Lamb,Pear and Cranberry Pie (without the pie)


On Violet’s Pantry, our members had the privilege of testing some of Lotte Duncan’s recipes for her new book Lotte’s Country Kitchen which was published last year. The recipes we helped with were wonderful and it was great fun trying them out. I am the proud owner of her book and it is so pretty I am afraid to get a splat of goo on it. It is one of the best cookery books I own.. It does not stop at beautifully laid out pages and stunning photographs. The recipes are seasonal and the chapters laid out monthly so it is very easy to find something that suits the time of year. All are very homely recipes.No complexity involved but Lotte has managed to capture what every home cook wants, lots of flavour and beautiful presentation but as well s being homely everyday fare for the family her dishes would grace a dinner party table perfectly indeed the quantities are mostly for 6-8 people but easily adjusted for smaller amounts. This recipe was for a pie but I just couldn’t be bothered making the pastry. The mix of fruit meat and veg is perfect with just the right amount of sweetness and sharpness. A real keeper. If you have a few cranberries still lying around I would recommend this dish. I served it with fluffy creamed potatoes. Delicious.

  • Preparation time 30 mins
  • Cooking time 120 mins
  • Serves 6 people


  • 2 tbsp Rapeseed oil
  • 900 g (31.7oz) Leg of lamb, diced and trimmed of fat
  • 25 g (0.9oz) Butter
  • 1 Large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 Large carrots, cut into 2.5cm/1inch chunks
  • 1 tbsp Soft brown sugar
  • 2.5 tbsp Plain flour
  • 570 ml (20.1fl oz) Lamb or beef stock
  • 150 ml (5.3fl oz) Red wine
  • 2 tbsp Chopped fresh parsley
  • 0.5 tsp Dried thyme
  • 1 Fresh bay leaf
  • 1 Small sprig of rosemary
  • 2 Large pears, peeled, cored and cut into chunks the same size as the lamb
  • 110 g (3.9oz) Fresh cranberries
  • 1 Small orange – grated zest and juice
  • 0.5 tbsp Clear honey or quince jelly
  • 1 tbsp Chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Pinch of salt
  • 1 Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 225 g (7.9oz) Self-raising flour – For the Suet crust pastry
  • 2 tsp Dried thyme – For the Suet crust pastry
  • 2 tsp English mustard powder – For the Suet crust pastry
  • 110 g (3.9oz) Shredded suet flour for dusting – For the Suet crust pastry
  • 1 Egg, beaten – For the Suet crust pastry 


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan oven, 140°C gas mark 3. Aga 4/3-door grid shelf on floor of baking oven Aga 2- door Grid shelf on floor of roasting oven with cold plain shelf on third runners.
  2. Heat 1 table spoon of oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and brown the pieces of lamb a few at a time. When each piece of meat is sufficiently browned, remove it using a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. You might need to add another tablespoon of oil to brown all the meat.
  3. Now add the butter, onion, carrots and brown sugar to the dish and fry them gently until they are beginning to soften and caramelise due to the sugar. You don’t want the sugar to burn, so keep the heat low. It just makes the vegetables sweeter and gives a lovely colour to the final dish.
  4. Stir in the flour and pour over the stock and wine. Bring up to boiling point, return the lamb to the dish with the parsley, thyme, bay leaf and rosemary. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  5. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove and then add the pears, cranberries and orange zest and juice. Cook for another 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the honey or quince jelly.
  6. Now pour into 1.4 litre/ 2½ pint pie dish and set aside to cool a little.
  7. Increase the oven temperature to 190°C fan oven, 170°C/ gas mark 5. Aga 4/3-door Top of baking oven. Aga 2-door Grid shelf on floor of roasting oven.
  8. Make the pastry just before you need it because just like dumplings, when you add a liquid to self-raising flour it starts the rising process and you need to cook it straight away to keep the pastry light. If you leave the pastry hanging around, it will be heavy and tough. Sieve the flour into a medium mixing bowl and add the thyme, mustard powder and a pinch of salt. Stir in the suet and mix with approximately 150ml/5fl oz cold water to make a soft dough. Turn onto a floured board and knead until smooth.
  9. Now roll out the pastry, bid enough to cover your pie dish with a little overhang. Moisten the rim of the dish with some water and position the pastry on the top and press it over the edge of the dish, and tuck it slightly under. It doesn’t matter if the edges are thick and pleated, this is a very rustic pie and the rougher the better!
  10. Make a slit in the middle to let the steam escape during cooking and brush all over with the beaten Egg to give a rich colour to the cooking pastry. Stand the pie on the baking sheet and bake until the Pastry is crisp and golden brown.
  11. Slice the pie and serve with steamed runner beans, tossed in butter and plenty of seasoning. 



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