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Venison And Juniper Pie With Gingerbread Crust

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Venison And Juniper Pie With Gingerbread Crust

Rich warm flavours of venison and juniper berries are wrapped in a blanket of ginger pastry, making a pie with a difference.


  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ tsp each salt, baking soda, cream of tartar and mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 125 grams chilled butter, diced
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup wholemeal flour
  • about 4 tblsp water
  • 1 kg Cervena, preferably Denver leg cut
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 50 grams butter (preferably unsalted or clarified)
  • 1 ½ tsp crushed juniper berries
  • 4 tblsp flour
  • 1 cup good quality beef stock
  • ¾ cup red wine
  • ¼ cup ruby Port
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tblsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • beaten egg to glaze



  1. Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar, ginger and mixed spice into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and wholemeal flour.
  2. Using a knife cut in sufficient water to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and bring together. Knead for 2-3 minutes. Wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes before using. (Alternatively make the pastry in a food processor).
  3. The Denver leg cut of the Cervena will be in different sized pieces. Trim these of any sinew and cut into large 4-5 cm pieces
  4. Heat 1/2 the butter in a frying pan and brown the Cervena pieces on all sides until evenly coloured. Do not at this point cook through. Set aside for 10 minutes. Cut the venison pieces in half.
  5. Add the remaining butter to the pan. Add the onion and carrots and cook stirring over a moderate heat until the onions have lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook a further minute. (Garlic has a high sugar content than onion and so it tends to burn faster, it is best to add garlic towards the end of cooking the onions.)
  6. Stir in the juniper berries and flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, making sure that all the specks of flour have gone. Any white specks left will cause lumps in the gravy. Gradually stir in the stock, wine and port and continue to stir until the sauce thickens. Add venison pieces and season with pepper and thyme. Set aside. Cool and refrigerate until ready to prepare the pie.
  7. Roll the pastry out to about 26 cm round. Cut a 24 cm round from the pastry and set aside. Re-roll remaining pastry and cut strips about 1-2cm wide. Brush the edge of the pie dish with water and press these strips around the edge.
  8. Fill the pie with the venison mixture. Brush the top of the pastry with the beaten egg glaze and then roll the pastry lid on top. Press the edges of the pastry down firmly. Brush with beaten egg glaze and decorate with any remaining pastry scraps as wished.
  9. Bake at 180°for 35-40 minutes until the pie top is golden and the filling piping hot. Serve with creamy fluffy mashed potatoes and winter green vegetables.

Cooks Tips

Juniper Berries are a bitter berry that is used flavour red meat marinades and sauces. You need to crush them to release their flavour. Juniper berries are the hallmark flavour of Gin.

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