Meat pies are a classic Australian icon, and with a flaky pastry exterior giving way to a beefy filling with rich gravy, it won’t take long before the rest of the world loves them too.
They’re Aussie as, mate. The meat pie is the ubiquitous snack of the only country in the world that has a whole continent to itself. There’s a pie warmer brimming with these tasty treats (and maybe a sausage roll or two) at every convenience store, and essentially they are the Aussie equivalent of a hot dog – not in shape or flavor, but by being a functional hand-held snack that is most often served at sporting arenas.
A classic meat pie is made with ground beef, but there are a plethora of versions of the original. You’ll find chunky steak, beef and mushroom, cottage pie, sometimes even spot a steak & kidney, too. And a classic pie is the basis for the ‘pie floater’, where mashed potato, more gravy and mushy peas are all piled high to create a a mega-carb tower like this:
A full sized pie (they’re usually about 5″ in diameter) is a serious snack commitment. Chances are you probably won’t have room for too much more, which I reckon is why they came up with mini pies. Why not have your pie and eat it too, just with smaller sizes! They make a great party appetizer because you can make them in advance and just reheat, and are easy to take along if you’ve been invited elsewhere. I make mine in a regular muffin tray, but you could probably even scale them down to mini cupcake size.
There’s also an unwritten law that a pie must be accompanied by sauce. Tomato sauce, to be exact. If you’re looking for the equivalent sauce in the US, you’ll find it under the label “ketchup”…
1lb ground beef (80/20 is preferable to lean as it won’t be as dry)
1 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 c beef stock
1/4 c ketchup
2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/3 c dark barbecue sauce
1 tsp vegemite (optional)
2 sheets frozen pie dough (roughly 2 x 9″ crusts)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
salt to taste
1 egg, beaten
Place oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, then remove. Working in batches (so you don’t overcrowd the pan), add the ground beef and cook until nicely browned, seasoning with salt as you go. Return all beef and the onion to the pan.
In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with a small amount of the stock to form a paste. Add stock, ketchup, pepper, barbecue sauce and Worcestershire to the pan. If you’re using it, add the vegemite at this stage, too. Add cornflour paste. Stir well to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 420f. You’ll need to pre-cut circles of dough for this step – I used a large Ro-Tel can for the bases, and a biscuit cutter for the lids. In a non stick muffin tray/pan, place a circle of pie crust into each cavity, pressing down gently. Fill with the beef mixture and top with a circle of puff pastry, using a little water on your finger to glue the lid to the pie crust. Brush tops with egg and place in oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Serve with lots of ketchup!
To make 12 regular-muffin sized pies, I used the equivalent of 2 x 9″ frozen pie crusts, and one sheet of puff pastry for lids. If you make your own dough from scratch, you can of course substitute it for the frozen versions.