Pies have been a staple of western and near eastern dishes since at least the time of the Egyptian Empire. In the old days, the nobility ate the contents, and left the crust to their servants and the poor.
Makes a 9” pie
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoons salt
- 1/3 cups shortening
- ¼ tablespoon vinegar
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup ice water
- ¾ lbs. meat (beef, pork, venison, rabbit, poultry, fish, etc. or any combination), in small chunks, ground, or mashed
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ cup meat broth (Or use Bone Soup). Quantity depends on the dryness of the other ingredients – use your discretion. The final mixture should be on the wet side.)
- Splash of red or white wine. A dark beer like a stout or porter also works well.
- 1 to 2 cups TOTAL of any of the following, separate or in combination: minced dates, currants, raisins, minced figs, ground nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.), grated cheese, etc. The variety of ingredients & the total amount used depends on personal taste.
- 1 to 2 Tbs. TOTAL of any of the following spices, separate or in combination: ginger, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, etc. The variety of spices & the total amount used depends on personal taste.
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Put flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add the shortening and cut it in until the mixture is crumbly and there are no big lumps of fat.
- In a small bowl, use a fork to combine the vinegar, egg and ice water. Add vinegar mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a fork until all ingredients are just moistened and the dough comes together in a ball.
- Divide the dough into half, each of which will make 1 crust. Put dough you will use now in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill and freeze the rest.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large skillet over high heat, heat the oil. Add the meat and cook and stir, breaking it up, until the meat is barely browned. Remove the pan from the heat and pour off the excess fat. Put the meat in a large bowl and add 2 eggs and the broth, wine/beer, spices, and fillings. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. To check the salt, fry a little and taste. Cool completely before you continue.
- Cut the chilled dough in half and roll each half into a 7″ x 14″ rectangle. Place one rectangle on a buttered baking sheet. Shape the meat mixture on the pastry into a narrow loaf that leaves a 1″ margin all around. Brush the edge of the pastry with some of the egg-milk mixture.
- Roll out the second dough half to the same size as the first, drape it over the loaf and press the edges gently. Seal all around with the tines of the back of a fork. Cut a few short slashes in the top so steam can escape. Brush all over with the remaining egg-milk mixture.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
- This is one of those recipes that there aren’t so much variations, as there isn’t a ‘standard’. Any variety (or mixture) of meats mixed in spices, a bit of broth, and a basic crust. Classic, standard, and it stores fairly well.