 2017

Never made this with lard, but has worked very well with both butter and cooking margarine. A little buttery, but makes an excellent treat!-29 Nov 2015

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Gooseberry and Elderflower Raised Pie

If you’ve been lucky enough, as I have been, to go out and about in the great British countryside of late, you’ll have noticed the froth of elderflowers in the hedgerows. It is one of the earliest signs of summer and an excellent reminder that gooseberry season is imminent.

Gooseberries and elderflower are such a classic and delicious pairing, it can surely be no coincidence that they are both available at the same time. If you have the opportunity, I can thoroughly recommend making your own heady elderflower cordial, but commercially produced varieties are also readily available.

There’s a 200-year-old tradition in Oldbury-on-Severn of making shallow gooseberry pies with a sweetened hot water crust pastry as part of the Whitsun celebrations. Jane Grigson mentions them in several of her writings on English food. Due to the age of the recipe, it was a challenge to find any further details on their appearance and so for a long time I had to rely on my imagination. Eventually I found descriptions of the pies as being around 15cm in diameter, extremely shallow (just one gooseberry deep) and hand raised. The use of a hot water crust for a fruit pie is unusual, and can be a little troublesome to work with. Some recipes even recommend that once the tart shell has been formed, the pastry is chilled overnight in order to make a firm casing for the gooseberries, but this then makes it difficult to attach the lid firmly once the paste is cold.

My searching turned up two details that were consistent wherever the pies were mentioned: everyone seemed to like these tarts, even if they didn’t like gooseberries, and that they were extremely juicy when bitten into. This adaptation is slightly more consumer-friendly, producing a raised pie whose shape is more in the tradition of a game pie, with the juice set into a jelly, delicately flavoured with elderflower. This classic dessert pie will hold its shape when sliced, making it ideal to enjoy on picnics as well as relaxed summer lunches. The contrast between the sweet, flowery jelly and the sharp gooseberries is very refreshing. I prefer the tartness of green gooseberries, but if you have a sweet tooth you might prefer the delicately blushed dessert gooseberries. To make everything much easier, it is baked in a loaf tin.

Paul Hollywood’s Raised Game Pie

Raised pies have been a favourite of the British table for centuries – at one time majestic, elaborate constructions decorated with pastry columns, crests and coats of arms. This is a slightly more restrained version, but it is still a great-looking centrepiece for an autumnal party. A mixture of venison, rabbit, pheasant, pigeon or wild boar (according to what game you like, and what is available) is encased in crisp and rich, hot water crust pastry, which traps all the savoury meat juices without becoming soggy.


For the filling:

700g boneless mixed game meat, diced

200g rindless back bacon, diced

200g minced pork belly (unsmoked)

2 banana shallots, finely chopped

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

For the hot water crust pastry:

100g strong white bread flour

75g chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes

To glaze:


You will need:

1 large, oval raised-game pie mould or a 20cm round springclip tin, 7cm deep, greased with lard

2.5cm oak-leaf cutter or leaf-shaped cutter

Buy the book

This is a recipe from The Great British Bake Off: Celebrations. For more like it, buy the book now.


Step 1
Start by making the filling so the flavours have time to develop. Put all the filling ingredients into a large bowl. Add a little salt and pepper, then mix everything together with your hands until thoroughly combined. Take a teaspoon of the mixture, shape it into a small ‘burger’ and fry it for a minute or so on each side until cooked through, then taste and add more seasoning to the filling mixture, if necessary. Cover and chill while you make the pastry.

Step 2
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6. Combine both flours and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub in lightly using your fingertips. Pour the water into a small pan and add the salt and lard. Heat gently until the lard has melted, then bring to the boil. Pour the hot mixture onto the flour and quickly mix everything together with a wooden spoon to make a dough. As soon as the dough is cool enough to handle, tip it out onto a floured worktop and knead it just until smooth and even.

Step 3
This pastry becomes crumbly as it cools, so you need to work quickly now. Cut off a third of the pastry and wrap it tightly in clingfilm. Roll out the remaining pastry to an oval or disc large enough to line your tin. Carefully lift the pastry into the tin and press it onto the base and side, smoothing out any wrinkles. Leave the excess pastry hanging over the rim. Check there are no cracks or holes in the pastry case – if there are, press the pastry together or patch with small scraps of pastry.

Step 4
Roll out the remaining pastry to an oval or disc, slightly larger than the top of your tin, to form the lid. Cover with clingfilm and leave on the worktop for now.

