Do you like pork pie? If the answer is no, then you have never sampled a home made pork pie. In the world of baking, a pork pie is something that an amateur baker can make easily, with a little help from some decent ingredients and a pie tin.
Select a pie tin with loose base, which helps you to push the pie out of the tin when cooked. Hot water crust pastry is robust, but even so, it is worth having all the help you can get to release your delicious pie after baking.
Once you have your pie tin, you will need to decide whether you use lard or butter to make your shortcrust pastry. If you’re not sure, start with half and half, butter and lard.
For the filling, you will need some pork (a mixture of shoulder / loin and belly), and some back bacon rashers.
Before are you start, grease your 5″ diameter pie tin well with butter or lard to prevent the pastry sticking.
For the Jelly you will need:
- Two sheets of leaf gelatine
- Half a stock cube
- 1/2 pint of boiling water
For the filling you will need:
- 1 hard boiled egg, peeled
- 1/2 small onion finely chopped
- 250g pork, finely chopped
- 4 rashers of smoked bacon, cubed
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Few springs thyme finely chopped
- Few leaves sage finely chopped
Chop the pork and bacon to a coarse pâté texture, and mix the rest of the ingredients (except the egg) in a bowl and leave to marinade while you make the pastry.
For the hot water crust pastry you will need:
- 3fl oz / 100ml of milk
- 4oz / 125g fat (butter, lard or half and half)
- 8oz / 250g plain flour
- Pinch salt
- Beaten egg to brush
Hot water crust is a very robust pastry. If while assembling your pastry, you need to start again or add a bit of pastry here and there to reinforce your structure, go for it.
- Set the oven to 180C/160C fan
- Heat the milk and half the fat in a saucepan until the fat has melted, set it aside to cool slightly.
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and rub the fat into the flour until it has the consistency of breadcrumbs.
- Once the milk/fat has cooled a little, add it to the flour and mix well with a spoon, you shouldn’t need to add any more liquid, but add some water if the mixture is dry. It should come off the sides of the bowl. Mix until well combined.
- Once the pastry is cool enough to handle, ensure it is properly mixed and divide into two balls, a large and a small (for the case and the lid), and roll each out into a circle.
- Line the greased tin with pastry
- Add the pork mixture half way up, pressing in into the corners. Leave room for the egg and fill in around the egg with additional pork mixture.
- Roll out the smaller ball and cut a 5 pence / dime shaped hole in the centre. Place lid on top of the pie and crimp down the edges to seal.
- Trim the edges, brush with beaten egg and pop in the oven
- After 1hr, drop the oven temperature to 160C / 140C fan and cover with baking parchment to prevent it burning, and cook for one further hour.
Once the pie is cooked remove it and allow it to cool fully.
as it is cooling, you can make the jelly. Take the leaf gelatine and soak in cold water for 5 minutes. Boil 250ml of water in a saucepan and add the half stock cube (you can buy ham stock cubes, or chicken works equally well). Wring out the excess water from the leaf gelatine and add it to the stock.
Once the stock is cool, using a funnel, a syringe or a small pouring jug, pour the cooled liquid stock into the hole in the top of the pie until no further liquid can be added. Place the pie into the fridge overnight for the jelly to set. If you add the jelly before the pie is cool it will be absorbed into the pastry case.
Serve your delicious pie with Colman’s English mustard, a hunk of sourdough, some mature cheddar cheese, a nice chutney, and a green salad for a delicious Ploughman’s.