Pies like these are common in Australia, often sold from small ‘pie shops’ or bakeries. As well as plain beef, you can usually get beef and onion, beef and cheese or even a particularly delicious beef and potato version where the potato is mashed, piped on top of the pie and baked until slightly browned. I was disappointed to come to the United States and find that meat pies aren’t really a ‘thing’. Luckily, Australian meat pies are pretty easy to make at home. What’s more, this way you know what’s going into them, unlike some of the pies from more sketchy establishments in Australia which can contain more gristle than actual meat.
How to Serve Australian Meat Pies
In Australia, meat pies like this are usually just served with ketchup, and you’ll often eat more than one. I know a lot of people who like to peel the top off the pie and squirt in some ketchup, then mix it with the meat. I think that’s kind of weird but if it appeals to you, then by all means go ahead!
I prefer to make a more balanced meal out of it, serving the pies with salad in summer or roasted vegetables in winter. I think these would also be great with fries, if you don’t care about trying to be at least a little healthy.
Additions and Substitutions
As I mentioned in my introduction, many varieties of Australian meat pies exist. I haven’t actually tried altering them myself, as my husband loves these pies and would not be impressed if I ‘ruined’ them by adding things to them. But you could try adding onions or mushrooms. For the cheese version, I imagine you could just sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of the meat before putting the pastry topping on. Feel free to experiment!
You may wonder why we’re using puff pastry for the bottom of the pies when short crust would probably suffice. I agree that it would, and you could do that if you like. But then you have to buy two kinds of pastry, and you can’t generally go and buy just one sheet. I don’t use it often enough that I want to have single sheets lying around. This way, I use up the whole box of puff pastry for one recipe.
How to Make Australian Meat Pies
Cook the Filling
Set a large skillet over medium heat and grease lightly with a little oil (I usually use extra virgin olive oil). Add beef and cook, stirring, until brown, which will take about 4 or 5 minutes.
Add 3/4 cup of the beef stock, plus the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, and nutmeg, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Most of the liquid should have reduced; if not, cook a few minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/4 cup beef stock with the flour to form a smooth paste. Add to the meat mixture and stir quickly to combine (‘quickly’ because the flour mixture will clump up if left to sit).
Remove the meat mixture from the heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the pastry and preheat the oven. It doesn’t have to be cold, but it shouldn’t be piping hot.
Prepare for Baking
Grease 4 single-serve ramekins. The ones I use hold 6 ounces. Alternatively, if you have them, you could use proper pie tins. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
Dust a large cutting board or work surface with just a little flour. Divide each puff pastry sheet into four squares. Working with one square at a time, roll out just until it’s large enough to line a ramekin. Then press into the the ramekin, making sure it comes all the way up the sides.
Fill the lined ramekins with the cooled meat mixture. Then top with another square, again rolling out just a bit so it fits nicely. Trim off any excess pastry and seal the edges of the pies with your fingers or, if you want to be fancy, with a fork. Try not to have too much pastry going over the edge of the ramekins as that will make it harder to turn out after baking.
If you like, you can use the pastry trimmings to make designs on the top of your pies. Then brush the tops with a little milk, and they are ready for baking.
I prefer to set the ramekins on a baking sheet before putting them in the oven. Sometimes, some grease will escape and make a mess, and it’s always easier to put the pies in the oven and take them out again when they’re on a baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350°F (180°C) and bake for a another 10. The tops of the pies should be golden; if not, cook for a couple more minutes until they are.
Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving, as the filling is very hot! The pies should come out of the ramekins quite easily. Run a knife around the inside edge of the ramekin to dislodge any stuck pastry. Then hold them upside down with oven mitts or a kitchen towel and give a good tap.
These pies are usually eaten with ketchup; see above for more serving suggestions.
Australian Meat Pies
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup beef stock divided
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 puff pastry sheets
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Set a large skillet over medium heat and lightly grease. Add beef and cook, stirring, until brown, 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in 3/4 cup of the beef stock, as well as the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Blend flour with the remaining 1/4 cup of beef stock until it becomes a smooth paste. Add to the meat mixture and stir until combined.
- Remove meat mixture from the heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes until lukewarm (you can leave it a bit longer if you have time). Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C), grease four single-serve ramekins (about 6oz capacity) and begin forming the pastry.
- Lightly flour a large cutting board or work surface. Cut each pastry sheet into four squares and roll them out if necessary so they are just large enough to line your ramekins. Line each one with a square of pastry, then add the cooled meat mixture and top with another pastry square, pinching the edges with your fingers or pressing with a fork to seal.
- Trim edges and, if you like, use trimmings to decorate the tops of your pies. Brush the tops with milk.
- Set ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350°F (180°C) and bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before turning out of the ramekins and serving, with ketchup if desired.
Did you make this recipe? If so, follow @theflavorvortex on Instagram and post a picture using #theflavorvortex as I would love to see it!