Pork Pies

Merrilees Parker's mouth-watering pork pies are filled with tasty pork and bacon encased in a flavoursome jellied stock and enclosed in a crisp pastry crust
By Merrilees Parker
Pork Pies
  • Rating:
  • Serves: makes 3 x 7.5cm pies
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus chilling and overnight cooling
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 450 g plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 200 ml water
  • 80 g butter
  • 80 g lard

For the jellied stock

  • bones from the pork, plus ½ pigs trotter
  • ½ large carrots
  • ½ onions
  • 1 bouquet garni, (celery, bay leaf, thyme and parsley)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 750 ml water

For the filling

  • 450 g boned pork shoulder, chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 125 g rashers bacon
  • 1 tbsp chopped sage
  • pinches grated nutmeg
  • pinches ground cinnamon
  • pinches ground allspice
  • ½ tsp anchovy essence
  • oil, for greasing
  • beaten eggs, to glaze

Method

1. Make the jellied stock first: put all the ingredients in a large pan and cover with the water.
2. Bring to the boil, then put on the lid and cook gently for 2 hours.

3. Strain the stock through a sieve, return to the pan and boil rapidly until the liquid has reduced to about 300ml.

4. Season with a little salt and leave to cool. This will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

5. To make the filling: place half the pork and bacon into a food processor and process, using the pulse button, until coarsely chopped.

6. Transfer to a bowl with the rest of the chopped pork and bacon and mix together with the sage, spices and anchovy essence.

7. To make the pastry: mix the flour, salt and icing sugar in a large bowl.

8. Make a hollow in the middle and pour in the beaten egg. Toss a liberal covering of flour over the egg.

9. Put the water, butter and lard into a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Once the liquid is boiling, pour it on to the flour, mixing with a knife as you go.

10. Knead until all the egg streaks have gone and the pastry is smooth. Use immediately to make your pie as when the dough cools it will harden and be unmanageable.

11. Lightly grease the outer sides and bases of 3 jam jars with oil.

12. Cut off one-third of the dough and set aside for the lids. Place the third in the fridge and the use the remainder to form 3 equal balls.

13. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the balls to an even thickness of about 5mm, making dough rounds large enough to fit the bases of the upturned jam jars and to come about 6cm down the sides of the jars.

14. Press each round on to the bottom of the jar and up against the sides.

15. Wrap a strip of 2½cm wide greaseproof paper around each dough case and secure with string.

16. Place the finished pie shells in the fridge to firm up for about 1 hour.

17. Preheat the oven to 200C/ gas 6.

18. Gently slide the dough cases off the jars and place them on a baking sheet. If needed, use a blunt knife to gently loosen the cases from the jars.

19. Pack the filling into the dough cases, mounding it up slightly to support the lid.

20. Moisten the edges of the dough cases with the beaten egg, lay the lids on top and pinch and crimp the edges of the cases and the lids to seal.

21. Trim away any excess pastry, brush with the beaten egg and make a hole in the centre.

22. Place the pies on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 160C/gas 3 and cook for a further 50 minutes.

23. Allow the pies to cool slightly then heat the jellied stock in a pan.

24. Slowly pour the hot stock into the warm pies using a funnel. The stock needs to be hot so that it sinks into the filling. Don't hurry this process or you will flood the outer crust of the pie.

25. Leave the pies overnight to become completely cold before serving.

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