So I studied for a year to be a pastry chef, I was certain that I wanted to go down the route being some kind of chef when I left school. However I fell pregnant at 19 and so my dreams got put on hold, I am now a full time stay at home carer so have no time to go back to doing courses or full time work so my career is on hold. I will one day pick it all back up, by then I hope it won’t be too late in my life to pursue my dreams.
Now then on to pork pies, these are Shane’s weakness, he is often found picking up some of the mini pork pies in Sainsbury’s on his way home from work and they are gone in a mouthful, so I love making him these as they are much bigger (roughly muffin sized).
The beauty of these is you can change the filling in them too, chicken and bacon, lamb and mint, beef and onion, etc etc.
Now a quick note on the pastry, pork pies are made with a hot water crust pastry which is lard and flour, there is no other ingredient you can use in replace of the lard to make hot water crust pastry so substituting it for something else will not work. You also need to work quickly with this pastry as it will begin to harden as it cools down, you also don’t want to over work it otherwise it just becomes rubbery once cooked. You want to work it quickly so make sure everything else is ready before moving onto the pastry.
Some recommended items from our kitchen to make this dish…
- Double sided dry and liquid measuring spoons for times when you need to measure both liquid and dry ingredients.
- Mixing bowls are always wanted in this household and these stackable ones save so much space in our cupboards.
- Cake cooling racks, so handy to have.
- 12 hole Muffin tray
- A food processor.
- Rolling pin, we use a stainless steel one as I make a lot of pastry and it can be put in the fridge to prevent pastry from getting so warm from warm hands and being handled so much. Best purchase I ever made for pastry.
- Pastry brush.
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For the hot water pastry:-
- 400g plain flour
- 150g lard, cubed
- ½ teaspoon cooking salt
- 1 small egg, for glazing
For the filling:-
- 400g pork, fat removed and roughly chopped
- 2 rashers smoked bacon, fat removed and roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried sage
- ½ teaspoon dried onion granules
- ½ teaspoon dried garlic granules
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground all spice
For the jelly (Optional):-
- ½ sachet gelatine powder
- Chicken or ham stock cube
- Plum chutney
- Apple sauce
- Preheat the oven to 200°C fan.
- Put the pork, bacon, herbs and season with salt and pepper into a food processor and whizz in short bursts until the meat is chopped up but not mushy, set aside for now.
- Get everything else ready and close by including your beaten egg for glazing and a pastry brush, rolling pin, a 12 hole metal muffin tin (don’t use silicone for these, it needs the heat from the metal) and some cling film as you need to work quickly on the next few steps.
- Make the pastry by boiling the kettle, measure out 150ml boiling water in a jug and add the lard to the water and stir until completely melted.
- Add the flour and salt to a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Pour the hot lard into the centre of the flour and carefully bring the flour into the lard with a wooden spoon and bind it together to make a dough, you may need to get in there with your hands but careful as the dough may be hot, don’t work it too much.
- Cut a quarter of the dough off and wrap in some cling film and set aside, make sure its covered as it needs to keep warm or it begins to harden.
- Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the rest of the dough to around 3mm thick.
- Cut the pastry into circles big enough to fill the muffin trays.
- Spoon the pork filling into each hole so its nicely filled and press down on the filling.
- Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg.
- Quickly roll out the set aside pastry to 3mm thick and cut into circles to top each pie.
- If you are adding any fillings like cheese, pickles, chutneys etc then do this now, you only need a small amount on each otherwise it leaks out so don’t over fill them (if filling with jelly you do this step later).
- Place the tops of pastry onto each pie and press down on the edges to seal them.
- Poke a hole into the tops of each pie so steam can escape and prevent the pies from splitting.
- Brush the beaten egg over the tops of the pies and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Turn the oven down to 160°C fan and bake for a further 30 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning them out onto wire racks to cool completely or simply enjoy one fresh from the oven.
- If you are wanting the traditional pies with the jelly filling when the pies are completely cooled make the jelly by making the stock by mixing the stock cube with half a pint of boiling water, sprinkle over the gelatine powder, stir to dissolve and then leave to cool until it starts to thicken but remaining pourable.
- You may need to reopen the holes on your pies for this bit, just simply poke them back open with a skewer.
- You will need a small funnel or pipette to pour the jelly into each pie, you only need about 2 – 3 tablespoons in each pie so add just a little mixture at a time so it doesn’t block the hole up, you may not need it all.
- Place the pies in the fridge to set overnight before eating.
- These pies will last in an airtight container for up to 3 days, you can also freeze them individually by wrapping in baking paper then tin foil for up to 3 months. Make sure you defrost fully before consuming. If you wish to reheat them place in a hot oven for 5 – 10 minutes to heat through. We do not recommend microwaving them.