Ian R. MacLeod’s Flying Saucer Pie

Like many good recipes, this one comes vaguely remembered from a book which is now lost. I reckon the book was probably eaten by the dog; of course, this is also always a sign of quality, as only the best recipe books get enough food splattered on them to become truly attractive to canines. The recipe itself is a cheat, in that it involves putting together a few cheapish and easily obtainable shop-bought things in such a way as to give the impression of many hours of intense labour in a hot kitchen. To my mind, this, again, is no bad thing. The name comes from my daughter’s Emily’s description of what it looks like when finished. If you try it, you’ll soon see what I mean.

500 g packet of puff pastry
500 g of minced beef (or whatever other meat or non-meat takes your fancy)
100 g (ish) packet of sage and onion stuffing mix (or, again, whatever else.)
A large glass of red wine (you can use white for lighter meats)
An egg, lightly whisked.

Thaw and roll out and then cut the puff pastry into two circles, one a little larger than the other. The younger of you will be aiming for diameter of 20 and 25 cm – the older for something like a vinyl LP. Mix the meat and the puff pasty and the wine in a bowl. The rest of the wine in the bottle can, of course, be thrown away. Place the smaller of the two pastry circles on a flat, greased baking pan. Then put that mixture, looking pretty much like an upturned bowl, centrally on the circle, leaving about 2 cm around the edge. Brush the edge with the egg mix, place the bigger pastry circle on top, use a fork to make a pretty pattern where they join, then cut a couple of slots to let the air escape from the top. Trim off any bits which offend artistic sensibilities regarding the circularness of your circle. Use the rest of the egg to glaze the pie (which should by now be looking like a flying saucer unless something has gone seriously wrong) and place in the oven for about an hour and ten mins at gas mark 5 or about 190 centigrade. Make sure it’s good and brown and well cooked and, uh, eat it, although you might like to wait about 20 mins for it to set and cool.

The pie is actually one of those rare things that works even better after a day or so left cold.