“Cracker” pie is a home made classic that is found regularly on many an Australian home dinnertable.
The secret to the great aussie pie is an excellent cut of good old fashioned Aussie beef, fused with some typical european favourites thrown in for good measure.
This pie, like most pies, is quite simple with two essential steps- make a casserole type mix in a pot, and put in a pastry shell to bake.
- 2 Large potatoes (1-2cm cubes)
- 2 Large carrots (1-2cm cubes)
- 2 Large Onions (coarsely diced)
- 100 grams shelled peas
- 300gms Mushrooms
- 250 grams rump steak (finely chopped, or chunky, your choice)
- Worcestershire sauce
- Cooking Sake
- Sesame Oil
- Sesame Seeds
- 1 dried chilli
- Soy Sauce
- 2-3 Tablespoons flour
- Italian Passata sauce (pureed tomatoes)
- 4 Sheets Puff Pastry
- 1 Egg
- 2 Tablespoons Rice Bran Oil
- 600ml water (2 cups)
- 2 Tablespoons flour if necessary.
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
PART ONE: Marinade the meat!
Pre-marinade the chopped rump steak with Sake, sesame oil, pepper, soy and wousershire sauce.
Be particularly liberal with the Worcestershire sauce, and cooking sake, as they are the main flavours- sesame oil is quite strong and Asian in flavour, so a teaspoon or two is all that is necessary, and the chilli can be too overpowering. use judgement, and be aware you may need to adjust the flavours with extra spices, once the cooking is underway.
Don’t go too crazy with the sesame seeds also.
Put the meat, sauces and spices into a sealed box, shake, and place in refrigerator for at least half an hour, or at a minimum, the time it takes to prepare up the other ingredients like the onions and potatoes.
PART TWO: The Filling
This part of the recipe is fairly identical to the japanese curry pies posed up earlier, which are essentially a variation of this recipe, which s the traditional, original.- the real McCoy.
Heat oil in a medium sized saucepan, and add onions, stir till translucent.
Introduce meat, and stir till mostly cooked, then tip in mushrooms carrots and potatoes.
- Meat can be cut fine, or nice and chunky- depends on what you want.
Stir till vegetables are steaming and sweating, with liquid beginning to visibly form in the bottom of the pot.
- +Add 300ml water.
- +Add ~ 300ml Passata sauce.
Turn down heat to medium/low, and put on lid, but stir regularly.
Once Passata is fully stirred though, and incorporated, take lid off, and simmer gently and stir regularly to prevent burning.
Add flour, tablesppon by tablespoon, till consistency of sauce is reasonably thick, and no longer watery- it must stick significantly to the wooden stirring spoon, but not be stiff.
Aim for a gravy like texture in the free sauce within the pot.
Importantly, taste the mixture regularly during the simmering process once you are sure the meat is at least cooked properly, to get the flavour balance right- Add additional Passata, salt pepper to taste, and ensure to simmer till the meat is very soft and tender- this normally takes at least 20-30 minutes from the point of the sauce becoming appropriately thick and after you have got the flavour right.
As a final step, add the peas- we do this at the end so they don’t get too mushy and ruined from overcooking.
PART TWO: Making the PIES and pastries.
This part is the fun bit, and is pretty easy to do.
The Cracker meat pie filling described above is fairly firm and non-liquidy- thicker then gravy, but thinner than a cake batter, so is fairly easy to work with when making a pie.
The mechanics of it it get a dish, cover it with pasty, fill the dish with pie filling and close it up with more pastry.
Excess pastry can be sliced and rolled in grated cheese, then twisted, and laid on a baking tray, or on top of the pies to make a nice addition or tasty snack for the hard working cook.
See the article written earlier on Japanese Curry pies for more inspiration, and more detailed instructions about making the pies, and getting them to look attractive and present well on the plate & table.