As the name suggests, the pastry is made by heating water, melting the fat in it, bringing the mixture to a boil, and finally incorporating the flour. This can be done by beating the flour into the mixture in the pan, or by kneading on a pastry board. Either way, the result is a hot and rather sticky paste that can be used for hand-raising: shaping by hand, sometimes using a dish or bowl as an inner mould. The molded crust retains its shape as it cools, and is prepared for baking with a filling and additional layer of pastry crust on top. Hand-raised hot water crust pastry does not produce a neat and uniform finish, as there will be sagging during the cooking of the filled pie. This is generally accepted as the mark of a hand-made pie. It is possible, however, to bake the pastry in a mould, as with other pies.
The pastry is often used to make pork pies, and the pastry allows a wet filling to be held in.