I am not sure of all the other names for this pie, but I do know one name came into being after one of the famous Brontë sisters, Emily Brontë. Emily was in Belgium in 1843 and, in a letter to her sister Charlotte Brontë, said that she would rather be in Hayworth House making this pie than being abroad!

A note for those who do not like beef. This recipe also makes a lovely turkey or chicken pie. Just use meat from the breast or use breast fillets. Make sure that you remove any bones before cooking the meat.

This will serve 6 large or 8 small portions.


900g or 2lbs of sirloin or beef fillet (or chicken/turkey breast). 
1 onion chopped into small pieces 
450g or 1lb puff pastry 
175g 6 oz chicken liver pate 
1 egg 
75g or 3oz butter 
150g or 6 oz of small (button) mushrooms 
Black pepper (course ground)

1. Trim off any large pieces of fat from the meat. Chop into small cubes then season with a little black pepper and salt.
2. Melt the butter in a frying pan. Put in the meat cubes and cook in the butter until the outside of the meat is sealed all over. This will take about 15 minutes.
3. Remove the meat from the pan and put to one side. 
4. Heat the oven to 200oC / 400oF / gas mark 6.
5. Add a little more butter to the pan, if needed, and fry the chopped onion and the button mushrooms in the mixture of butter and meat juices. Continue to fry until most of the juices have gone from the pan but take care not to burn anything.
6. Put these to one side too.
7. Roll out the puff pastry on a flour covered surface until it is rectangular in shape. The pastry has to be big enough to wrap the meat in to make a ‘pastry envelope’. 
8. Take the onion / mushroom mixture and spread it onto the pastry, then put the sealed meat on top of the onion / mushroom mixture.
9. Spread the pate onto the meat, then brush all round the edges of the pastry rectangle with an egg that has been beaten.
10. Make the envelope with the pastry to hold the meat and onions. Seal the edges by squeezing together the egg covered pastry edges where they meet.
11. Brush all the visible pastry with the remainder of the egg (helps make the pastry go brown).
12. Bake in the centre of the heated oven for 20 minutes.
13. Keeping the pie in the oven, turn down the heat to 180oC / 350oF / gas mark 4 and leave for another 15 minutes. The pastry should be a lovely golden brown in colour.

For a modern version, use pre-cooked rice with small mixed vegetables instead of the onion and mushroom mixture.

-From Hidden England, courtesy of Helen Watson

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Written by Abigail Young

I've had a passion for everything British my entire life, despite being raised as a small-town girl in the American Midwest, After years of dreaming, I got the chance to live and work in England for an entire year. Now I write about my favorite country, and hopefully inspire my fellow Britophiles to get over there and experience it for themselves.

This article has 1 comment

  1. Cranberry Morning Reply

    What a fun recipe to have on hand for a theme dinner! Unfortunately, next week is ‘Greece,’ but sometime in the future I’ll use this recipe. Thanks. 🙂

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