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A traditional Scottish dish, Scotch pie is a meat-filled pie with a thin pastry crust. Traditionally, mutton is used for the meat filling, but many modern recipes use beef or lamb. The meat is minced before being added to other ingredients for the filling, and the pastry mainly consists of lard, water and flour. The other ingredients that go into the pie might include seasonings, sauces and vegetables, as well as plenty of spices. Small in size, a Scotch pie is usually eaten by itself as a snack or combined with potatoes and other vegetables to make a main meal.
The Scotch pie’s enduring popularity in Scotland is why it is sold in many of the country’s grocery stores and butcher shops. These pies also can be found in neighboring England, but to a lesser extent. A Scotch pie is typically about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter and about 1.5 inches (4 cm) deep. This compactness means the pie is easy to carry and eat at the same time, making it a popular snack for Scottish soccer fans. For this reason, the pies are also known as football pies — "football" is the usual European term for soccer.
For a more substantial sit-down meal, this meat pie is often teamed with creamed potatoes, fries or vegetables such as peas. Such side orders complement the rich flavor of the pie, created not only by the meat and pastry but by additional ingredients such as onion, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. The typical spiciness of a Scotch pie is because it is common to use mace and nutmeg in the meat filling.
The pie’s crust is sometimes referred to as "hot water pastry" because using hot water to make the pastry is a common technique. The pastry is made, molded and cooled before the addition of the filling, which is made by combining the minced meat with the other ingredients. Pastry lids are then placed over the meat and pressed down lightly. Scotch pies usually are baked in the oven for about 45 minutes.
The Scotch pie is such an important part of Scottish culture that there has been an annual World Scotch Pie Championships since 2000. Judges taste-test pies that have been entered in the contest to determine the world champion. The annual competition is hosted by the Scotch Pie Club, whose motto is "say aye tae a pie."