Pork Pie Picnic
Pork Pie Picnic

Many of us enjoy a nice pork pie and they are surprising easy to make, even the hot water crust pastry is literally child’s play. Ideal for picnics if you have a cool-box or are just popping out to a local beauty-spot.

Pork pie meat should be particulate: in distinguishable pieces rather than paste-like. Chop the pork finely by hand or use a food processor: take care not to over-process.

For some of us, the cool savoury jelly is an integral part of the pork pie experience although you can leave it out if you prefer. Jelly keeps the meat moist and fills the gap between pastry and pork: which inevitably shrinks during cooking.

The best pork pie jelly is made from boiled pigs’ trotters but it’s not for the faint hearted, packet gelatine works well and is easier when you just want to make a few pork pies without too much of a song and dance.

Makes 4

Filling

  • 350g cubed lean pork shoulder (remove larger pieces of fat before weighing)
  • 40g bacon lardons
  • ½ -1teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon each ground mace & dried sage

Pastry

  • 350g plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ - teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 100g lard/vegetable shortening, diced
  • 140ml water
  • 1 small egg beaten with a teaspoon of water

Plus:

  • Sufficient powdered or leaf gelatine to make 300ml savoury jelly
  • 300ml chicken or vegetable stock

You will need 4 x greased 7cm ramekins and a baking tray, plus a small funnel for the jelly

Pre-heat oven to 180°C (fan oven) gas mark 4 or equivalent

Process filling ingredients together briefly. Refrigerate.

Melt fat and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.

Sieve dry ingredients into a roomy bowl. Make a central well and stir in hot fat and water until combined. Transfer to a lightly floured board. Work into a pliable dough.

Divide into 4 equal pieces. Set aside ¼ of each piece for lids. Shape main pieces into balls and roll into circles approximately ½ cm thick.

Line the ramekins, manoeuvring pastry gently into place. Use offcuts to repair any inadvertent tears. Trim away excess pastry leaving sufficient to crimp together with the lid. Add trimmings to reserved lid pastry.

Roll out lids.

Divide filling into 4 and press into each pie: fill to the brim.

Brush pastry edges with egg-wash. Position lids. Crimp together making a decorative edge. (Avoid overhang or pies will be difficult to un-mould.) Make ½ cm central holes in each lid. Brush lids with egg-wash.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, cool briefly. Remove from ramekins. Position on baking tray, brush sides with egg wash, cover tops with greaseproof paper. Return to oven for 20 minutes more or until the sides are golden brown. Cool.

Make up gelatine according to maker’s instructions with the stock. Pour gradually through a small funnel into the lid holes of the cooled pies. Refrigerate overnight.