Beca Lyne-Pirkis shares her recipe for the much-loved cold meat pie combo
My dad loves pork pies, especially the snack size ones. There always seems to be a packet of them in the fridge, which he will happily snack on every so often with some mustard. Here are my homemade pork pies, which are a firm favourite with family and friends—especially my dad, husband and daughters! Serve simply with some homemade piccalilli as part of a ploughman’s lunch, or as a mid-afternoon treat.
For the piccalilli:
150g each of cauliflower, shallots, runner beans, courgette and carrot, washed and cut into 2cm pieces
2 tbsp cornflour
500ml white wine vinegar
3 tsp turmeric
2 tsp English mustard powder
1 tbsp yellow/brown mustard seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 garlic clove, crushed
175g caster sugar
For the pork pie pastry:
3 tbsp milk
115g plain flour
115g strong bread flour
1 egg, to glaze
For the filling:
50g belly pork, diced
3 rashers smoked bacon
115g pork mince
1 tbsp each of fresh sage and rosemary, finely chopped
4 gelatine leaves
75ml chicken stock
6-hole muffin tin
To make the piccalilli, place the chopped vegetables into a large bowl. Sprinkle over 55g salt and cover with water. Leave for 2-3 hours. After this time, drain the vegetables and discard the water. In a medium saucepan, place the cornflour, vinegar, turmeric, mustard powder and seeds, ground cumin, ground ginger, garlic, ½ tsp ground white pepper and sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce to a simmer and leave to bubble and thicken for 4-5 mins.
Remove the liquid from the heat and carefully add in the vegetables. Stir to coat in the bright yellow liquor. Once you’re happy that the vegetables are well coated, spoon into clean and sterile jars—I use either a big 2 litre jar or two 1 litre jars. Seal and leave to cool before storing in a cupboard. Once opened, keep in the fridge. You can eat the piccalilli once it has cooled, although the flavour will develop and improve if you can be patient and leave it for 1-2 weeks.
To make the pastry, in a saucepan heat 150ml water with the milk and lard on a low heat until all the ingredients have melted. Do not let the liquid boil. Meanwhile, sift the flours into a large bowl and add 1 tsp salt. Pour the liquid into the bowl and using a wooden spoon, mix until the dough comes together. Tip the dough out onto the work surface and knead it a little, then leave to rest in a bowl covered with a tea towel. The dough needs to be warm to work with it.
To make the pie filling, chop the belly pork and bacon into small pieces (I use a pair of scissors to cut them). Put into a bowl along with the pork mince, a little salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper and the herbs and mix it all together. Cover with clingfilm and pop it in the fridge until needed.
Preheat your oven to 180C. Divide the dough into 6 balls and keep them covered while you work. Take 1 ball at a time and tear off a quarter of the dough for the pie lid. Keep this covered too until needed. Flatten the dough slightly and then roll it out until you have a disc that is big enough to fill the hole of a muffin tray and come up the sides. Press the dough snuggly into the corners, ensuring no air is trapped underneath. Repeat with the remaining 5 balls.
Next, divide the pork filling into 6 balls and place into the pie cases. Beat the egg with a pinch of salt, ready to use as glue and a glaze for the tops of the pies. Using a round cutter that is roughly the same size as the top of your pie cases, cut out 6 lids from the leftover dough. Cut a small hole in the lids using a small cutter or a sharp knife. Stick the lids to the pies using a little egg wash. Seal the lids by crimping the edges using your fingers. Glaze your pies with the egg wash and then bake in the oven for 50-55 mins, until they are golden brown on top.
While the pies are baking, prepare the jelly by soaking the gelatine leaves in cold water and making up the stock according to the packet instructions. Pour 75ml of the prepared stock into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. As soon as it boils, take the stock off the heat and add the softened gelatine leaves, stirring the liquid until the leaves have dissolved.
Once the pies are baked, leave to cool for 5 mins. Remove the pies from the tin and place them on a cooling rack. Gradually add the jelly to the pies using a teaspoon. Leave the pies to cool completely, putting them in the fridge to help set the jelly.
Recipe: Beca Lyne-Pirkis