Hand-raised pies were historically made using wooden moulds to shape the pastry prior to filling and baking. Nowadays, it is possible to make them using other shapes for moulding. For example: honey jars, small soufflé dishes or anything that is straight-sided and not too deep. Hot water crust pastry is easy to make and very forgiving. The pies we are used to seeing, encased in hot water crust pastry, are pork pies, such as Melton Mowbray pies, and veal and ham pies. When handmade, these can look spectacular and you can add different flavours to them.

Try a mixture of finely chopped pork and duck, flavoured with mace, allspice and a touch of brandy. Add some cranberries to a veal and ham mixture or cook white or red onions to a pulp and sweeten with a little sugar to make onion marmalade. This can be added to the meat pie filling. The recipe below has a mixture of veal, ham, sweet onion marmalade and parsley. Once cooked the pie is filled with stock that has been set with gelatine.

Veal and Ham Pie with Onion Marmalade

Can be multiplied up


For the hot water crust pastry

Plain flour100% 1kg

Salt 1%10g

Beaten eggs24%240g




For the filling

White sliced onions6


Garlic cloves4

Wine vinegar60ml

Caster sugar 50g

Salt and pepperTo taste

Boned shoulder of raw veal, diced1.5kg

Cooked ham, diced500g

Fresh parsley, chopped50g



1. Wrap a piece of clingfilm around the outside of a wide jar or small soufflé dish.

2. Sift the flour and salt. Make a well in the middle, add the egg and toss a liberal covering of flour over the egg.

3. Put the water, butter and lard into a pan and bring slowly to the boil. Once the liquid is boiling, pour it on to the flour, mixing in well. Knead until the egg streaks have gone and the pastry is smooth. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until cool.

4. Keep a third of the pastry for the lid wrapped in cling film. Roll out the remaining pastry into a circle and drape it over the jar or soufflé dish. Working fast, shape the pastry to cover the jar to a depth of approximately 7cm/2.5 inches. Put the jar with the pastry uppermost to refrigerate.

5. Meanwhile, make the filling. Cook the onions in the butter for 20 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar and boil off until the onions start to colour slightly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once cold, add to the veal, ham and parsley. Season well with salt and pepper.

6. Preheat the oven to 190C.

7. When the pastry is hard, turn the jar or soufflé dish over and remove it carefully, leaving the clingfilm inside the pastry case. Carefully pull the clingfilm away from the pastry and take it out. Stand the pastry case on a baking sheet covered with parchment and fill with the filling. Use the reserved third of the pastry to make the lid. Wet the rim of the pie case to make it stick down. Crimp the edges and make a pastry rose for the top. Wrap a treble layer of parchment paper around the pastry case and secure with paperclips. Put in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, take off the paper and glaze with egg. Reduce the oven to 170C. Cook for a further hour.

8. Let the pie get quite cold before filling with the aspic.