The Aussie meat pie is an Australian icon and need not be too fancy. It’s a takeaway that serves as a meal and a plate in one, therefore it needs to have a 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. Ensure you allow the pastry to be completely baked with a nice golden colour. The top should meet up with all edges of the bottom equally, avoiding any shrinkage. Excess egg wash or boil outs on the seam are unacceptable.
A Structurally Sound 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 and contributes to loss of flavour. We recommend keeping your tins fresh and clean as over-oiled tins will result in uneven colour.
The Ultimate Filling
Regardless of the meat you choose, the ultimate filling contains meat, thickener, colour, and seasoning and we recommend adding some onion for flavour. The meat can be diced, coarse mince, or a combination of both. Avoid 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 jeopardise your structure. The pie should be meaty and tasty with 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. Good luck with your entries and be sure to utilise these tips to raise the standard of pies in Australia. We look forward to judging your entry.