Date: Wed 08 Mar 2023

Perfect pies: tips and tricks!

Struggling with your pastry? Gravy not thickening? Read on to polish up your pie making!

Everyone loves a pie, but they can feel intimidating to make from scratch, here are a few top tips for perfecting your pies!


  • The dough should be room temperature so that it's less rigid, BUT your hands and the work surface should be relatively cold so that the fat doesn't warm up too much and start melting - you don't want the dough the feel greasy when you're working it
  • Chill the dough again after working to allow the fats to firm up again
  • Roll the dough between 2 sheets of cling film to avoid flouring the dough which can dry it out
  • When making shortcrust pastry - use half butter and half lard for the perfect fat mix, and always blind bake your shortcrust pie base first to avoid soggy bottoms!
  • Allow for an overhang with shortcrust pastry as it will shrink when you bake it
  • If using puff pastry then keep the oven door closed for the first 15 minutes of cooking for the best rise and 'puffiness'
  • When making suet pastry, don't overwork it - you should still be able to see flecks of suet, also make sure that the pastry is relatively thick around the moulds or the filling will leak - you want about 1cm thickness for individual pies

We like using a puff pastry top and a shortcrust bottom to give our pies a bit of a twist (we won't tell if you buy your pastry ready done either!).


  • Make your filling the day before and chill it - this allows flavours to intensify and will help avoid a soggy bottom as the filling won't melt the fats in the pastry
  • Thicken gravy based fillings with cornflour; for creamy sauces use a roux or béchamel as the base as cream or milk can split during baking
  • You can also use ground nuts to thicken a pie filling which can add another interesting flavour too
  • Suet puddings suit minced meat fillings
  • Brown your meat in a heavy pan first, then add veg before deglazing the pan to get the rich cooking flavours
  • If using wine or ale for your filling, always use this to deglaze the pan and allow it to bubble - this will burn off the alcohol so that it isn't overpowering and you get the most out of the base flavour
  • Use Ruby & White South West meats for the ultimate pie filling!

Play around with your pie fillings, there are some classic combinations, but really anything goes!

Click below to shop our 'Perfect Pie Pack' containing a range of cuts so there's something for all the family.

Take a look at our Perfect Pie Pack here!

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