The secrets to making easy homemade pies

Nail British Pie Week with these simple tips

The secrets to making easy homemade pies

Pies with their oozing fillings and flaky pastry are the original comfort food; a staple of winter feasts up and down the UK. But they can be notoriously difficult to bake.

Firstly the pastry needs to be just right as nobody likes a soggy bottom, then there's the filling to master, and please don't burn the top! It doesn't have to be stressful though, and with these clever hacks, pies can be easy to conquer:

Make your pastry

There are two options when it comes to pastry for your pie: (1) you can make it, and (2) you can buy it pre-made. Both are great options, and if you're short on time but still fancy a golden-crusted dinner then pre-made is the perfect solution! Also, a lot of pre-made pastry is vegan, which is perfect if you're hankering after a plant-based pie – just remember to check the ingredients before you buy.

If you have a little more time on your hands, this picnic pie has a great step-by-step pastry making guide. The key is to keep the butter and ingredients cold and once you've made it, refrigerate your dough until needed.

Make it crispy

We all know that soggy bottoms make for a disappointing pie, but there's an easy way to avoid one with this carrot tarte. The trick is nice and simple – prepare all the elements separately then assemble just before you serve.

Another clever way is to just get rid of the bottom all together like with this sausage pie. The recipe works well with leftover meats too so you can make a recipe that all the family will love tucking into. 

Make it eye-catching

Adding a flourish to the crust is what takes a pie to the next level, and it's a simple way to impress the family. This Fish and Mushy Pea Pie, for example, has a crust that's made from circles, layered on top of each other to imitate fish scales.

Mix in chives and thyme to the shortcrust pastry for this cheese and potato pie. It adds flavour that goes perfectly with the gooey cheesy filling and also makes the pie look attractive and appetising.  

For a festive finish (or if you're just feeling starry) cut out pastry shapes and decorate the pastry with them. They add a showstopper finish like in this Butternut Squash and Lentil Wellington.