Raised Pork Pie – Disaster Averted

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For those of a nervous disposition, in culinary terms, you may wish to read no further.  What follows is a tale, not of Derring Do but of a woeful attempt to make a Raised Pork Pie.  Now the term raised, in this instance, is slightly false, since this pie is made in a cake tin.  Raised pies are more usually done entirely by hand, around a ‘dolly’ or a jam jar.  However this particular recipe is for a rather large pie and a cake tin is more appropriate.  

What, you might think, is so disastrous about that?  But our tale has only just begun.  The first sign that all was not well was when, after mixing all the rather expensive ingredients, your narrator discovered that the cake pan available was larger than that prescribed by the recipe.  Now a pan which is 2 or 3 centimetres larger than recommended is a major difference, in terms of the capacity of the pan.  But I still considered that I would be able to make the pastry fit the pan, and the filling would be ok, just not as high in the pan as would otherwise be the case.

So, proceeding, albeit with that pan-size limitation, I lined the pan with pastry and then filled it with the meat mixture. topped it with the pastry lid and into the oven it went.

So far, so good it seems.  Indeed all did seem to be fine, the pie cooked, and all looked well when it finally came out of the oven.  The next step was to allow it to cool and then, after making the jelly mixture, pour it into the pie.

I should explain, for those who are not familiar with pork-pie that it has a water crust pastry and a liquified jelly is poured into the cooked pie, to fill any gaps between pastry and filling.  

Jelly liquid made, I made a couple of extra holes in the pie and, using a funnel, poured the liquid in.  I then left it to cool down again.  As it was 11.30 pm I went to bed, and set my alarm for 1.30 a.m, so that I could then place the pie in the fridge.  

At the appointed time I went to the pie, and rather idiotically, decided to remove the pie from the cake tin.  Well, as I unsprung the pie tin, a crack appeared.  This was as I had not properly greased the sides of the tin, and I had also allowed some juice from the cooking meat escape, which had trickled down the side of the pastry.  This stuck parts of the pastry to the tin.  But this was not the major problem.  That was actually the jelly, which though cooled had not set(that is why it was to go in the fridge). So as the tin was unsprung, the pastry cracked a little, but enough to allow the jelly to make its’ escape, over the counter, down the face of the cupboard below, and into a nice pool on the floor.

Your narrator is nothing, if not resourceful.  With amazingly fast dexterity the cake tin was resprung, avoiding any further escaping jelly.   The pie was place on a plate and refrigerated.  The mess was cleared up and it was back to bed for the narrator.

In the morning the pie, duly cooled was removed from the fridge, and eventually the cake tin.  Though it came out a bit of a mess, as some pastry adhered to the sides of the tin.

So the end result is a pie with not much jelly and some of the pastry missing.  But as least it is intact and entirely edible.  So all is not lost.

This has been my worst effort to date and it is to be hoped it remains so.

The lessons to be learned are, use the right sized tin, grease it properly, dont allow the pastry over the top edge of the tin, refrigerate the pie, to ensure the jelly is set before removing the pie from the tin.  

The recipe I used comes from BBC Good Food. Having cut into it and tasted it I must say that it has a rather strong Thyme flavour, maybe more than I was expecting.  I followed the recipe precisely so I expect that was intended, but it is not what I would call a traditional flavour for pork pie.

As an update, the others who have tried my pie have enjoyed it and said the thyme flavour was not too much, so maybe it was just my palate that thought it rather strong.


Raised Pork Pie – with Jelly having escaped
For the filling
  • 800g pork shoulder, minced or finely chopped
  • 400g pork belly, half minced and half chopped
  • 250g smoked bacon, cubed
  • ½ tsp ground mace
  • 2 large pinches ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped sage
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
For the pastry
  • 575g plain flour
  • 200g lard
  • 220ml water
To finish
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 6 gelatine leaves
  • 300ml chicken stock
  1.       Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients for the filling.
  2.    To make the pastry, put the flour in a large bowl, then put the lard and water into a small pan and heat gently until the lard melts. Bring just to the boil and then stir into the flour using a wooden spoon. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, (it should still feel very warm) knead well until smooth.
  3.       Cut off 1/4 of the dough, wrap in cling film and reserve for the lid. Roll out the remaining dough to a circle and then place in the base of a non-stick 20cm springform cake tin. Working quickly while the dough is warm and pliable, press the dough evenly over the base and up the sides of the tin. Make sure there are no holes. Fill with the meat mixture and pack down well. Roll out the dough for the lid. Place on top of the pie. Pinch all around the edge to seal the pie. Make a hole for steam in the centre, using the handle of a wooden spoon.
  4.       Cook in the oven for 30 mins then reduce the heat to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and cook for 90 minutes. Brush the top with beaten egg and return to the oven for a further 20 mins. Leave until cold.
  5.       Soak the gelatine in cold water for about 5 mins, then remove and squeeze out the excess water. Heat the stock until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine. Leave to cool to room temperature.
  6.     Use a small funnel to pour the stock into the pie through the hole in the top. Pour in a little at a time allowing a few seconds before each addition. Place in the fridge to set overnight.

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