This was another Scottish delicacy my husband asked me to make. I’d never even heard of Macaroni Pies until I relocated to Scotland and certainly have never baked this recipe until now. However, once these pies had started cooking and the smell was wafting out of my kitchen……OMG! I felt like I had created something magical. Not only did my very hungry looking Husband suddenly appear, but so did my neighbour’s cat who refused to move from the patio door which I had left slightly ajar and was trying to get in my house!!
These pies might sound like the weirdest idea ever, but they tasted incredible. Hubby was in pie heaven. Why not put macaroni cheese into a pie? I can’t believe that I had never thought of it myself!
I did a bit of recipe research and talked to my husband about what they should actually taste like, as I’d never even eaten one before. I finally decided to use the same hot water crust pastry recipe which had worked well in my Scotch Pies, combined with a delicious filling of homemade macaroni cheese. I made the filling thick and creamy using extra mature Scottish Cheddar for a really good strong flavour.
Also, my hot water crust pastry which I’ve previously used successfully in Scotch Pies, was strong enough to hold the delicious cheesy pasta filling without collapsing in your hands when you try and eat it. As a first attempt at making these from a complete Macaroni Pie Novice, I was pretty impressed with the finished results!
The amounts given in the recipe will make 6 fairly big individual pies which I cooked in a large inexpensive muffin tin I bought from TK Max. This worked perfectly and produced lovely crisp evenly cooked pie crusts.
I recommend that you make the macaroni cheese first, put to one side, then make the pastry. This will ensure that you are all prepared to assemble the pies quickly once the pastry is ready as hot water crust pastry is easier to manage while warm. Once the pastry cools it becomes unmanageable.
I also like to double up on the quantity of macaroni cheese I make so I can use half in the pies and freeze the leftovers for a rainy day freezer dip dinner. If you are going to go to all the trouble of making Macaroni Cheese from scratch, then you might as well make a big batch!
There’s a few stages involved in making these pies, but it’s well worth it and Hubby absolutely loved them. My neighbour’s cat is now home with his real owners eating cat food but I’m sure he would have made off with one of my pies given half a chance!
Ingredients for the Macaroni Cheese Filling
120g of dry macaroni pasta
30g of butter
35g of plain flour
300ml of milk (I used skimmed but half or full fat is fine)
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard or other mild mustard
150g of strong/mature Scottish Cheddar
Method for making the Macaroni Cheese
Grate the cheese and set to one side.
Add the dried macaroni pasta to a large saucepan and cover with plenty of hot water from the kettle. Give it a stir.
Cook according to the packet instructions which is usually around 6 to 8 minutes of simmering.
While the macaroni is cooking, make the cheese sauce.
Gently melt the butter in a pan, then gradually stir in the flour over a low heat until you get a paste called a roux. If it’s cooking too fast or sticking to the base of the pan, remove from the heat and give a vigorous stir. Keep stirring until you have a smooth paste.
Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly over a low heat. Switch to a whisk to get the lumps out and scrape all around the sides of the pan to completely whisk everything until smooth. It will thicken as it cooks into a nice Bechamel sauce. Make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and remove from the heat immediately if it shows any signs of starting to burn.
Once you have a nice thick smooth sauce, remove from the heat and add almost all the grated cheese (saving a little bit to sprinkle on top of the pies). Also add the mustard.
Mix well with the whisk until the cheese has melted into the sauce, giving a nice thick cheese sauce.
Taste and season with salt if needed.
Drain the pasta and stir the sauce into it until all the pasta is coated.
Put a lid on top and set the macaroni cheese to one side (off the heat).
Next get your pie or large muffin tins, jam jar and rolling pin out ready, so you are all set to assemble the pies once the pastry is made. Hot water crust pastry is easier to handle when warm so you will need to move quickly once it’s made.
Ingredients for the Hot Water Crust Pastry
250g of plain flour
100ml of water
80g of lard, roughly cut into small pieces
a quarter of a teaspoon of salt
Method to make the Pastry
Put the flour in a bowl and crack the egg into the middle. Using a knife blend together, coating the egg in flour until it is mixed in.
In a saucepan, warm the water and lard together to melt the fat. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat.
Immediately pour the hot fat and water mixture into the bowl with the egg and flour.
Working quickly, use your knife to blend together to make a dough.
Turn out onto a floured surface and briefly knead to mix everything together
You now need to assemble the pies as quickly as possible before the pastry cools and becomes unmanageable.
Assembling the Pies
Divide the warm pastry into 6 small balls
Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into a flat circle.
Use a clean dry jam jar or similar item to mould the base of the pies. Oil the jam jar to make removing the pastry easier. Use your hands to smooth the pastry over the jar. See photo.
Carefully lift off and place into a large oiled muffin or pie tin.
Use your hands to press the moulded pastry into the pie or muffin tins and very importantly, make sure the pastry base of the pie isn’t too thick or your pies will end up with soggy bottoms.
As you press the pastry in, allow it to come up the sides of each tin by a few mm as it will shrink slightly on cooking anyway.
Fill with the macaroni cheese and top with more grated cheese.
Cook at 180C/160C Fan for around 30- 35 min but keep an eye on it towards the last 10 min of cooking to make sure that the cheese isn’t burning.
Once cooked, the pies should be hot, bubbling and golden brown on top with perfectly cooked light brown firm pastry.
Tip a pie out and carefully check underneath to make sure that the base of the pie isn’t doughy. Use a spatula or heat proof gloves as they will be HOT!
If it isn’t quite cooked underneath, pop back in the oven for a few more minutes then test again. The base of the pastry should be crisp, golden brown and thoroughly cooked throughout.
Eat hot or cold plus you can also freeze when cool to enjoy on another day.