Step 5
Spoon the filling into the pastry-lined tin and press it down well, making sure the surface is level. Brush the edge of the pastry case with beaten egg yolk, then lay the pastry lid on top. Press the edges of the case and lid together firmly to seal. Trim off the excess pastry and crimp or flute the edge neatly. Make a hole in the centre of the lid to allow steam to escape during baking.

Step 6
Gather up the pastry trimmings and roll them out again. Stamp out 20 leaves with the shaped cutter. Attach these to the pastry lid, using a dab of beaten egg yolk as the 'glue'. Brush the lid all over with beaten egg yolk to glaze.

Step 7
Set the tin on the baking sheet and bake in the heated oven for 30 minutes. Then turn down the temperature to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F/Gas 3 and bake the pie for a further 1¾ hours until the pastry is a rich golden brown.

Step 8
Leave the pie in its tin until completely cold before unmoulding. Serve at room temperature, on a rimmed plate to catch any juices. Store any leftovers, tightly wrapped, in the fridge.

Chilli and fennel seed pork pie

This is slightly different kind of pork pie: shallow-filled, spiced and not a drop of jelly in sight. Photograph: Jill Mead for the Guardian

This is slightly different kind of pork pie: shallow-filled, spiced and not a drop of jelly in sight.

Serves 4-6
75g unsalted butter, firm but not chilled
300g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
135ml water
75g lard

For the filling
400g pork shoulder, finely diced
150g unsmoked back bacon
1 tsp fennel seeds, finely ground
½ tsp smoked paprika
¾ tsp cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste

lard Photograph: Jill Mead for the Guardian

1 Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Cube the butter and rub into the flour using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the salt. In a small pan, heat the water with the lard over a low heat, until the fat is melting and the water steaming. Pour the hot liquid over the butter and flour mixture and stir to combine. Use your hands to bring the pastry together into a ball, and knead just a couple of times under the heel of your palm to strengthen it. Set aside, uncovered, at room temperature while you combine the filling ingredients.

2 In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the pork shoulder, bacon and spices. The bacon should impart sufficient saltiness, but if you're in any doubt about the seasoning, just break off a small ball of the filling, fry for a couple of minutes separately and taste it. If it needs any extra salt or spice, add this to the remaining mixture now.

3 Feel the pastry – it needs to be just cool to the touch. The temperature will be important when it comes to neatly lining the tin. Warm pastry will be limp, greasy and soft cold pastry will harden and crack. Just keep an eye on it and, as soon as it's cool and firm enough to be rolled and moulded without collapsing or sticking, line a 20cm-diameter spring-form or loose‑bottomed cake tin.

4 Roll two-thirds of the dough out on a piece of lightly floured baking parchment to a circle large enough to line the base and sides of the tin. Slide the dough into the tin and use your fingers to press it neatly into the corners and sides. Don't be shy about handling the pastry: this is a rare instance where you can hold, re-roll and press pastry with impunity.

5 Firmly pack the filling into the lined tin, then roll out the remaining portion of pastry on a lightly floured surface and transfer this on top of the pie. Press the edges of the sides and lid together to seal them. Make a hole in the top with a small knife (to allow steam to escape during baking) then brush the top with the beaten egg to glaze. Bake for 15 minutes before decreasing the temperature to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and baking for a further 45 minutes. When done, the pie should be a rich golden brown and you'll be able to see it bubbling merrily through the hole on top.

6 Cool completely in the tin, on a wire rack. (If you try to serve this while it's still warm, it'll fall apart.) Once cool, refrigerate until ready to serve.


This is wonderfully simple and delicious, as well as versatile. We have used this recipe for a curry pot pie and a quiche, and both came out great. I will be making this recipe many times over.

We made an awesome chicken yellow curry pot pie with this, it was amazing and easy to make.

Delicious and easy to make. I even made a GF version that was flaky and tasty.

I didn't add the oil and I used the recipe to make pierogies and the dough was so light and fluffy the pierogies came out perfect.

This worked perfectly for me. Just keep a bowl of water and lots of flour while rolling it out to deal with tares and stickiness. Made it with the gooseberry pie.

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Cook's Notes:

If you need to smooth out dough or add pieces to make it up the sides of the pan, you can use milk to blend them in. You can brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg instead of milk, if preferred.

If you want to add hard-boiled eggs to the pie, place them lengthwise between the layers of filling.

