This recipe makes a Classic Pork Pie, well actually four individual classic pork pies, and they are great for summer and for picnics. These are far better tasting than shop bought ones – and are best eaten cold, or at room temperature, with some salad and boiled new potatoes – also traditional pickles and sweet chilli-jam go well with this pie; and if the sun is shining (on a picnic, or eaten outside) then these will be especially good, as they are deep filled, properly seasoned, and are made with a wonderful hot-water crust pastry which does not go soggy.
To make this a classic tasting pork pie we need to understand that we are not adding in any herbs, which is why the seasoning of this pie is so important, (and the secret to a great tasting classic pork pie when served cold) of particular importance is the black pepper. Which is why it is best to use fresh flaked sea-salt and spices, those bursting with flavour, and not some which have been left open in a container for some time.
This truly is a British classic …
Classic Pork Pies
- 400g pork shoulder, finely chopped
- 150g pork belly, minced
- 150g lean bacon rashers, finely chopped
- 1 tsp sea-salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
- 1 egg, beaten
Pastry (Hot-water Crust)
- 500g plain flour
- 50g butter
- 150g lard
- 130ml water
- 2 tsp sea-salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 egg, beaten, for glaze
Pork Stock For Jelly (see link)
Make the Pie Jelly: See this link to make the Traditional Pork Stock to make the Pie Jelly (aspic).
Make the Pastry: Sift the flour into a large bowl stir in the salt and pepper, rub the butter and 50g of lard (both softened) into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs – then make a well in the centre. Put the water and remaining lard into a saucepan and bring it up to the boil. Once at the boil remove from the heat and pour the hot water into the mixing bowl with the flour. Use a wooden spoon and mix the warm mixture into a smooth and pliable pastry dough. Cover and set aside.
Grease the outside of four clean, empty, jam jars (or similar) with a little butter, then divide the pastry into 4 equal sized pieces. Take one portion of pastry and pinch off a quarter of it and reserve (for the pastry pie lid). Roll the remaining larger piece into a ball, flatten it into a disc, and roll it out, leaving it quite thick (7mm).
Place this disc over the base of one of the the jam jars and smooth it down the sides so that it conforms to the shape, making an upside down pork pie pastry shell – keep the pastry thickish (4 mm) and smooth and even. Do this for the other three pastry pieces (making sure you pinch off some and reserve it for a lid). Put them in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Make the Pie Filling: In a mixing bowl put the finely chopped pork shoulder, the mince belly pork, the finely diced bacon, sea-salt, allspice, nutmeg and the freshly ground black pepper. Mix in the beaten egg and combine thoroughly (using your hands is best). This pork pie filling should be without clumps of meat or spices and be uniformly small in texture.
Make the Classic Pork Pies: Take the pastry cases out of the fridge, turn them the right way up and carefully ease the pastry from the jars. Optional: If you are worried about the integrity of your pies when baking it is best to wrap each of the pastry pie shells in baking paper or parchment and tie them up with a little string. This holds the pie, stopping the pastry sagging and splitting, helping keep its shape when in the oven.
Divide the pork pie filling equally among all four pie cases. Roll the filling into a ball and press it into each, packing them in, but not too tightly. Use your hand to mould the outside into a nice shape if you have not wrapped them in parchment. Roll each of the reserved pastry balls (the pie lids) into a circle, about 1.5cm larger than the pastry shells width. Dampen the edges with a little water and place over the pie filling, affixing the lid to the pie pastry base by pinching (crimping) the edges firmly together to tightly seal. Trim any excess pastry and pinch upwards into a neat crimped edge. Brush the pies (all over if you have not wrapped them in paper) with a little beaten egg.
Preheat the oven 180C / Gas 4
Make a little steam hole in the centre of the pies in the crust. Bake the pies for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and brush with more beaten egg, bake for a further 15 minutes, remove from the oven and brush with more beaten egg, bake for a further 15 minutes (an hour in total). If you have wrapped the pies and tied them in paper remove the paper and brush all over with beaten egg and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
Allow the pies to cool for an hour, then put them in the fridge to chill for an hour. Using a warm and liquid pork stock (which has been reduced enough so that it will set into an aspic jelly when cold) pour it into the pork pies using a narrow necked funnel, through the steam hole. Stop every so often to allow the stock to run over the meat and down the sides of the pie filling – you might need to wait and refill the pies after 20 minutes as the stock settles. Put the pies in the fridge to chill and let the stock set into a jelly overnight. Serve the next day.