Expedition pie

Expedition pie

B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself

I prefer the idea of an ‘expedition’ pie to a ‘picnic’ one. These pies hold together and incorporate loads of different flavours for when you’re out and about with the kids. I love making the sharp layers you see when you cut into them. This flavour combination is one of my favourites.


Quantity Ingredient

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
300g skinless and boneless chicken breasts, chopped into 2 cm cubes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
a little bit olive oil
75g green pesto
1 large red onion, peeled
1 red pepper
150g butternut squash, peeled
8 rashers streaky bacon
75g feta cheese
50g walnuts

For the hot water crust

Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity see method for ingredients, hot water crust only, fresh-made
plain flour, to dust
1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the jelly

Quantity Ingredient
3 gelatine leaves
1/2 chicken stock cube

Tool kit

Quantity Ingredient
2 baking trays
rolling pin
900 g loaf tin
pastry brush
wire cooling rack


  1. For the filling, season the chicken with salt and pepper and fry in olive oil over a medium heat until lightly golden. Toss it in the pesto and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Slice the vegetables: the onion into 5 mm-thick crescents, the pepper into strips and the butternut squash into 1 cm-thick chips, about 10 cm long. Drizzle the vegetables with a little olive oil and lay out on 2 baking trays. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 25 minutes. Leave to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, fry off the bacon in a little more oil, then set aside. Slice the feta into 5 mm-thick slices and roughly chop the walnuts.
  4. Pop the hot water crust dough into a bowl and cover with a tea towel (to keep it warm). Make 2 strips of foil, folded over a few times for strength, and lay them into a 900 g loaf tin, crossing over (this will help you lift the pie out later).
  5. Take two-thirds of the pastry and roll out on a lightly floured work surface into a rectangle around 40 x 25 cm. Roll up on to a rolling pin and lay into the prepared tin. Use your fingers to gently work the pastry into the corners of the tin.
  6. Start to fill the pastry up. Begin with the cooled chicken, firmly pressing it down into the bottom. Add the red pepper, laying them on top of the chicken. Now add the feta and the walnuts, remembering to keep the layers even and pressed down. Add the squash next, followed by the bacon. Top with the onions. Brush the top edge of the pastry with beaten egg.
  7. To make the lattice top, first roll out the remaining pastry on a floured surface. Cut it into 2 cm-wide strips: 4 that are the length of the loaf tin (about 25 cm) and 7 that are its width (about 12 cm).
  8. Lay the long strips, evenly spaced apart by 5 mm, on the work surface. Fold back 2 alternate long strips of pastry. Lay a short strip on the remaining strips, then fold the long strips back. Carry on in this manner, alternating which of the long strips are folded back, to build the lattice.
  9. Very carefully roll the lattice on to a rolling pin and lay on top of the pie. Press down the edges, so that the egg ‘glues’ the top and bottom together. Cut the excess pastry off with a sharp knife and crimp the edges around the pie.
  10. Brush the lattice with more egg and bake for 50 minutes. Check during the last 10 minutes that the pastry isn’t burning. If it is taking on too much colour, cover with some foil for the last bit.
  11. Take the pie out of the oven and gently lift it out of the tin using the foil strips (do not tip the pie out, or any liquid in it will pour out of the lattice). Paint the newly exposed edges of pastry with egg and return to the oven for a final 5 minutes.
  12. For the jelly, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes. Make the stock in a jug, using 200 ml of boiling water and the stock cube. Stir the softened gelatine leaves into the stock until they have fully dissolved.
  13. Carefully take the pie out of the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When cool, pour the jelly in through the lattice holes to fill the pie and allow to cool completely for at least 1 hour on the wire rack, then refrigerate the pie for a couple of hours or overnight until completely chilled.


  • This recipe has a star bake (extra advanced) difficulty.


  • You can fill these pies with anything. I really like to put pickles in: onions, beetroot or piccalilli. Lots of different roasted vegetables always work well. One of my basic rules of thumb is that, if you can find it on a buffet table, you can put it in your expedition pie. Stuffing tends to work a treat in these pies, too, as does pretty much all kinds of cheese. Layer cold cuts or bacon in, too.
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