Made with a traditional butter-rich shortcrust pastry, these classic pies are filled with lean minced beef and flavoured with warm, aromatic spices. Shaped cutters and coloured egg wash make for creative and fun pie lids.
Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan over a low heat, until just coloured. Set aside. Heat half the oil in a medium pan, add the chopped onion, cover and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, until very soft and golden. Transfer to a heatproof plate.
Add the remaining oil to the pan and set over a medium–high heat. When hot, add the minced beef and stir until lightly browned. Stir in the cinnamon, allspice and chilli, season with salt and pepper, then add the purée and cooked onions. Stir in the stock and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat to low, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the meat is soft. Uncover and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated. Stir in the pine nuts and leave to cool.
To make the pastry, tip the flour and salt into a food processor. Add the butter and blitz to fine crumbs. With the machine running, add enough of the chilled water to bring together to a soft dough.
Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Shape each into a thick disc, then wrap in cling film and chill for about 15 minutes.
Unwrap half the dough discs and place on a lightly floured worktop. Roll out each portion to an oval 2.5mm thick and use it to line the base and sides of the pie tins. Trim off the excess, reserving the scraps. Chill the pastry cases for 15 minutes.
Divide the filling equally between the pie dishes. Roll out the remaining pastry pieces to 2.5mm thick, and, using a sharp knife, cut oval discs to cover 2 of the pies, 2 large hearts to cover another, and nine 1.5cm strips to make a 4 x 5 lattice to top the fourth.
Brush the pie rims with egg, then press each pastry lid in place, sealing all around the rim with the tines of a fork. Re-roll all the trimmings, and cut or mould them to decorate the pie lids (lips and roses work well), securing with beaten egg. Return the pies to the fridge.
Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/Gas 7 and put a large baking sheet inside to heat up. Brush each chilled pie with beaten egg. If you wish to colour the decorations, portion out the remaining beaten egg and stir a few drops of a different edible food colouring into each portion – ‘paint’ your pies with the glazes.
Bake the pies on the heated baking sheet for 25 minutes, until the pastry is a rich golden brown. Serve hot.