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Public’s Pie Floater

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What’s a pub without a great pie? There are as many types of pies in the world as there are chefs I bet.

I know falling in love with a type of pie is a matter of great personal taste. I love the ones with light, fluffy pastry, big chunks of slow cooked, tender meat, rich thick gravy and just the right amount of seasoning. And so it has come to pass that I have fallen in love with the pie floater at Public, one of the newest venues in Manuka.

This is a modern twist on the legendary Aussie pie floater which the South Australian National Trust claims originated in Adelaide. It enjoys a history tracing back more than 130 years.

The original is a traditional minced meat pie inverted into a plate of thick green pea soup (some would call it gruel). I’m thankful Public’s version is much more elegant and also a feast for the eyes. It’s presented on a bed of creamy mash potato and served with fresh, bright green peas (a bit chunky and perked up with mint).

A friend of mine, who used to be part owner of a pub in Kingston, was with me at Public one day to indulge. He wrote me an email several days later saying he was still dreaming about the dish. I’m not surprised.

I begged Public for the recipe and the kitchen was happy to share. Enjoy!

Public pie floater recipe

Makes 6 individual pies or 1 large pie

what you need

1kg diced chuck
1 onion diced
100g + 50 g butter
1oo mls oil
100g plain flour
100mls red wine
50g tomato paste
1 litre chicken stock
Lots of cracked pepper
Puff pastry sheets
Mash potato
300 g smashed peas with mint

To make mixture 

Take chuck out of fridge 1 hour before cooking. When room temperature, season with salt and pepper.

Heat heavy pan with oil and 50g butter. When butter stops bubbling the pan is hot enough.  Add meat to pan, small amounts at a time and caramelise/seal each piece.

In large casserole/pot melt 100g butter and sweat off onions. Then add flour and mix. Add red wine and mix thoroughly. Think thick mix down by adding chicken stock (100 to 150 mls at a time). Mix well each time.

Bring sauce back to boil and repeat until all chicken stock added. Season with salt and pepper (a good amount of pepper). Add tomato paste.

Place chuck in the sauce and cook for about 2 hours at 180°C until meat tender.

Mix will be wet so strain some liquid for gravy and put aside.

To make pie

Spray 6 pie tins (10cm by 5cm) or 1 pie tin (31cm by 5cm) with canola spray or oil well.

Line with a layer of puff pastry (remember to push corners in) with pastry falling over sides. Put filling in.

For lid cut out a circle of pastry slightly bigger than the pie. Place lid onto pie, cutting excess off and sealing to keep liquid in.

To cook

Cook small pies for 20 minutes at 180°C. Cook large pies 170°C for 40 minutes.

Serve with mash potato, smashed peas (with mint) and left over gravy. 


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4 Responses to Public’s Pie Floater

Renee says: 24 May, 2012 at 10:14 am

Hmmmmmmmm Pie. Pies are to me like beer is to Homer Simpson. Cringe worthy analogy I know, but it highlights just how much I love them. I have had Pie floaters before when living abroad but I haven’t had the opportunity to try this one from The Public yet, but I sure will endeavour to give this one a whirl.

nay says: 24 May, 2012 at 4:28 pm

I had many pie floaters from the pie cart out the front of the Adelaide casino, it was awesome and always after too many drinks so would love to give this a

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