To add a traditional aspic filling, leave the pie in the pan after baking. Dissolve 1 tablespoon gelatin powder in 2 cups boiling water (or chicken stock) and let cool slightly. Pour gelatin mixture through the slits in the pie. Refrigerate until set, 4 hours to overnight. Serve pie cold.

Put the fat and liquid into a pan, bring to the boil and pour into the dry ingredients.

Mix to a dough, using a wooden spoon or the hands, then place on a floured board. Knead until paste is smooth.

Cut off a quarter of the paste and keep it warm, covered with a cloth, or it will not be pliable when required.

Mould the remainder of the paste by hand into a round pie-case. Though soft at first, the pastry will stiffen and retain the shape as it cools.

Fill with about 1 lb of savoury filling. Damp inner edge of pastry and put on a lid made from the remaining pastry.

Press edges together tof orm a rim. Cut at 1/2 inch intervals and bend in alternate "tabs". Make hole in centre.

Decorate pie, and pin round it a double band of greaseproof paper, greased inside. Put on greased baking tin.

Brown the pastry in a moderately hot oven, then cook for the time given. When the pie is cold, fill up with a stock which will form a jelly.

Hot-Water Crust

I’ve seen a number of old pie recipes that use something called a hot-water crust. Can you tell me more about this type of dough, and do you recommend it?

For centuries, pastry dough was used mainly as a cooking receptacle. It wasn’t flaky, nor was it all that good. In fact, food historians debate whether it was even consumed. Hot-water crusts are one of the oldest forms of pastry they were molded around a filling and baked free form, rather than in a pie dish. With a hot-water crust, instead of cutting cold fat into flour and then adding cold water, boiling water is whisked into fat (usually lard) until it forms an emulsion. This lard mixture is then added to flour. The result is an extremely pliable dough that’s easy to work with since it doesn’t crack or tear.

When we compared a hot-water crust in several recipes (quiche, deep-dish apple pie, and blueberry turnovers) with our Foolproof Pie Dough (Nov./Dec. 2007), we understood why it might not have been eaten in the past. It baked up so tender, some tasters called it “mealy”—the result of both its higher-than-usual fat content and the fact that “precooking” the flour with a hot-water emulsion causes some of its starches to immediately swell with water, making less of the liquid available to form structure-building gluten.

While a hot-water crust is simple to prepare and easy to work with, stick with our Foolproof Pie Dough if you want pastry worth eating.

HOT WATER CRUST Boiling water and fat added to the flour creates a nicely pliable dough but a mealy crust.

CLASSIC CRUST Our favorite pie dough (made with the usual cold water) is both pliable and flaky.


This is a whopper of a pie, serving 20 people. Make Mary Berry’s raised game pie when you have a house full of guests.

Taken from Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook, DK, £25

  • 2kg chicken, boned and skinned
  • 1kg boneless mixed game meats, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 375g belly pork, coarsely chopped
  • 500g streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 450ml jellied stock (crack gamebird bones and put them in a stock pot heat until browned stir in a litre of water and bring to the boil the stock will set when cool)
  • 150ml port
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Leaves of 4 thyme sprigs, chopped
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg

For the hot-water-crust pastry

  • 750g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400ml water
  • 300g white vegetable fat
  • 29cm springform or loose-bottomed tin

  • 14 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Place shortening in large bowl.

Pour hot water and milk over the shortening.

With a dinner fork, break up the shortening. Tilt the bowl, and beat the mixture quickly with the fork, until the mixture looks like whipped cream. This will take about 5 minutes. Some water will splash out of the bowl as you beat the mixture together, but that is okay.

Once well combined, pour the flour and salt over shortening mixture, and beat well with the fork, forming a dough that cleans any remaining scraps from the bowl.

Divide the pie crust dough into two parts, and roll out between two sheets of waxed paper.

Fit the dough into a pie shell, and then follow the steps that your specific pie requires. (This recipe makes enough pastry for two crusts in 8-inch or 9-inch pie plates.)

To bake a single pie crust to be filled with an unbaked filling (called blind baking), line the pie crust with foil and pie weights (or dried beans). Another option is to prick it with a fork. (This is called docking.)

To blind bake the crust: bake it in a preheated 375 F oven for 12 minutes. Remove the foil and weights, and bake for 7 to 8 minutes longer until the crust is light golden brown in spots.

For pricked pie crust: bake for 15 to 20 minutes, pricking again halfway through baking time if the crust starts to puff up. Cool completely, and fill with desired fillings.

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