Saturday, December 6, 2014

You're Tellin' Pork Pies Revisited, AGAIN!!!

My beautiful Christmas Pork Pie
Well, you're probably tired of Pork Pie talk, but I've been busy, working on recipes, converting measurements, and baking.  I have always liked the idea of a pie with meat.  Imagine my disappointment in my first experience with Mince Meat Pie.

I've always loved pot pies, "Steak and Kid-lee" Pies, and of course my famous Jamaican Patties.  I first had English Pork Pie in Grand Cayman.  There was a little bakery that made them.  I didn't understand you're supposed to eat them cold.  The traditional Pork Pie is made in England to exacting standards.  Melton Mowbray Pork Pies are the standard they must meet.  As I understand only a few pie shops and bakeries are allowed to use the Melton Mowbray designation. The Melton Mowbray pork pie is named after Melton Mowbray, a town in Leicestershire.  The Melton Mowbray Pie Association applied for, and won protection under the European "Protected designation of origin" laws, (much like Stilton cheese), so only certain companies are able to produce it.  A lot of commotion over a meat pie.

Pork Pie Hat
"Pork pie" is quite a popular term, in addition to an edible Pork Pie, there is also the hat called a Pork Pie.  Plus the term in Cockney Rhyming Slang that means you're lying.  "You're tellin' pork pies" tranlates to 'You're tellin' lies".  The rhyme for lies... pies.  For a better understanding of Cockney Rhyming Slang, go to the Cockney Rhyming Slang website and learn more.  It's complicated.

Traditional pork pies have a crust made different from any other pie.  It is a combination of pork lard, water, and milk, boiled together and mixed into the flour while still hot.  The dough is turned out and kneaded for about 5 mins.  Then shaped into a "can-like" shell.  Traditionally it is placed in a round, thick disk on the floured, work surface, and then built up (or hand raised) around a wooden, cylindrical, mallet-like utensil called a "dolly."  You can also use a glass jar or smooth can to shape the dough.  Here is a video of the traditional method of making an individual pork pie.  Some pies the pork has been ground and some has been chopped into small dice.  While some use only uncured pork meat, most recipes call for a combination of fresh uncured pork shoulder, pork belly, and smoked bacon.  I substitute the pork belly with smoked ham.  All these are diced small, approx 1/4 inch cubes.  You don't have to measure it, that;s just a reference.

Cross section of my recent pie.  See the jelly?
So, if you're having a hankering to taste one of these pies, or you're a transplanted Brit, I'm gonna give you the recipe for making this wonderful treat.  As I understand it is also a Christmas morning treat in, not only England, but also in some French-Canadian traditions as well.  It can be decorated in a very festive manner, as you can see in the picture of one of mine.  Let's look now on how to create one of these pies, my way.

To start with, I use a 9" Springform pan to make my pies.  If you look there are other types of pans and containers to bake them in.  I like making one pie, big enough for a family or to eat on all week if I want.  Plus I like to decorate the tops of them and make them festive or Christmassy dusing the holidays.  You will see in some of the pictures I have included that there are different sizes.  Some of the pie manufacturers use a pie press to make the shells.  You can use whatever you have available to you, but this recipe is made to fit a 9" Springform pan.


2 1/2 cups of flour (AP)
1 cup lard
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon sea salt

Meat filling
1 1/4 lb pork shoulder
4 oz thick bacon
4 oz smoked ham
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon white pepper

1 egg (beaten)

Jelly Stock
2 cups water
1 pork season packet (1 tbsp pork stock powder)
1 pack Knox gelatin
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp white pepper


Dice the pork into small pieces less than the size of a sugar cube. Dice the ham and the thick sliced bacon the same size. Combine all three meats in a bowl, add your allspice, sage, salt, and white pepper to the meats and stir them thoroughly. Cover and let rest for a bit.

Preheat your oven to 425° Sift flour into a large bowl, and add salt. Mix the salt into to the flour thoroughly. Melt the lard in a sauce pan with the half cup of milk and half cup of water. When lard has melted and mixture is boiling, pour into the flour in the bowl. Use a fork to combine the flour and a lard mixture together into to a soft, pliable dough. Roll together into a ball and turn out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for five minutes. After kneading the dough by hand, cut off one third of it for the top of the pie, (or the lid). Roll out the rest of the dough around a 1/4 of an inch thick, to where it will fit inside of your springform pan, all way up to the top. Press the dough gently into the corners of the pan.  Trim off any excess of the top of the pan.

Pork Pie Dolly for a "hand raised" pie
Next, scoop the meat into the pan and spread it out evenly across the dough. Roll out the remaining dough to make a lid, slightly wider than the pan. Crimp the edges of the lid with the edges of the dough of the inside of the pan to seal the top and sides together. Brush the pie with a beaten egg.  This helps to seal and glaze the outside of the pie, turn it nice and brown.  You want to cut a 1/4 inch, round vent hole in the center of the pie for adding your jelly stock later.

Place your pie in a 425° oven for about 40-45 minutes.  Next, turn the oven down to 350° and cover your pie with foil or a lid to prevent the top burning.  Bake the pie for another 45 minutes.  Remove the lid and let brown more if it needs it.  Check the internal temp with a cooking (or meat) thermometer, you want it to be over 165°.  I might actually be approaching 200°, which is fine.

Injecting the Jelly Stock
Now you need to combine the water, stock cube or powder, gelatin packet, the white pepper, and allspice in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  After the pie has settled for about 15 mins, you need to either use a small funnel, a baster, or a meat injector, and pump as much of the jelly stock, into that hole in the top of the pie, as possible.  Let it settle a bit and then add some more.  When your pie starts to overflow with jelly stock, you are done.  Place the pie in the fridge and try to be patient.

Next morning, your pie will be ready.  The jelly has set and you are ready to unleash the Springform prison keeping that lovely pork pie hostage.  The crust will be glazed and shellacked with egg, making it stiff and crusty.  Oh is it ever good.

BTW, you can use shortening and butter, or just shortening instead of lard.  It will still have the same consistency.  Slice you a piece with a nice sharp knife and enjoy.  If you really want to, you can warm it up, but I like it cold.

You can eat it with some H.P. Sauce, Branston Pickle, a nice mustard, or my favorite... pear or apple butter.  Maybe a good chunk of Stilton Blue cheese.  For the holidays I like a good homemade cranberry sauce.  You might just want it plain.  Either way, it's awesome.  Enjoy!



PS  You can omit using the stock and gelatin for the Jelly Stock and use the traditional pig's feet boiled in water.  You boil a couple of pigs feet for hours, strain off the resulting stock or collagen, and pour or pump that into the pie.  The natural collagen should set up in a gelatinous state like the jelly.

I recognize that this pie is different from the "Official" pork pies in size and forming method, but this is close to a traditional pork pie.  If you're not satisfied, research it online like I did, and have fun!