Making your own pastry can be daunting, but if you’ve never done it before, this cheddar-laden version is a great place to begin.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


Pastry (see Note)

  • 125 g (4½ oz) cheddar, cut into 1-cm (½-inch) cubes
  • 120 g (4½ oz) chilled butter, cut into 1-cm (½-inch) cubes
  • 375 g (13 oz/2½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 170 ml (5½ fl oz/⅔ cup) iced water
  • 1 egg, whisked, for brushing (or use melted margarine)


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced into moons (I use the whole leek; just wash the top bit really well)
  • 700 g (1 lb 9 oz) button mushrooms, halved/quartered depending on size
  • 50 g (1¾ oz) butter (or margarine)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 vegetable stock (bouillon) cubes
  • 2 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (concentrated purée)
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200 g (7 oz) chopped spinach (I use frozen)
  • 125 g (4 oz/½ cup) sour cream (or nut milk plus 2 tbsp nutritional yeast)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Makes 2 large pies

Chilling time: 20 minutes

  1. To make the pastry, put the cheese, butter, flour and salt in a large bowl. Rub together with your fingertips, to break the butter and cheese into smaller pieces while incorporating them into the flour. (You can also do this with a few quick pulses in a food processor.) You want to end up with a chunky breadcrumb consistency. Some big chunks are absolutely fine; they will melt and become little pockets of flavour in your pastry.
  2. Add the egg yolk and iced water, and use a fork to mix the dough together. Bring the pastry into a ball with your hands, then transfer to a bowl, cover with a clean cloth and place in the fridge. Let it sit there and rest while you make the filling.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and leek. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the mushrooms, butter and garlic, along with a sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring only every 2 minutes, for about 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are golden and reduced.
  4. Add the herbs, stock cubes, flour and tomato paste and stir well to combine. After a minute or two, add the Worcestershire sauce, salt, spinach and sour cream, along with 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) water. Stir well and cook until the spinach has wilted or thawed.
  5. Cool the filling, by either setting aside for an hour, or refrigerating for 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  7. Cut the pastry into four chunks. On a well-floured surface, roll each pastry portion out to a thin, roughly circular sheet using a rolling pin. Make two circles about 25–30 cm (10–12 inches) in diameter for the pie bases, and two circles about 20 cm (8 inches) in diameter for the lids.
  8. Carefully transfer the larger pastry circles to the lined baking trays. Don’t stress if there are some tears or holes; just patch them up with more dough. Spoon the filling onto each circle, in the centre, leaving a pastry border of about 3 cm (1¼ inches).
  9. Lay the smaller pastry circles over the top. Carefully use the overhanging pastry to create folds all around the perimeter of each pie, or simply fold it up and press together with a fork. Any leftover pastry can be frozen for later use.
  10. Brush the top of the pies with the whisked egg. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pies are golden and all the pastry is cooked through.



To make this recipe vegan, replace the homemade pastry with 6 sheets of vegan puff pastry.


Recipe and images from The Shared Table by Clare Scrine, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99