Saturday, 26 December 2015

Pork pie

I love pork pie and find it is one of those things I buy especially around Christmas time. It's a treat and delicious with pickles and chutneys. I decided this year to have a go and make my own. I used a combination of recipes to create something I think would be just perfect for ease of making and for taste.

Preheat the oven to 180 C
250g of smoky streaky bacon (you need the fat for this recipe)
Approximately 1200g total of minced pork (I used a combination of 20% fat and 5%fat) to get that mixture of lean and fatty meat.
A good tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme,
Half a teaspoon of mace
A tablespoon of chopped fresh sage
A good teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper.
Half a teaspoon of white pepper.

Chop the bacon up into small pieces and add to the minced meats along with sage, thyme, salt, pepper and mace. Get your hands in and mix it all together. That is your filling! If by some chance it won't all fit into your pie tin then form into burgers and pop into the freezer. They will fry up lovely at a later date.

Hot water crust pastry
200g of lard
220g of water
575g of plain flour
A good pinch of salt

1 beaten egg for sticking and glazing

A 7 inch cake tin or thereabouts (the pie will be huge!) you could perhaps use 2 x 1lb loaf tins although I haven't tested this. Grease and flour the tin ready for use. Use a loose bottomed tin so that it is easy to remove the pie from the tin when cool.

Pop the water and lard into a pan and melt. When melted through and brought up to bubbling point tip into the flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Mix until you have a smooth dough and then tip out onto a worktop. Now it will be hot so be careful! Allow it to cool a little but not too much. Cut off a quarter of the dough and put to oneside. Using the rest of the pastry pop it into the bottom of the cake tin and with your fingers/knuckles press it all over and up the sides of the tin. It is a bit fiddly and you must avoid any tears in the pastry.

Pile the filling into the pastry. It is amazing how much will go in. Press it down firmly. Then roll out the remaining quarter of pastry and make a lid. Brush egg all around the rim and seal it tightly. You really don't want any leaks. You will be putting some jelly once it is cooked. You can decorate the lid with any trimmings. You will now need a steam hole in the top. I just used straw to poke the hole.

Pop into the oven at 180C for 30 minutes to begin with and then reduce the heat to 160C Bake for 90 minutes. Take it out of the oven and then brush the top with the remaining beaten egg. Put back into the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown. Take out of the oven and leave to cool off a bit in the tin.

It might look a bit mess on the top. You cannot avoid the meat juices escaping out of the steam hole and running over the lid then evaporating but it adds to the charm and rustic appeal of this wonderful pie.

Now you need to make some jelly to fill the pie.
I used Dr Oetker gelatine sachets. One sachet sets a pint of liquid. I made a pint of chicken stock with a good quality stock cube and followed the instructions on the gelatine sachet.

Now this is the tricky bit. Filling the pie with as much stock as you can get in. Clear the hole with the straw and use a funnel to very carefully add the stock. You might need to do this over a period of time. Allow the stock to sink and then add a bit more. Try and get as much as you can in. 

Leave the pie to cool and then pop it out of the tin and pop into the fridge overnight to allow the gelatine to set.

You will have the most delicious pie that will feed loads of people.

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