The inspiration for these Big Mac Pies came from the excellent book, The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit. This book is a wonderful resource that lists food flavour pairings from the obvious (Pork & Apple), to the obscure (Vanilla & Shellfish). In the chapter on dill, it includes the pairing of dill & beef, quoting it as “the essence of a Big Mac” and includes a short recipe for a meat pie that includes dill and corned beef – the Big Mac Pie.
The following is my adaptation of the recipe. I have opted to make individual Big Mac Pies, which makes them perfect as a picnic item, drinks canape, or children’s party item. Better still, they look like little individual hamburgers baked this way. The pastry includes an egg yolk and sugar to add richness to emulate the flavour of sweet brioche-style burger buns.
Serves: Makes 12 individual pies
Skill level: Easy-moderate
Equipment required: 12 hole muffin/cup cake baking tray, preferably non-stick. Rolling pin. Cooling rack. Pastry cutters optional.
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
For the pastry
170 g plain flour
1 egg yolk
Oil for the baking tray
For the filling
340g tin of corned beef
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon American yellow mustard
1 tablespoon American Deli-style pickle relish (or finely diced Dill-Pickled Cucumbers)
1 teaspoon of dried dill weed
4 shallots, finely chopped
Prepare the shortcrust pastry
Step 1: Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, with the salt and sugar. Dice the cold butter, add to the flour, and using a knife continuously cut and mix the butter into the flour, until the consistency of breadcrumbs is achieved. Have patience, this takes a little time.
Step 2: Add the egg yolk and mix with a spatula to ensure the egg is well distributed. Then add a little splash of cold water, and combine to form a dough. Then using your fingers, gather together the dough until it forms a clean single ball, adding more water if required. Place the dough ball into a food bag, seal and place in the fridge to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Step 3: To a bowl, add the corned beef, dried dill weed, pickle relish, and mustard. Combine with a fork until the ingredients are mixed through.
Step 4: Once the dough has rested in the fridge, divide into roughly 1/3 and 2/3. Roll out the 2/3 portion first, as this will be used for the pie bases. Aim for a thickness just thinner than 1/2 centimetre. Lightly oil the wells of your baking tray, and then cut out rounds of pastry larger than the holes. Gently place the pastry rounds into the wells, and encourage them to fall into the recesses.
Step 5: Into the bottom of the pies, squirt a small amount of tomato ketchup, and scatter on top a few finely chopped shallots.
Step 6: Spoon into the pies the prepared corned beef mixture. Be relatively generous, creating a little dome of meat in each pie. Roll out the remaining 1/3 pastry portion to the same thickness as before, and cut out circles roughly the same size as the top of the pies. Place the pastry circles on top, and coax the edges down to meet pastry bases. There’s no need to get a good join as when these pies bake, meat filling will leak out around the edges. Once baked, this browned meat rings add flavour and aid the appearance as mini burgers. Brush the tops with beaten egg, and scatter sesame seeds on top.
Step 7: Bake the Big Mac Pies in a pre-heated oven at 190 Celsius for 20-25 minutes. Remove the pies from the tray, and place on a rack to cool. Ideally served warm, but they can easily be re-heated if you want to make these pies in advance. If you want to be fancy, present on a bed of crisp shredded iceberg lettuce.
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