Pork Pies

Make your own impressive pork pies with this thorough recipe from Richard Bertinet. Enjoy these British favourites as part of a picnic or buffet.

Pastry
From the book Pastry
By Richard Bertinet
Buy on Amazon / Hive / Waterstones

Introduction

Consider this a bonus recipe that stands apart from the others in this chapter because it uses hot-water crust, which is a different type of pastry from those described previously. It is used only for making raised pies that are eaten cold.

Raised pies are something that the British have always been good at making, from the humble to
the elaborate, filled with all kinds of meat, game and fruit, but the one I loved instantly when I came to England was the individual, pure pork pie. Well-seasoned and made properly with good-quality meat and great jelly, it is just beautiful.

Traditionally, the jelly is made using a pig’s trotter, and there is a recipe for this on page 98 of the book, but if you are short of time you can make the simple version below. In most traditional recipes the pastry is also hand-raised, which means that it is shaped without the help of a mould. However, I know that many people find the idea of doing this quite daunting, so these pies are made in a much easier way, in dariole moulds.
If you don’t want to try the hot-water crust, you could make these pies using Cornish pasty pastry. It will obviously have a slightly different flavour and texture, but you will still have some very tasty pies!

Makes 8

Ingredients

butter or lard, for greasing the moulds
flour, for dusting the moulds and rolling
1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt, for glazing the pastry
For the hot-water crust:
1 egg
450g plain flour
175g lard (or goose or duck fat)
5g (1 tsp) salt
5g (1 tsp) sugar
For the filling:
300g pork belly, skin removed
300g pork shoulder
2 anchovies in oil, drained
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
200g smoked bacon or pancetta
1/2 nutmeg seed, freshly grated
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
For the jelly:
3 gelatine leaves
200ml good chicken stock
100ml sweet sherry or port

Essential kit

You will need 8 dariole moulds and a little funnel, piping nozzle or a syringe

Instructions

First make the pastry. Break your egg into a small bowl. Put the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the egg to the flour and stir in briefly.

Put the lard in a pan with 175 ml water, the salt and sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring as the lard melts. When it comes to the boil, count to 30 seconds and immediately take the pan off the heat. Pour the liquid into the flour mixture, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.

When the mixture forms quite a sticky dough, cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to rest and cool for 1 hour.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Flatten it out with your hands.

Fold the dough into thirds by taking one side into the centre and pressing down with your fingertips.

Next, bring the opposite side over the top. Press down again with your fingertips.

Flatten the dough into a rough oblong shape, lift onto a baking tray, then cover with greaseproof paper and put into the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas 4.

While the pastry is resting, make the filling. Dice the pork belly and shoulder roughly and mix with the anchovies and sage. Put this mixture into a food mixer with a mincer attachment (use the one with the larger holes) and grind to the texture of mincemeat. Alternatively, place in a food processor and pulse briefly, stopping and starting, until you have the required texture. (By pulsing in short bursts you will avoid overdoing it and ending up with meat paste.) If you don’t have a machine, you can chop all the meat very finely with a big knife; it is just a bit more tedious.

Cut the bacon or pancetta into small pieces and stir into the minced meat. Add the nutmeg, then season and mix well. To test that it is seasoned to your liking, take a little bit of the mixture and fry it in a pan. Make sure it is cooked through, then taste it and adjust if necessary.

Take the pastry out of the fridge – by now it should be firmer. Roll it briefly on a lightly floured work surface. Fold it into three and roll out again about 3–4 mm thick.

Finally, using a pastry cutter or saucer about 12 cm in diameter, cut out eight circles. Now use a cutter or glass tumbler 8 cm in diameter to cut out another eight.

Lightly grease 8 dariole moulds, then dust with flour, emptying out the excess. Line each mould with a circle of pastry, pushing it gently into the base and against the sides, and leaving about 1cm overhanging the rim. An easy way of doing this is to drape your pastry over a smaller upturned mould or glass, then put the dariole mould you want to line over the top.Turn both over and remove the smaller mould or glass. With your fingertips, press the pastry well into the base and sides of the mould. Repeat with the rest of the moulds. Now you are ready to fill them.

Divide the meat mixture between them, then tap each mould on the work surface to help the meat settle down. Put an 8 cm circle of pastry over the top of each mould. Starting in the centre and working outwards to the edges, press it gently onto the meat with your fingertips without stretching it. Crimp the edges of the pastry together all around, making sure they are firmly sealed.

Brush the top of each pie with the beaten egg, then use a skewer to make a hole in the top of each one to allow steam to escape in the oven.

Place the moulds on a baking tray and bake for 40 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through (a skewer inserted into the centre of the pies should come out piping hot, or a meat probe should register
87–90ºC). Leave the pies to cool for at least 2 hours.

Meanwhile, make the jelly. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for at least a couple of minutes to
soften them, then squeeze out the excess water. Heat the chicken stock and sherry in a pan, then
add the squeezed gelatine. Stir well until the gelatine has dissolved. Take off the heat and leave
to cool a little, but not too much or the jelly will start to get too thick to pour.

When the pies are cool, take a little funnel, piping nozzle or a syringe (or make a small cone with
some greaseproof paper) and push it into the hole you made in each pie. Carefully pour or syringe in
enough jelly to come to the top. Put in the fridge for 8 hours to set, then turn out and eat!

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