A very British recipe


 

I just looked at the 5 day weather forecast for the Jubilee weekend and it’s not great. In fact, it’s appalling considering we’ve had day after day of glorious sunshine and accompanying high temperatures over the last working week – and now that there’s a whopping four day holiday on the horizon the weather is on the cusp of breaking into a depressingly familiar pattern of thick cloud and drizzle turning to torrential rain on Sunday. Boo hoo.

So, when I was thinking about a lovely Jubilee recipe to put on my blog I originally thought along the lines of something sweet, light and topped with cream and strawberries. Not any more. I’m going for pie. Pork pie. Not many people make their own pork pies, which is a shame because I think they knock the spots off most of the bought ones. Once you’ve mastered hot water crust pastry (and it really is incredibly easy), it’s thoroughly liberating because it will bring a whole range of delicious meat pies into your grasp.

I make my pork pies in a standard muffin tin (around 3″ wide cups and about 1 1/4″ deep) because that way, I think you end up with the perfect ratio of meat to pastry. Also, with this recipe I don’t bother with aspic because the pies are relatively small and the space between the pastry and the meat, after cooking, isn’t really big enough to require filling with stock or jellied equivalent. Just as I add chorizo to things like cottage pie as my secret umami ingredient, I add anchovy paste to pork pies as it really does enhance those delicious savoury flavours, without being individually identifiable (so don’t leave it out just because you don’t like anchovies!)

PORK PIES

Makes 6 muffin-sized pork pies

For this recipe, you’ll need a non-stick, standard muffin tin (either 6 or 12 cup is fine but you’ll only be using 6 of the cups unless, of course, you’re doing double quantities) as well as a 3 1/4″ / 8cm round pastry cutter.

For the filling

  • 4 rashers of unsmoked, back bacon (rind removed)
  • 300g pork shoulder, including fat
  • 2 tsp anchovy puree
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

For the pastry

  • 300g strong plain white flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 130ml water & milk, in equal proportions
  • 100g lard, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas mark 4
  • Roughly chop the pork and the bacon into large pieces then place in a food processor and, ideally using the pulse button, blitz until chopped into small pieces but not minced
  • Transfer to a bowl and add the anchovy puree, ground allspice, sage and seasoning and set aside
  • Sift the flour and salt into a bowl
  • Put the milk, water and lard into a saucepan and place over a gentle heat until the fat has completely melted
  • Turn the heat up and bring just to the boil
  • Pour into the flour and mix everything together with a wooden spoon
  • Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and briefly knead
  • (Unlike other pastries, you have to work with hot water crust pastry while it’s still warm so you need to work fairly progressively at this stage so it doesn’t dry out)
  • Take a third of the pastry and set aside for a moment
  • Divide the other two thirds into 6 pieces and put one piece into each muffin cup
  • Smooth the pastry as evenly as possible around the inside of each muffin cup with your fingers, trying not to tear it (but don’t worry because it’s very manageable and you can easily fill any holes by squishing it over the gaps)
  • The pastry needs to come up about 5mm above the rim of the muffin tin
  • Roll out the remaining third of the pastry and cut out six thin 8cm / 3 1/4 inch rounds for the lids
  • Divide the pork mixture equally between each pastry cup then press down firmly into the base
  • Fold the pastry sticking up around the edge over the filling (it will only cover the very edges of each pie)
  • Brush some beaten egg around the edge of each pie lid and then gently press a lid onto each pie, egg side down
  • Press tightly to seal the edges (using a fork if you like)
  • You can use any excess pastry to decorate the pie tops – how about E II R if you’re having these as part of a Jubilee celebration!
  • Brush the top of each pie with beaten egg
  • Put a small hole in the centre of each pie to allow steam to escape during cooking
  • Put in the oven and cook for 30 minutes
  • Remove from the oven, carefully remove each pie from the muffin tray and transfer them to a baking sheet
  • Return to the oven for another 20 minutes until the sides and base are crispy and golden brown
  • Cool on a wire rack

 

One comment on “A very British recipe

  1. kathmar on said:

    By the way, you can buy anchovy paste / puree in most supermarkets. It normally comes in a tube like a tube of toothpaste and it’s most often found with baking / cook’s ingredients or in the specialist food section.

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