If you’re a pie-making novice, start with this easy recipe.


(Serves four. Prep and cooking time: approx 1 hour)

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

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Shortcrust pastry

225 g plain flour 100 g cold butter, diced Pinch of salt


1 tbsp of oil or butter

1 onion, chopped

2 leeks, trimmed and sliced

1 large chicken breast and 1 large chicken leg joint, skinned and cubed (or add lefover cooked chicken before the pie crust is added)

2 large slices of ham, snipped into strips A dash of double cream

1 chicken stock cube dissolved in 300 ml of boiling water

Add the salt and 2-3 tablespoons of cold water. Ball into a firm dough. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.

Gently fry the onion and leeks in the oil or butter until translucent. Add the raw chicken cubes. Fry until the meat is white on the outside.

Add the ham and cream, then pour in the stock. Let this bubble and reduce a little.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a rimmed pie dish. Then heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4.

Assembly and cooking

Sprinkle flour onto a clean, dry kitchen counter and onto the rolling pin to prevent sticking. Remove the ball of pastry from the cling film and start to roll it into a shape of even thickness, larger than the diameter of the pie dish. Lift and turn the pastry 90 degrees each time you roll to prevent it sticking to the counter. Add more flour if necessary.

Brush the rim of the pie dish with a little water. Cut strips the same width as the rim of the dish from the edge of the pastry, leaving enough for the lid. Press the strips onto the rim of the pie dish until it is covered. Brush the strips with water. Lift the remaining pastry, which will form the lid, on the back of the rolling pin and onto the pie dish so it rests on the strips around the edge of the dish. Trim away any excess pastry.

With the tip of a knife press the lid on all the way round, then crimp and seal it.

Cut a couple of slits in the top of the lid to let the steam out. Brush with beaten egg or milk for a golden finish. Bake for 30 minutes.

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