Hot water pastry crusts — technically made with boiling water — are the secret behind classic savory British pies that bake up unfathomably tall, stand on their own power and don’t crumble when sliced. Boiling water creates a silky, sturdy dough that is a breeze to roll and form, and also to flavor. This pie from the British author and television host Nadiya Hussain riffs on the lamb samosas she grew up eating with her Bangladeshi family. Here, Ms. Hussain’s turmeric-infused crust turns a brilliant golden brown as the pie bakes.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 5tablespoons olive oil
- 1small white onion, finely chopped (1 heaping cup)
- Kosher salt
- 1teaspoon ground ginger
- 1tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1tablespoon cumin seeds
- 2teaspoons red-pepper flakes
- 1pound ground lamb
- 1pound red or gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1cup frozen peas
- 2tablespoons cornstarch whisked into 1/4 cup cold water
- ¾cup loosely packed, finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 ⅓cups/325 grams all-purpose flour (see Tip)
- 1teaspoon kosher salt
- 1teaspoon ground turmeric
- ⅓cup/65 grams vegetable shortening
- 1large egg, beaten, for glazing the top
Step 1Make the filling: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, garlic, cumin and red-pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, a minute or two. Add the lamb and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking into small pieces, until it is just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and let everything steam, stirring once halfway through, until the potatoes are just soft, about 20 minutes.
Step 2Uncover, stir in the peas and cook until just heated through, a minute or two. Stir in the cornstarch slurry, then turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro. Season to taste with salt, and let cool completely before building the pie.
Step 3When the filling has cooled, arrange an oven rack in the lowest position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
Step 4Make the pastry: Whisk the flour, salt and turmeric in a large heatproof mixing bowl. Create a small well in the center.
Step 5In a small pot, bring 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon/165 grams water and the shortening to a boil over medium heat. As soon as the shortening has melted completely into the boiling water, pour the mixture into the well in the flour. Use a wooden spoon to quickly stir the hot water into the flour, making sure everything gets wet. As soon as it is cool enough to handle, knead the dough with your hands in the bowl or on a clean work surface until it comes together in a smooth ball.
Step 6Wrap a third of the dough in plastic wrap and set aside. Roll the remaining dough into an 11-inch circle (about 1/8-inch thick) between two large pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Remove one piece of wrap or paper and flip the pastry into an 8-inch springform pan, centering it and using your hands to gently press it into the bottom and against the sides. The dough should be supple and smooth enough that, if you tear it, you can easily patch any holes. Discard the wrap or paper. Add the filling and use the back of a spoon to press it in and level the surface. There should be a 1/2-inch rim of dough above the filling. Brush it with the beaten egg.
Step 7Roll the reserved dough into a 9-inch circle (about 1/8-inch thick) between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Remove one piece of wrap or paper and flip the pastry over the filling, centering it and pushing it down so that it fits snugly. The edge of the top crust will overlap the edge of the bottom crust. Press these two edges together gently against the side of the pan. Using a knife, trim the top of the combined edges to create an even border around the pan, then use your fingers to crimp that bit of dough back down into the pie, sealing the edges.
Step 8Cut a hole in the center of the pie to allow air to escape, brush the top with egg and bake until the top is deep golden brown and firm, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Let cool in the pan on a rack for at least 1 1/2 hours before unmolding and serving.