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Pork pie

By October 17, 2015 , , , , , ,

Many of you will associate the pork pie as a quintessential English recipe. It’s not one you’ll encounter outside of the UK, unless you stumble across it in an expat shop or an overseas branch of an English supermarket. I like to serve mine with home-made mustard, pickles and cheese as part of a ploughman’s lunch. This recipe requires a full days attention to make, so do make sure you have enough time set aside. 

Now it must be said that I’m not a huge pork pie fan, but I do indulge occasionally. It was on my weekly trip into town that I stopped by Kitchen Art, my local Kitchen emporium, and had my usual browse. When I say browse, sometimes I’m lucky to get out without spending a small fortune in there. Before you think that this is a shop where the sales assistants push the hard sell, they don’t. It’s just that they have sooo many nice things to buy in there and the sales assistants and owners are very lovely people too.  On my last visit I came across some pork pie tins, so just had to buy some, naturally that led to having to make some pork pies. 

For the hot water crust pastry

300g plain flour
1tsp salt
30g lard
1 egg beaten
70g unsalted butter
100ml boiling water

Sift the flour and salt together
Add the butter and lard and rub together until it resembles breadcrumbs
Mix in the beaten egg
Pour in the boiling water and stir till the mixture forms a stiff dough
Form into a ball and place in the fridge to cool and rest
Once the pastry has rested, start to roll it out so you can line your pie tin (I used a 10cm high tin)
Roll out enough to line the tin with slight overlaps on the edges and then roll out another round disk for the top of the pie
The pastry should be about 5mm thick
Line the tin, ensuring you press the pastry well into the bottom and sides, place in the fridge to cool for at least 20 minutes before filling

For the filling

500g pork neck or shoulder roughly minced
200g smoked pancetta or bacon roughly cubed (1cm pieces)
20g mixed dried herbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and ensure it is well seasoned, 
You can check the seasoning by frying off a small piece of the meat and adjust the seasoning if needed

To assemble the pie

Fill the pie until it reaches the top
Add the pastry lid to the pie and bring together the edges by pinching the pastry together as shown below

Cut a small slit in the top to allow moisture to escape and also so you can fill with the jelly once the pie is cooked
You can keep the slit open while cooking by inserting a nozzle from a piping bag or similar cone shaped object in the top of the pastry lid
The pie can then be cooked at 180C (fan) 200C (normal oven) for 1 hour, lower the heat down to 140C (fan) 160c (normal oven) and then cook for a further hour
Remove from the oven, remove the nozzle and allow to cool

For the Jelly

Traditionally you would make a Jelly with pigs trotters and stock with some herbs (simmer for a couple of hours and allow to cool, strain and then use to top up the pie). This is the way I like to make it myself, but for many of you they are not easy to come by so here is the alternative. 

400ml chicken or pork stock
3 leaves gelatine (be sure to check the brand you are using as the set may vary for each brand and the amount of liquid)

Soak the gelatine leaves for 20 mins in cold water
Warm the stock through and add the leaves, stir until they have dissolved completely
Allow the stock to cool slightly (but not set) before adding to the pie

You may not need all the jelly when filling the pie.

To finish

Top up the pie with the jelly and allow to cool fully before tucking into the pie.


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