Pork pie

Makes 6-8
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Homemade pork pies are nothing like the ones you buy. The pastry is easy to make and if you haven't got a mincer at home on your mixing machine, you can just chop the meat up very finely by hand. A helpful butcher might mince the filling for you.

Homemade pork pies are nothing like the ones you buy. The pastry is easy to make and if you haven't got a mincer at home on your mixing machine, you can just chop the meat up very finely by hand. A helpful butcher might mince the filling for you.

Your pie doesn't have to be pork. Try rabbit, game or chicken, but include some fatty pork belly or veal to keep the meat moist. The famous Melton Mowbray pork pie is made with uncured pork, not cured, and is less pink than imitators. The seasonings and spices are secret, but I use anchovy essence - it's worth keeping a bottle in the fridge.

You can use various types of moulds for this, including individual open-bottomed soufflé rings, or raise them by hand. All you do is take a large disc of pastry and shape it round the filling into a bulgy-sided pie. Join to a smaller circle of pastry at the top by pinching round the edge.

I prefer to eat these pies warm rather than cold as it brings out the flavour and the pastry tends to be crisper.

for the filling

1kg boned shoulder of pork, 20 per cent fat
250g unsmoked, streaky bacon
1tsp chopped sage
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2tsp ground allspice
1tsp anchovy essence
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the hot-water crust

200ml water
175g lard
500g plain flour
1/2tsp salt
1 egg, beaten

Chop some of the best bits of pork into rough 1cm dice. Mince or finely chop the rest with the bacon. Add the seasonings and mix in the diced meat. Take a small teaspoon-sized piece of the mixture and fry it to check the seasoning, adjust if needed and pre-heat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Bring the water and lard to the boil, then stir it into the flour with a wooden spoon to form a smooth dough. Leave the dough covered for about 15 minutes or so until it can be handled.

Roll a ball of the dough on a lightly floured table to about 12cm-14 cm in diameter. Make another circle about half the size for the top. Put some of the filling in the centre of the larger circle, lay the smaller circle on top and raise the sides of the larger one up, then pinch the lid and the top of the sides together with your fingers. If it looks a bit of a mess, you can reshape it as the pastry is quite pliable.

Brush the pies all over with the beaten egg and cook them for 35-40 minutes. If they are colouring too much, cover them with foil and turn the oven down. Serve them warm or cold, preferably with homemade piccalilli.

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