The Aussie meat pie is an Australian icon and need not be too fancy. It’s a take-away that serves as a meal and a plate in one, therefor it needs to have good structure without compromising on flavour. Chief Judge of the Official Great Aussie Pie Competition, Mike French, tells us what makes a good Aussie Meat Pie.
Any pie connoisseur will tell you what makes a good pie based on their tastes, but from an Official Great Aussie Pie Competition judges perspective the recipe for success starts with basic pastry skills and quality ingredients. Once you have that your only limit in pie making is your imagination.
Listed below are points that the Official Great Aussie Pie Competition Judges take into consideration when judging Aussie meat pies.
A Crispy Pastry Top with Flake
Take care to ensure your pastry top has lamination, we suggest a half or quarter puff but not too thick. Make sure you allow the pastry to be completely baked through with a nice golden colour. The top should meet up with all edges of the pie bottom equally, avoiding any shrinkage. Excess egg wash or boil outs on the seam are unacceptable.
A Structurally Sound Pie Bottom
As a guide, a consistent 3mm thick side and bottom, with a nice even bake and colour. Avoid raw pastry as this reduces the structural integrity of the pie and contributes to loss of flavour. Over oiled tins will result in uneven colour and we recommend keeping your tins fresh and clean.
The Ultimate Pie Filling
Regardless of the meat you choose, the ultimate pie filling contains meat, thickener, colour, and seasoning and we recommend adding some onion for flavour. The meat can be diced or coarse mince or a combination of both avoiding gristle or bone as they are unacceptable and unpalatable. Be sure to pay special attention to the “meat to pastry” ratio to achieve the perfect balance and not jeopardies your structure. The pie should be meaty and tasty with a nice rich brown gravy, not grey or black! The filling should not fall into your lap when hot, or conversely, stick to the roof of your mouth.
As a pie enthusiast, Mike understands the essential ingredients for a good Aussie meat pie. On behalf of the Aussie Pie Council, good luck with your entries and utilise these tips to raise the standard of pies in Australia. We look forward to judging your entry.