How to make Pork Pies

They’re rich, they’re filling, they’re meaty and they are gloriously fatty. There is no need to be telling porky pies right now, they may do your waistline no good but boy will they delight your soul. For breakfast, lunch, dinner or just while your in your bed trying to finish off a post, these pork pies are splendid. Nigel Slater sure knew what he was talking about when he called these remarkable pies a ‘thing of beauty’.

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A filling of good quality pork is essential for these beauties. They contain a fantastic mixture of pork shoulder, pork belly and smoked streaky bacon. This recipe is an adaption of Richard Bertinet’s version in his great book Pastry.

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Sage is a very common ingredient in pork pies and there’s no exception here, however I did accidentally leave it out of the ingredient shot. There are also anchovies in the filling, which might seem strange if you hadn’t known that anchovy essence is a common ingredient in many supermarket pork pies.

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I also made a traditional jelly for this recipe which involves boiling down a pigs trotter with a couple vegetables for a few hours. This is by no means essential and you could simply just set some good quality chicken stock with gelatine instead.

The pastry used for pork pies and most raised pies in general is a hot water crust. The recipe for this great pastry can be found on my previous post and the recipe can be found here.

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Traditionally, raised pies are not made in baking moulds, however present day pies are nearly always supported.

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These pork pies are made in ramekins, which makes them very easy to make and also gives the finished pies a very nice shape.

To shape the pies, first cut out a circle of pastry about 14 cm in diameter. The width of the circle depends on the size of the ramekins you use. Drape the pastry over a smaller upturned mould or glass and put the ramekin you are using over the top.

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Then just turn both over and remove the smaller mould or glass. A very easy yet effective method. Alternatively just line the moulds with the pastry by gently and carefully pressing them into the base and against the sides of the ramekins.

Press the pastry gently into the ramekins, leaving about 1 cm overhanging the rim.

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Fill the pastry case with the meat filling, which includes all that great pork as well as some chopped sage and anchovies.

After you place the lids on top, its time to get down with a bit of crimping. People get all uneasy when it comes to crimping.  Just remember that the main rule of crimping is that you seal the two bits of pastry together. As long as you achieve this then you will be fine.

Give a bit of egg wash to let the pork pies shine.

Pierce the top with a skewer to allow the steam to escape and, more importantly, to give you a space where the jelly can be poured through after the pies are baked. The meat shrinks as it cooks, leaving a gap between the pastry and the filling. A gap that gets swamped up by the jelly, an essential ingredient in pork pies.

 

Ingredients

For the Hot Water Crust Pastry
see here

For the filling
300 g pork belly, skin removed and minced
300 g pork shoulder, minced
200 g smoked streaky bacon
4 anchovy fillets in oil, drained
2 tablespoons chopped sage

For the jelly
1 pigs trotter
1 carrot
1 onion
6 peppercorns
1 bay leaf

Method

  1. For the jelly, place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Skim off any impurities when the stock is cooked then pass through a sieve into a clean saucepan. Boil the stock until reduced to about half a litre. Take the pan off the heat, leave to cool and then use to fill the pork pies. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  2. Place the minced pork into a large bowl. Cut the bacon into small pieces and finely chop the anchovies. Stir the bacon, anchovies and sage into the minced meat.
  3. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to about 3-4mm thickness. Using a pastry cutter or saucer about 14 cm in diameter, cut out eight circles. Cut out another eight circles of about 10 cm in diameter.
  4. Lightly grease eight dariole moulds and then line each mould with the larger circles of pastry.
  5. Divide the meat filling between them, then tap each mould on a work surface to ensure that the meat reaches every corner.
  6. Put the pastry lids over the top of each mould. Crimp the edges of the pastry together all around.
  7. Brush the top of each pie with beaten egg or some milk and make a hole in the centre using a skewer.
  8. Place the moulds on a baking tray and bake for about 40 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. A skewer or knife inserted into the centre should come out piping hot or else a meat probe should register 87-90 °C. Leave the pies to cool for at east two hours.
  9. When the pies are cool, pour the reduced stock through the hole using a jug. Pour enough jelly to come to the top. Put in the fridge for 8 hours to set.
  10. Serve at room temperature. Delicious!
6 comments

6 comments to How to make Pork Pies

  • Conor Bofin  says:

    It’s not a good idea to be reading this at 7.30 in the morning. Now I want pork pies for breakfast. My Mum and Dad used to make big ones with a boiled egg in the centre. I must get the recipe from Mum and give it a go.
    Great memories.
    Great pies.
    Great post.
    Best,
    Conor

    • evanoc  says:

      Thanks Conor, pork pies with an egg in the centre look really nice alright. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before one of those recipes will be going up.

  • Jacob V,  says:

    Thanks for the recipe. Just one question: at what temperature do you bake these? I have them in the oven now at 400F, about 200C. Hopefully they’ll come out as good tasting as yours look…

    Thanks,

    Jacob V.

    • Evan O' Ceallaigh  says:

      Thanks for pointing it out Jacob, missed that one! I bake them at around 180 °C and if you make a larger one then lower the temperature by around 10 °C or so. Thanks for the comment and hoped your pork pies turned out well,
      All the best,
      Evan

  • Char Porter  says:

    I live in the States, but would like to try this recipe, or something similar. Distinguishing the differences in ingredients from UK to US, what would you suggest? I am thinking possibly some Country sausage with possibly shoulder minced? We have what we call just ground pork too, that might work with some bacon. I think savory pies like this would make a wonderful choice compared to hamburgers….Thank you!

    • Evan O' Ceallaigh  says:

      This is a tricky one for me, honestly I am not sure about American substitutes. However, what you are after is some minced pork with a good ratio of fat to lean mince (1:2 fat:lean should be good). A good quality pork sausage would be good although I would add some bacon for texture. Basically as long as you get some good quality minced pork, throw in some fatty looking minced pork and some chopped bacon it should work out a treat. All the best and I hope it works out well for you,
      Evan.

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