Fight me, but Australia’s national cuisine is hands down the meat pie. They are a staple at every bakery, kid’s party and football game and we even have a day dedicated to the savoury delight.
Unfortunately, I recently became aware that Australia did not in fact invent the meat pie – it was actually founded by Ancient Egyptians.
Despite this shock to the system, we Australians have still claimed pies as our own and local baking extraordinaire Mrs Mac’s did some research and found that 70% of Aussie’s eat pies at least once a month.
Certain parts of Australia have even declared June to be Pie Month and I am very on board with this.
To honour this most sacred month I tested Mrs Mac’s new line of Pastry Bakes, which make the bold claim of making a meat pie easier to eat.
The best and worst
Eating a meat pie is an art form and everyone has a different way of doing it. Do you cut off the lid of the pie first and then eat it? Do you take a bite out of the side and spoon out the filling? Are you a knife and fork or just a hands-on pie-eater?
There are a million ways to eat a pie, but one thing that is consistent is it will make a mess.
Mrs Mac’s pastry bakes set out to fix that program. They are rectangular-shaped pillows of crispy flaky puff pastry and warm filling.
The bakes come in four flavours: pulled beef, ham and cheese, bacon, egg and cheese and creamy chicken.
I tried the first three and have thoughts on them all. Here is my definitive ranking of flavours.
1. Pulled beef
The pulled beef pastry bake is the closest you can get to a traditional meat pie.
Pulled beef over ground beef is an inspired choice and I think elevated this pastry bake over some of the more typical flavours. The meat filling is delicious and had a nice peppery taste.
It doesn’t have that gooey gravy sauce you might expect from a meat pie but this is designed to be eaten on the go, after all, so you wouldn’t want sauce dripping all over you.
If you have to pick one pastry bake, let it be this one.
2. Ham and Cheese
Ham and cheese belong together – on pizza, on a toastie and in a pie.
Personally, I think beef, ham and cheese would’ve made for a better flavour here, but this was still a pretty delicious snack.
The ham and cheese filling is blended together so you get an even mouthful of both whenever you take a bite. Not to mention that delicious crispy pastry is simply the best.
3. Bacon, Egg and Cheese
Once again, all these ingredients belong together but this was the lowest on the rung for me because it was just a bit… plain.
Bacon, egg and cheese does make the ultimate breakfast snack so it earns some points back there. But, while I’m a fan of a decent quiche Lorraine it didn’t translate as well into a pastry bake.
Are pastry bakes easier to eat?
One thing that can be said for all three is that they are definitely much easier to eat than your average pie.
I had minimal spillage with all three of the bakes I tried and could eat them easily with a single hand. The pastry is crispy and robust enough to withstand the weight of the filling so you won’t have it falling apart in your hands.
While I don’t think these pastry bakes (or anything really) can beat a traditional meat pie, they are a great alternative with some tasty flavours and minimal mess.
If you want to test them out yourself you can find Mrs Mac’s pastry bakes, either warm or frozen, at supermarkets, petrol stations and convenience stores starting for $4.50 apiece.