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Savoury toppings for healthy pies

Lindsey Bareham

Find out how to make savoury crumble and scone toppings – ideal as alternative pie toppings for healthier meals with less saturated fat.

Savoury crumble topped dishes
A savoury crumble topping can replace pastry, making a much healthier alternative to pie

Both crumble and scone toppings work well on any pie and are particularly good with beef, chicken or stewed vegetables – adapt your favourite pie recipe, or try it with the fillings from steak and kidney pudding, chicken and mushroom pie or vegetarian woolton pie.

Savoury crumble

A savoury crumble topping can replace pastry, making a much healthier alternative to pie that’s still satisfying and filling. It can be made like a sweet crumble, except the sugar is replaced with grated cheese with aromatic herbs or mustard powder for added flavour. For an even more delicious savoury crumble mixture, replace part of the flour with chopped nuts or porridge oats.

  • 50g/2oz butter100g/4oz flour
  • 50g/2oz ground almonds
  • 2tsp herbes de Provence or dried thyme
  • 50g/2oz grated Parmesan, or vegetarian alternative


Mix the flour with the ground almonds, herbs and Parmesan.

Rub the butter into the flour and herb mixture until it starts to resemble fine breadcrumbs.

Put the cooked pie filling of your choice into a pie dish and, once cooled, spoon your mixture over the top, pressing down gently.

Sprinkle a little more grated Parmesan on top.

Bake at 200c/ gas mark 6 for about 30 minutes, until crusty and aromatic.

Savoury scone topping

A scone topping, known as a cobbler, is made in a very similar way to sweet scones except they are baked on top of a pie filling of your choice. This is a basic recipe that can be adapted to suit your own personal taste.

  • 250g/10oz self-raising flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 2tsp dried thyme
  • 100g/4oz grated cheddar
  • 150ml/6fl oz milk
  • 1 egg, beaten

Sieve the dry ingredients together.

Stir in 75g/2 ½oz of the grated cheddar, followed by the milk. Knead briefly.

Dust your work surface with flour and roll scone mixture to about 1cm or 1/2 in thick and use a 5cm/2in cookie cutter.

Plop the scone over the prepared pie filling and smear with beaten egg.

Scatter the remaining cheese cheese on top.

Bake at 200c/ gas mark 6 for 30 – 40 minutes, or until risen and golden.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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