Raised Chicken and Ham Pie in Water Crust Pastry

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Yet another savoury bake, this one heavy on the meat filling.  It is also different in that it uses a water crust pastry.  That is the pastry used for raised pies such as the ever popular pork pie.

This particular recipe is from Food.com courtesy of the delightfully named French Tart.  

It does take a long time to make and is quite complicated.  But following the recipe is easy, and the results are well worth all the work.  

I made mine in a 9 inch springform cake tin and it worked very well.

Chicken and Ham Pie in Water Crust Pastry
Total Time: 26 hrs 30 mins
Prep Time: 24 hrs
Cook Time: 2 hrs 30 mins


1 lb plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 ounces butter
4 ounces lard or 4 ounces white vegetable fat
4 ounces milk, and
4 ounces water, mixed in equal proportions

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, dieced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 lb good quality pork sausage, casings discarded and crumbled into pieces
8 ounces chopped pancetta or 8 ounces chopped ham or 8 ounces bacon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage leaf
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leave
1/2 teaspoon ground mace or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 lemon, rind of, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
butter or lard, for greasing
1 egg, beaten for glaze

1/2 pint vegetables or 1/2 pint chicken stock
11 g sachet gelatin powder


1 Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, making a well in the centre.
2 Place the water, butter and lard into a saucepan, when the butter and lard has melted bring it all to the boil. Take off the heat.
3 Pour the mixture into the centre of the flour. Working very quickly, mix with a wooden spoon. Then knead with hands to produce a smooth and elastic dough. Allow to rest in a warm place for 15 to 20 minutes.
4 (This pastry must be used whilst still warm, otherwise it will become brittle and hard to mould. I keep mine in a small pan over gently simmering water.).
5 Proceed with your recipe, as below.

6 Place all the pie-filling ingredients in to a large mixing bowl, including the herbs, spices and seasonings. Mix thoroughly with your hands – it’s messy, but it’s the best way to get everything well amalgamated!

7 Heat the chicken or vegetable stock. Mix the gelatine with a little cold water until it is spongy and smooth, gradually add the hot stock to the gelatine and mix thoroughly. Set aside until it is needed.

8 Grease an 8″ round loose-bottom pie/cake tin or a special decorative pie mould – grease it liberally with melted butter or lard.
9 Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 3.
10 Take two-thirds of the warm pastry, form into a large, flat disc and put in the bottom of the tin or pie mould. Gently press and mould until the pastry covers the base and sides of the tin, keeping it as even as possible.
11 Fill the pastry pie case with the pie filling mixture – packing it down well.
12 Moisten the top edges of the pastry with the beaten egg. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut a circle or oblong to fit the top of the tin. Place over the filling and seal the edges, without pressing the pastry down too heavily. Trim the edges. Make a hole in the top centre of the pie and use any pastry trimmings to make pastry leaves and decorative trimmings. Press these onto the top of the pie and glaze the whole thing with beaten egg.
13 Now lay a sheet of foil over the top and bake for 2 hours, then remove from the oven. Leave the pie for 30-45 minutes to firm up, then turn up the oven temperature to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5. Carefully remove the pie from the tin and brush the pastry all over with the remaining beaten egg. If the sides show any sign of bulging, encircle the pie with a band of silicone paper (parchment) and tie with string.
14 Return the pie to the oven and as the pastry continues baking it will firm up (if you used the paper, you will gradually be able to peel it away, but add a little more egg to the unglazed parts) and all the pastry will brown – it will take approximately 30 minutes. As the top will brown before the sides, it will need to be protected with foil while the sides finish browning.
15 When the pie is a glowing golden colour, remove from the oven, leave to cool, then cover and chill.
16 Meanwhile have the jellied stock warmed slightly (by sitting it in a bowl of hot water), then cool it to the syrupy stage and pour it into the pie very gradually through a funnel, in to the centre steam hole (as much as it will take). Chill again to give the jelly a chance to set and then – believe it or not – it’s ready to serve!
17 Serve with assorted fresh salads, pickles, mustard, chutney and relishes. Will pie keep for up to 5 days in a cool place or the fridge.
18 This freezes very well, defrost overnight, sitting the pie on a wire rack to avoid the pastry becoming soggy.
19 Wrap the pie for a picnic in greaseproof paper and cut the pie into slices when you arrive at your destination.

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