Episode 2: The Great Australian Bake Off – “Pie” How to avoid a soggy bottom!

Aromatic Braised Beef Pie with Swiss Brown Mushrooms & Broad beans


For the recipe to my Aromatic Braised Beef Pie and other contestants pies please follow the link bellow.

Maria’s Aromatic Braised Beef Pieninem.snPie Recipe



Pie Week!

When I think winter baking, I think PIE!

Apple pie, Chicken pie and Beef pie these are the three pies that are bake almost traditionally in our house hold and every year there is always a little twist on the filling something new or just the delicious original recipes!

Its important to note that the publishers decided to change my pie recipe slightly but either way you make it will still be delicious. Choosing to make only the pie top still has many of the same principals and I will list a few helpful hints to avoid the dreaded soggy pastry!


 These are my top hints to remember when preparing pastry: For a Home baked Pie! 

1: Once you have made your pastry wrap it in plastic wrap and allow it to rest in the fridge for 10 – 15 minutes. Remember this type of pastry just needs to be gently pressed together NO KNEADING you don’t want to encourage the gluten to form any quicker or risk melting the butter with warm hands and overworking the dough.

2: After you have rolled out your pastry and covered the base and sides of the pie tin have a close look at the pastry if you think it looks a little thin in areas then use the excess bits of pastry to patch these areas and make them thicker.

3:Brush the pastry with egg white then place the pastry back into to fridge to cool and rest for a further 10 minutes. Doing this will further stop the pastry from becoming soggy.

4: Always completely cool your pre-cooked pie filling before adding it to your pie case. If the filling is even slightly warm it will melt the butter in the pastry and soak through hence the dreaded SOGGY BOTTOM!

5: Always Pre-heat your oven before baking. The oven will need up to 10 – 20 minutes to reach the temperature required to begin baking. An internal hanging oven thermometer is great if you are unsure.

I have always maintained that baking if FUN and the results of your labour are truly worth the effort but baking is not quick!                    It is essential to follow these simple rules as even the simplest recipe has crucial steps.






The Showstopper Challenge – Party Pies, Pasties and Sausage Rolls

Party Pies and Pasties

These are my assorted savoury party treats.

Shhhhhhh! An American Classic…………Bottomless.

“This bottomless fruit pie is simply indulgent”.


Make life easy, bake and serve straight from the oven to the table. The beauty of this pie is that you can bake it in a fry pan or your favourite oven proof individual serving bowls, I have even baked it in colourful tea cups.  Yes its a little rustic and homely looking but thats its charm!


“A lovely pastry thats easy to make, quick to bake”

The filling is entirely up to you, use your own poached fruit or use caned fruit it all works a treat. My personal favourite Apple & Rhubarb or Pear & Raspberry, oh let me not forget Peaches! Ok I think you understand me now when I say I love fruit but this pastry is a perfect marriage! Its become my favourite quick dessert and everyone always thinks I’ve been working on it for hours! “Lets keep that a secret”.  




1 cup SelfRaising Flour

2 Tablespoons Icing-sugar

1 Tablespoon Custard Powder

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste

Zest of 1 Lime

100g Butter (cold and cubed)

1 Egg

1/4 cup Sour Cream                                                                                                                  *************************************************

4 cups of your favourite poached fruit ( discard extra liquid)                                                          *************************************************                                                                                                                 

1 Egg lightly whisked to brush pastry

1 Tablespoon Demerara or Raw sugar to sprinkle over pastry                                                             ************************************************

Double cream or Ice-cream to serve



1: Place cold poached fruit into the baking dish (remove excess liquid only fill 3/4 of the pan)

2: Pre Heat Oven 180 Degrees

3: Process the flour, icing sugar, custard powder and butter till it resembles a course crumb. Add the egg, sour cream vanilla and zest and process until the dough almost comes together.

4: Turn the pastry onto a lightly floured surface and push together to form a round disk (don’t kneed). Cover with plastic and allow to rest for 10 minutes in the fridge.

5: Roll out the pastry slightly larger than the dish you are using. Place pastry over the fruit mixture. Its ok if the pastry overlaps the dish. Brush the pastry with the whisked egg and sprinkle over with the Demerara sugar. Bake for 30-40 minutes till the pastry is golden and crisp. Allow to cool and serve with a light sprinkle of icing sugar.

6: Serve with Cream or Ice-cream………….Enjoy!      

I first saw this pastry published in The Australian Good Taste magazine and its been a favourite ever since. Yes, I have changed it a little but it never lets me down nor those that enjoy it.

*Just a note if you are rolling out the pastry and its a little soft place it back in the fridge for 5-10 minutes then continue again.