Beef and potato pithivier

Serves 4-6 Starters and mains

Pitiver 2


For the mince and onion filling

  • 1tbsp sunflower oil or vegetable oil
  • 400g minced beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1tbsp plain flour
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 beef stock cube

For the pastry

  • 300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 80g cold unsalted butter, cut into small dice
  • 70g cold lard, cut into small dice
  • 1 medium egg, beaten, to glaze


To make the filling, heat the oil in a wide pan over a high heat. When hot, add the mince and onion and cook until the meat begins to brown, stirring from time to time to separate any larger chunks. Lower the heat, add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.

Add the potato and 300ml water, then crumble in the stock cube. Season (allowing for the saltiness of the stock cube). Bring to the boil, then cover, lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the gravy thickens and the potatoes are cooked through. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper if needed. Allow to cool, then chill in the fridge.

To make the pastry, put the flour and a pinch of fine salt into a bowl. Add the butter and lard and rub in using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 4-6 tablespoons cold water (just enough to bring the dough together), form into a ball, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

When you're ready to cook the pithivier, dust the surface and cut the pastry into two pieces, roughly two-thirds and one-third. Roll the smaller piece out to 4mm-thick and cut a 25cm diameter circle for the pie base. Lift onto a tray lined with baking paper. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut a larger circle, around 28cm, for the lid.

Spoon the chilled mince and onion filling onto the pastry base, leaving a 2cm clear margin around the edge. Brush the pastry edge with beaten egg. Lift the pie lid into position over the filling and press the pastry edges together to seal.

Use the tip of a sharp knife to score two horizontal lines around the side of the pie (this helps it to rise better). Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg. Now lightly score parallel curved lines, radiating from the centre to the edge of the pastry; this is to create a decorative effect – don’t cut through the pastry. Make a small hole in the centre of the pie to let out the steam.

Place the pie in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to rest. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Bake the pie for 35-40 minutes, until the pastry is risen and golden. Leave to stand for at least 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Recipes and photographs taken from A Baker's Life by Paul Hollywood, photography by Martin Poole. (Bloomsbury, £26).
Pitiver 2
Recipes and photographs taken from A Baker's Life by Paul Hollywood, photography by Martin Poole. (Bloomsbury, £26).


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