Hot water crust pastry

Hot water crust pastry

Leiths How to Cook
enough for a raised pie
Peter Cassidy

Hot water crust pastry is traditionally used for raised pies. It is an unusual pastry, similar to choux although it doesn’t rise when baked, and can be said to be twice cooked. Ideally, making the pastry and shaping the case should be done a day ahead to allow the pastry time to firm up before filling and baking.


Quantity Ingredient
150ml water
60g butter
60g lard
350g plain flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg


  1. Put the water in a medium saucepan. Cut the butter and lard into 1 cm cubes and add to the pan. Place over a low heat and melt the fats; the water must not boil before they have melted.
  2. Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Break the egg into a small bowl, beat lightly with a fork and pour into the well. Carefully flick flour over the egg to protect it from the hot water and fats.
  3. Once the fats have melted, increase the heat and bring to the boil. As it comes to a rolling boil, take off the heat, pour over the flour in the bowl and immediately mix everything together well with a cutlery knife, until you can no longer see any dry flour. The pastry should be warm and greasy to the touch. Bring it together in your hands until smooth, then divide into 2 pieces, one twice the size of the other.
  4. Shape the smaller piece of pastry into a disc,10–12 cm in diameter, and the larger piece into a disc, 15–18 cm in diameter. The discs should be smooth, with no cracks or pleats. Wrap both individually in cling film and chill for 45–60 minutes for the fats to firm up.
  5. While the pastry is chilling, prepare the mould for the raised pie. Traditionally, a wooden mould is used. A large 400 ml soufflé dish, 12.5 cm in diameter, works well. (Individual pies can be raised without moulds.)
  6. Cut a disc of greaseproof paper for the outside base of the dish and a band to go around the outside walls of the dish. Stick the greaseproof paper to the outside of the dish using sticky tape. Now place the dish on a large sheet of cling film and bring the cling film up the sides of the dish and down into it, pulling the cling film so it is taut. The soufflé dish is now ready for the pastry.
  7. Remove the larger disc of pastry from the fridge; it should be firm, but pliable. Turn the soufflé dish upside down and lay the pastry across the upturned base. Gently ease the pastry down the sides of the dish. The warmth from your hands will help to soften the pastry a little and make it easier to mould. Avoid pushing too firmly or the pastry will crack. Roll a rolling pin lightly across the top of the dish or use your hands flat against the top, to encourage the pastry to expand and ease down the sides of the dish.
  8. With your fingers flat against the side of the dish, gently ease the pastry down. You need to work on the top and sides alternately to coat the dish all over in an even layer of pastry. Avoid using your fingers over the corners of the dish as this can easily create a thin layer of pastry. Place uncovered on a tray in the fridge for 5–6 hours, or ideally overnight, for it to firm even more and dry out.


  • The aim here is to make a watertight container in which meat is cooked in the oven with just a band of baking parchment around the sides as support. The pastry must be thick enough to withstand the weight of the meat, but not so thick that it is unpleasant to eat. It must not have any weak points, or be too thin, or the pie will collapse. It is therefore important that the original shaping of the warm pastry into a disc creates no pleats, and that when shaping round the dish it is not forced or pushed too hard, which could cause it to crack or break.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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