Suet pastry is a lovely pastry. It’s filled with flavour, it’s comforting, it’s softer than shortcrust, and far quicker and easier to make than flakey pastry or even rough puff pastry.
It is in fact incredible easy, I promise. You can read the recipe below, but in terms of ‘method’ you’ll just be shaking some pre-cut suet into some flour, and then mixing some water into it. That’s pretty much it.
If you’ve never made pastry before, this is a very good place to start, as it will a) demystify pastry for you: mix fat and flour, bake, TA DAH!, b) fill you with confidence at your own abilities and c) impress everyone you know, because there’s nowt like homemade pastry.
I use this for meat pies that I bake in the oven, as opposed to steamed puddings, but the same quantities/ratios apply for steamed puddings. You can make a large blanket of suet to cover a family-size pie or casserole dish, or you can make cutesy little individual pies. Either way, it will be puffed and golden and delicious, and you will become even more loved than you already are.
It goes like this:
Makes: More than enough to comfortably cover a large casserole dish and extras for silly designs on top.
Takes: 1 hour
Bakes: 30-35 minutes
250g self-raising flour
150g suet (normal or vegetable, it doesn’t matter)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1. Mix the suet in with the self-raising flour, along with the baking powder and salt.
2. Add water to the mixed dry ingredients. You will need between 125 and 175ml. Err on the side of caution: you want the pastry to move away from the sides of the bowl, and come together into a ball. It shouldn’t be wet: you’re going to have to roll this stuff in half an hour.
3. Cover and chill for 20 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.
3. Roll your pastry to 5mm thick.
4. Put a pie funnel in your pie mix. The pastry will go over the top of this. If you don’t have a pie funnel, don’t panic, just go to the next stage.
5. Brush the edge of your pie dish with beaten egg. Drape over your filled pie dish(es). If desired, you can put some madcap design in pastry on the top. Make sure you cut a hole either for your pie funnel to pop out through, or for steam to escape if you don’t have one.
6. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
8. TA DAH!
The Icing on the Cake
We had this filled with oxtail, beef cheek and bone marrow stew, and really, there is no better dish.