With the stock, the filling and the pastry, making your own pork pie can seem like a daunting prospect. But get stuck in – the finished product is a thing of beauty and well worth the time to assemble.
When life feels rather busy, the hustle and bustle of preparing for the Christmas onslaught, there is something quite wonderful in taking time out to craft something with real care.
Warm pastry shaped, like a potter on a wheel, the scent of pork and spices in the air. Making a proper pork pie has become a Christmas ritual in our household, and so it is with pleasure I share this nostalgic recipe for a proper festive pork pie.
For the filling
- 250g Saddleback Pork Mince
- 250g Saddleback Diced Pork, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 large pinch mace
- 12 good grates of fresh nutmeg
- 2 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- 1 ½ tsp sea salt
- 30-50ml water to mix
- 1 egg beaten to glaze
For the hot water pastry
For the jelly and topping
- 350ml Pure Chicken stock, hot
- 3 sheets gelatine soaked in cold water
- 50g granulated sugar
- 100ml dry sherry
- 200g fresh or frozen cranberries
Mix the gelatine sheets into the warm chicken stock and taste for seasoning, adjust with salt and pepper as necessary. Mix the filling ingredients together and leave for a few hours for the flavour to develop or overnight preferably.
To make the pastry: Mix the flours and salt together in a bowl. Heat the water lard in a small saucepan until the lard has melted, bring the water to a simmer then pour the water into the flour.
Mix the flour and water together with a wooden spoon being careful as the mixture is very hot.
When the pastry is combined turn the dough out onto the surface and knead well for a couple of minutes.
Place the pastry back into the bowl, ready to use.
To make the pork pies: Mix together all the ingredients, then divide the filling mix into 4 and then divide the pastry into 4.
Line a tray with greaseproof paper and rub a little lard over the paper.
Remove ¼ of the pastry from 1 piece of dough and set aside. Flatten the rest of the pastry in your hand to form a rough disc.
Place 1 lot of the filling mix on the pastry and fold the edges of pastry around the filling. Place the pie onto the tray and then brush with a little of the egg around the edges.
Flatten the ¼ piece of pastry you removed earlier to the same size as the top of the pie and place on top. Crimp the edges together, making a flat top ready for your cranberries, and then brush the top of the pie with egg. Make a hole in the centre to release steam.
Repeat with the 3 remaining pieces of dough and pastry.
Place the pies in a preheated oven at 200c for 20 minutes and then turn the oven down to 180c for another 20 minutes or so.
The pies are cooked when the pastry is golden and the centre of the pie, (when temperature probed) reaches 75c.
Remove the pies and allow to cool on a rack.
To fill and decorate the pies: Use a small funnel to carefully pour the liquid jelly into the pie, saving a little bit for the top of the pie.
Dissolve the sugar with the sherry over a low heat. Once dissolved, bring to the boil and add the cranberries. Cook for 1-2 mins, but remove from the heat before the cranberries burst. Then leave to cool.
Once the stock in the pie has set to a jelly, top with the cranberries. Melt your remaining jellied stock in a saucepan over a low heat, then use it to brush the cranberries generously.
Return to the fridge for 1 hour to set the topping.
Serve the pies with pickles and cheese for a tasty festive feast.