My niece, Hannah, requested a Gala Pie. I haven’t eaten Gala pie for so many years, but recall that I really enjoyed it at a picnic. This pie is made using hot water crust pastry, which is the same pastry used for pork pies. The pastry is very sturdy, and forms a hard crust which is able to support being raised by hand and filled with whatever is desired. Gala pie is usually made in a loaf tin and the filling is made with a variety of pork, depending on taste really. That pork filling has a row of hard boiled eggs running through the middle so that when the pie is sliced each slice as the pastry around the outside, with the pork filling inside, wrapped around the egg. Often after baking and cooling some savoury jelly is poured into holes in the top of the pie, to fill in gaps around the meat.
For my pie I used minced pork, sausage meat(Lincolnshire sausages), streaky bacon and chopped ham. Those are all mixed with some finely chopped banana shallots and a little mace, sage, parsley, white pepper and salt.
The pie is not difficult to make, though it does take quite a long time. But the effort is rewarded by a very tasty pie, which is served cold and is ideal for picnics, or on a warm summer’s day for lunch with salad, pickles etc. After baking the pie needs to be cooled completely before being removed from the loaf tin. As for putting hot jelly into the pie, this can be done either while the pie is hot or after it has cooled down. In any event the pie needs to be cooled and refrigerated to allow the jelly to set. Not everyone uses jelly though, so that can be considered optional. For the eggs, they can be used whole, which uses fewer eggs, or the ends can be cut off until each end shows the yolk in the centre, which would mean using more eggs.
My pie turned out very well indeed, and it tasted fantastic. The pastry was just as it should be and the filling was so full of flavour.
For the filling:
- 300g(10 1/2 oz) minced pork
- 300g(10 1/2 oz) sausage meat(I used Lincolnshire sausage meat as it already has sage in)
- 150g(5 1/4 oz) ham cut into small cubes
- 100g(3 1/2 oz) streaky bacon
- 2 banana shallots(Echalion Shallots) finely chopped, or grated
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp mace(or nutmeg)
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp white pepper, or to taste
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 4 to 8 eggs, hard boiled, with the ends cut off to reveal yolk if you wish(which is why you may need up to 8 eggs, leaving them whole will be fine, but yolk will not be seen in each slice of pie)
For the pastry:
- 450g (3 cups) plain flour
- 100g(2/3 cup) bread flour
- 75g (5 1/2 tbsp) butter cubed
- 100g(7 tbsp) lard cubed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg, beaten with a little milk, for egg washing the top
For the jelly
- 1 packet gelatine(or 3 gelatine leaves
- 300 ml chicken, vegetable or beef broth
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F
- Grease a 2lb loaf tin, the base needs to be about 10cmx20cm(4in x 8in).
- Line the tin with a wide strip of parchment paper to come over the sides of the tin(this is to aid removal of the pie after it has cooled.
- Place all the meats into a large bowl.
- Sprinkle the mace, sage, pepper and salt over the top.
- Add the shallots on the top and then use your hands to squeeze the mixture together.
- Continue, using your hands, to squeeze and turn the mixture until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
- Take a small piece of the mixture and form into a nugget, then fry it in a little oil until cooked, so that you can taste it and check the seasoning.
- Adjust the seasoning if required.
- Set the mixture to one side.
- Place 200ml(3/4 cup plus 4 tsp) of water into a saucepan and add the lard and butter.
- Heat that up until piping hot and all the butter and lard has melted.
- Mix the flours and salt together in a large bowl.
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the hot liquid.
- Use a knife or the handle of a wooden spoon to mix everything together to start to form a dough.
- When the mixture as started to form a dough, and the temperature has reduced sufficiently that you can work it with your hand, tip it out onto the work surface and knead it to form a soft, warm, smooth dough.
- Once all the mixture is fully incorporated into a dough wrap about 1/3 into some plastic wrap and set aside.
- Roll the remaining dough into a rectangle large enough to line the base and sides of the loaf tin. Or you can just put the dough into the tin and use your fingers to spread it out to cover the base and sides completely.
- Take half the meat mixture and cover the base of the loaf tin.
- Use your fingers to created a dent all down the length of the meat, this is to take the egg.
- Place the eggs into the dent, end to end and touching.
- Use the remaining meat mixture to cover the eggs completely, and to fill the loaf tin.
- Roll the remaining dough out to a rectangle large enough to slightly overlap the top of the tin.
- Cut three ‘steam’ holes in the dough.
- Place the dough onto the top of the meat and press it down to seal against the dough that lines the tin.
- Cut off any excess dough around the edges of the tin.
- Use fingers to create a dimpled pattern around the edge, sealing the top and bottom doughs together.
- Roll the off cuts and make little leaves, or such-like, to top the pie, if desired.
- Brush the top of the pie with egg wash and then place the decorations on the top.
- Brush the decorations too.
- Place the loaf tin into the oven to bake the pie.
- After 30 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 180C/160C fan/350 F and cook for a further 1 hour, or until a thermometer pushed into the pie shows that the meat is fully cooked.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the tin.
- If using jelly mix 300ml of hot stock with the gelatine, according to packet instructions.
- Slowly pour the liquid into the holes on the top of the pie, this will take some time, as it must be done very slowly allowing the liquid to seep in before adding more.
- Allow the jelly to set completely before slicing. This is likely to take a number of hours, so maybe best left overnight.
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