Many of us enjoy a nice pork pie and they are surprising easy to make, even the hot water crust pastry is literally child’s play. Ideal for picnics if you have a cool-box or are just popping out to a local beauty-spot.
Pork pie meat should be particulate: in distinguishable pieces rather than paste-like. Chop the pork finely by hand or use a food processor but take care not to over-process.
For some of us, the cool savoury jelly is an integral part of the pork pie experience although you can leave it out if you prefer. Jelly keeps the meat moist and fills the gap between pastry and pork: which inevitably shrinks during cooking.
The best pork pie jelly is made from boiled pigs’ trotters but it’s not for the faint hearted, packet gelatine works well and is easier when you just want to make a few pork pies without too much of a song and dance.
- 350g cubed lean pork shoulder (remove larger pieces of fat before weighing)
- 40g bacon lardons
- ½ -1teaspoon ground white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon each ground mace & dried sage
- 350g plain flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ - teaspoon ground white pepper
- 100g lard/vegetable shortening, diced
- 140ml water
- 1 small egg beaten with a teaspoon of water
- Sufficient powdered or leaf gelatine to make 300ml savoury jelly
- 300ml chicken or vegetable stock
You will need 4 x greased 7cm ramekins and a baking tray, plus a small funnel for the jelly
Pre-heat oven to 180°C (fan oven) gas mark 4 or equivalent
Process the filling ingredients together briefly or chop finely by hand. Refrigerate.
Melt the fat with the water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
Sieve the dry ingredients into a roomy bowl. Make a central well and stir in the hot fat and water until combined. Transfer to a lightly floured board. Work into a pliable dough.
Divide into 4 equal pieces. Set aside ¼ of each piece for the lids. Shape the main pieces into balls and roll into circles approximately ½ cm thick.
Line the ramekins, manoeuvring the pastry gently into place. Use offcuts to repair any inadvertent tears. Trim away excess pastry leaving sufficient to crimp together with the lid. Add the trimmings to the reserved lid pastry.
Roll out the lids.
Divide the filling into 4 and press into each pie: fill up to the brim.
Brush the pastry edges with egg-wash. Position the lids. Crimp the tops and bottoms together, making a decorative edge. (Avoid leaving any overhang or the pies will be difficult to un-mould.) Make ½ cm central holes in each lid. Brush the lids with egg-wash.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pies from the oven and cool briefly. Remove them from the ramekins. Position them on the baking tray, brush sides with egg wash and cover the tops with greaseproof paper. Return them to the oven for 20 minutes more or until the sides are golden brown. Cool.
Make up the gelatine according to the maker’s instructions with the stock. Pour it gradually through a small funnel into the lid holes of the cooled pies. Refrigerate overnight.