Friday 30 December 2016

Mince and Skirlie Pies

Shortcrust pastry filled with savoury steak mince and oatmeal stuffing AKA Skirlie

I bet a lot of you have eaten your fair share of mince pies over the festive season haven’t you? Crumbly pastry filled with that juicy, fruity and possibly boozy mincemeat.

This recipe however, is for an altogether different type of mince pie. It combines a couple of Scottish classic dishes – a pan of mince and skirlie.

Mince in this recipe refers to minced beef (or ground beef as it’s called elsewhere) braised in a pan with some onions and some gravy browning added to it. This is the way I make it, although there are loads of variations out there.

braised steak mince with onion and gravy browning.

In Scotland a pan of mince is traditionally paired with mashed potatoes to give the dish called mince and tatties. Not the most exciting sounding cuisine admittedly but it is a hearty meal, perfect on a cold night.

The skirlie part of it is another Scottish dish – made from oatmeal, onions, suet and some unknown seasoning. If you’re familiar with a white pudding from the chip shop, skirlie is like the inside of that. Bought from the butcher, we tend to have skirlie on Christmas day as a side dish, it can be used as stuffing also in poultry. It is difficult to describe the taste, but it’s very savoury and has great texture.

oatmeal stuffing

I had the idea for making these pies when planning what I would make for the Christmas buffet at work the other week. I was making the gingerbread layer cake I took in, but wanted to take in something savoury also.

These Mince and Skirlie Pies would be perfect and easy to make. I made a pan of mince, slightly thicker than I would normally, along with a pan of skirlie (you just pop this in a frying pan and the fat melts down and gently fried the oatmeal).

Shortcrust pastry filled with savoury steak mince and oatmeal stuffing AKA Skirlie

I then took some shop-bought ready rolled shortcrust pastry and cut out circles about 4-5 inches in diameter. I spooned on around a tablespoon of the mince in the middle of the pastry circle, topped with a tablespoon of skirlie. I pulled up the sides of the circle to form a pie, leaving a little gap at the top for any steam to escape. They almost looked like little purses, or santa sacks.

Shortcrust pastry filled with savoury steak mince and oatmeal stuffing AKA Skirlie

I made some in a muffin tin too, with an open top which you will see in the photo at the top and below. I ran out of pastry and used scraps to line the muffin tin ‘cups’ with.

I brushed the pastry with an egg wash and baked them in the oven until they were golden brown in colour. The insides are already cooked, so you are really just baking the pastry and heating the insides.

Shortcrust pastry filled with savoury steak mince and oatmeal stuffing AKA Skirlie

For the pies which looked like little purses or sacks, I got a bit fancy and tied a chive around the top, but that is of course entirely optional and unnecessary!!

Shortcrust pastry filled with savoury steak mince and oatmeal stuffing AKA Skirlie

These would make ideal party food at a Hogmanay bash (or New Year’s Eve party if you’re not in Scotland). Here’s how to make them… (there will be leftover mince and skirlie with this, so you could buy more pastry and make even more pies if you like).

Have a great New Year everyone!

print recipe

Mince and Skirlie Pies
Shortcrust Pastry Filled with Mince and Skirlie
  • 500 grams 12% fat steak mince
  • 1 white onion
  • 4 teaspoons gravy browning powder (I use Bisto)
  • 1 pack of skirlie
  • 2 sheets of ready rolled shortcrust pastry
  • 1 egg
  • Seasoning
Dice the onion and place in a large pan with the mince. Fry, breaking up the mince with a wooden spoon, until the onions are translucent and the mince is browned.Pour some water from a boiled kettle over the mince just so it is covered.In a small jug, mix 4 teaspoons of gravy powder with 125 ml water. Add this to the pan of mice, stir it through and let the pan simmer away until slightly thickened.Make the skirlie by placing in a large frying pan or skillet and cook over a gentle heat. When the suet has melted and toasted the oats, it’s ready.Preheat the oven to 180C and line a couple of baking sheets with greaseproof paper.Unroll the sheets of pastry and cut of circles about 4 or 5 inches in diameter.Spoon a tablespoon of mince in the centre of the circle topped with a tablespoon of the skirlie. Gently bring the pastry up over the filling, pinching slightly at the top. Place on the baking sheet slightly apart.Beat the egg slightly and brush the pastry of each pie with the egg.Bake in the oven for 15 mins approximately until the pastry is golden brown.Tie with a bit of chive if being really fancy!Enjoy warm.
Prep time: Cook time: 15 mins Total time: Yield: 15 Pies approx.


  1. Your baking escapades are amazing. I love what you do and your creativity! So glad we can have them in our own homes again :D

  2. it looks just great. and so easy to prepare. on this weekend I'll try to cook it. Thanks you


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