Neil Perry’s lamb, mint and pea pie

July 9, 2009

lambpie(or How I Got My Bottom Crispy)

I wanted to make some freezable food for a friend’s father who has been having a rough time, so I turned to an old favourite, this lamb, mint and pea pie from Neil Perry’s Good Food – it is a chunky, hearty little number full of comfort, but with the zing of the mint to give it a lift.

The only trouble is that I hate pies that have no bottom – in my book that’s not a pie, right?

And as I am no pastry-chef (my sister, on the other hand, makes the best flaky pastry this side of paradise) I pretty much always use the frozen stuff. (Except for one great pastry made with suet for rabbit pies – hmm, must get that one out again. Sooo delicious.)

Anyway, even with frozen pastry I have too often failed in the past to get a crispy bottom (vale Mrs Slocombe), and as the only thing worse than no base on a pie is a sludgy, undercooked one, I determined to get it right this time. And it worked – shortcrust pastry on the bottom, which I made sure for once to really thoroughly blind-bake, which also provides an excuse to use my lovely ceramic bauble pastryweights. And puff pastry on the top, well-brushed with egg wash.

And if I say so myself, these little babies turned out beautifully crisp on the base, reasonably rich on the innards and suitably golden on top. And if you cook them in these disposable aluminium trays you can chuck them in the freezer and then distribute to the needy as your heart desires.

PS: As I keep saying, just buy Good Food – it’s a great book; every recipe is a winner. Saves faffing around all over the internet…


  1. They look fantastic, Charlotte. Yumbo scrumbo. Oh, I’ve never mixed pastries… what a good idea – I hate soggy bot bots. And I love my ceramic weights too… they’re in a charming little calico bag, and they came from the Nundle General Store – quaint-o-rama.

  2. Ceramic weights? I thought those Kool Mints were hard.

    Shaming as it is to admit I actually like soggy pastry.

    But my other tastes are refined- speaking of Signor Perry – do you think Good Food is better than his earlier book The food I love? Haven’t got either yet, looking for simpler recipes I am more likely to make, not sure which way to jump.

  3. They look divine. I have not had much pie pastry success either; always soggy even with blind baking, but perhaps I was using the wrong type. hmm. I don’t have ceramic weights, either, I usually use beans. And I know suet makes a lighter, flakier pastry but I just can’t bring myself to use it… Have you seen Chocolate and Zucchini’s latest post on pie-making and pastry? She says a little vinegar is the secret to flaky crust – http://chocolateandzucchini.com/

  4. Jules, I do not have Food I Love, though I have coveted it and cooked the new Syrian chicken which is the cinnamon-scented lamb (if that’s not too confusing…) It does look v good though, am thinking of putting in some heavy birthday hints soon. But Good Food is shorter, lots more pix I think (i never tend to cook the ones without piccies) and anything I’ve made from it ever has been a major hit.

    And thanks gully_girl, I will definitely check out Chocolate and Zucchini – had a quick squiz and she looks quelle professionelle…

  5. Thanks for the lamb & pea suggestion. We tried it last night. Only Mr E who never pays attention got his wires crossed and made only enough pastry for the bottom. So by the time we realised it was too late & we had to eat it as is. It was still bloody brilliant. I have to take something to a family do next Sunday so I thought I would do the lamb in the crock pot and serve it with rice as NP suggests.

  6. Ooh, that’s a lovely goldie pie. Me, I’m a fan of Bill Grangers beef and mushroom number. No browning off of the beef, just straight in the pot with everything and in the oven for a couple of hours. It’s lovely.

    Nice shout-out to Mrs Slocombe too.

    You might like Tori’s food blog at http://www.eat-tori.blogspot.com. Do you know it?

  7. Eileen, that is hilarious. Sort of like lamb tart! But I agree the filling would be totally fab on its own and as you say, NP suggests using it in all kinds of ways…. and Rachael, I have heard of this BG pie from many quarters. Must investigate. Will check out Tori too – and have just seen a London Times list of 50 best food blogs, so looks like I’m giving up book-writing for the next while …..

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