Recently I’ve found myself into hot water, really into it, and I never felt happier!


Hot water pastry, Rosa’s style

Ever since the Etruscan times, then the Romans, mixing flour and water has been very popular. To these days, an ancient Etruscan stove top bread called Torta al Testo is still part of the Umbrian diet.

For a full recipe of the Torta al testo see my previous post:

In Roman times, the dough was not there to eat, rather to preserve the juices and the aroma of the meat it was used to wrap. Later, in the 14th century, fats and dairy made their way into the dough. One could say it was the ancestor of our shortbread.

During Medieval times the dough was important to preserve meats, fruits and a variety of other fillings. In fact, the dough was even shaped from the inside, like a pot. Filled, and then covered with a dough “lid”.

So, why I’m getting so excited about some water and flour mix?

Well, this dough has a special quality. It works really well holding liquids. Do you have a runny chicken pot pie? do you have a stew that you want to bake? some cheese mix? This hot water pastry can handle it.

Easy to prepare, tough, delicious are just some of its qualities. This pastry dough will quickly turn out to be your new BFF in the kitchen.

Try it with your favorite savory pie filling. You will get into hot water, too, very fast!

[gn_box title=”HOT WATER CRUST PASTRY Enough for one 8in pie” color=”#385″]


  • 250 Gr of flour (high gluten)
  • 60 gr Butter~ unsalted
  • 50 gr Lard
  • 1 t salt
  • 100 gr water


Place the flour in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, over low heat melt the lard, the butter and the salt.

The fats should be melted by the time the water boils. When it does, pour it over the flour and start mixing.

DSCF5642 The dough as it first comes together.

At this stage the dough will be really warm, uneven looking, and quite..gooey.

DSCF5644 Not pretty….but wait!

Before you even attempt to work with this beauty, you have to let it come at room temperature. So, shape it in a ball, flatten it, cover it and let it rest.

It will take about 1 hour…..Have some wine!

..speaking of which, this is what I used with my meat pie. It goes really well with pork. It’s great for cooking, and has a fantastic price point. Open the bottle and let it air a little to breath. The wine will improve, and you will be pleasantly surprised.

2013 Pinot Noir from Underwood.

DSCF5984 Sometimes Inexpensive wines can be a pleasant addition to your meal.

After the hour has passed, lightly dust a board with flour. Divide the dough in half and reserve one half for the pie “lid”.

Now the dough is ready to be rolled out to be filled with your favorite recipe.

Here is what I did. Flour a wooden board, lightly.

Roll out the dough into a circle of about 6 inches larger than the base of the pie pan you need. The extra dough will go to cover the sides of the pan.

Then, fold the dough upon itself to reduce its diameter so that it can be lifted to be placed in the pan.

DSCF5779 Once you have transferred the dough inside the pan, carefully unfold to fit the dish

Keep unfolding the dough over the pie plate/pan rim

DSCF5782 Keep unfolding to cover the pan with the dough

Since the dough is so rich in fat, no need to grease the pan!
With your fingers make sure the dough adheres to the surface gently. Now, remove the excess dough.

DSCF5786 This is how I do it

Press and roll the rolling pin on the surface of the pan. It will cut the dough upon contact.
Remove the excess dough and keep it for garnishing the pie, if you like.
Place the pie in the refrigerator to firm up, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375F…

…or have some more wine…

DSCF5787 The dough is quite forgiving. It can be kneaded again DSCF5789 The Hot water Crust pastry can be fun to play with

Alternatively, you could also make individual meat pies.

DSCF5649 Little meat pies are great too

Then, do not forget the lids. They need to have a hole in the center, to allow the air to escape. Also, in the original version, some broth gelatin is poured back into the pie from the same hole.

This is how I shape mine

DSCF5650 I use a cake decorating tip to cut the steam holes in my mini pies

In the end, the sky is the limit. Fill the crust with what you want. Shape it like you want.

You can brush the top with cream or egg wash. I sprinkled mine with herbs, too.

DSCF5794 ….and bake it like you mean it!

The baking time will depend on how big your pie is. Mine took about 1 hour, while the mini pies took about 30 minutes.

I’m confident this recipe will become your “go~to” dough~ favorite pretty soon. When you are pushed for time, or planning on something different.

The Old Hot water pastry dough is the NEW way of baking, trust me.

DSCF5802 Savory or sweet both are delicious when made with this dough

Until next time, Mangia! and Ciao!

For more recipes head for the EDN archives or