Real pork pie.

I love a good pork pie, summer or winter, just a pork pie some cheese and a pickle or two and you have what I could consider one of my best meals ever. You have to get the pastry just right and the jelly as well but to me this is what I would consider a perfect British dish. For the hot water pastry on this recipe, I have used a half water half milk mix as it gives a better pastry.

For the special hot water pastry
150g/7oz lard
50ml/2fl oz milk
50ml/2fl oz water
450g/1lb plain flour
A pinch salt and ground white pepper
1 egg yolk beaten with water for glazing

For the pork jelly
900g/2lb pork bones
2 pig's trotters, if you can get them.
2 large carrots
1 onion, peeled
2 sticks celery
2 bay leaves
Some thyme
Some parsley
Some Sage
½ tbsp black peppercorns

For the filling
400g/14oz fine diced pork,
55g/2oz pork belly, minced
55g/2oz, finely diced bacon
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

First, make your filling, get every thing in to a big bowl and work it all together so that every thing is well mixed. Now with your meat you do not want it to fatty and no skin or bone, you do not want the best cuts but you do not want the very cheapest either. If you go to your local butcher, I am sure he will sort you out with exactly what you want along with the bones and pig trotters for the jelly. Now hold your filling in the fridge and make your pastry.

For the pastry, it is the same as making any normal hot water pastry but it is half water half milk. Sift the flour in to a bowl along with the salt and pepper. Then make a well in the middle. Now heat the milk, lard and water on the stovetop until the lard has melted. Now pour the liquid in to the middle and work every thing together. Knead the dough for a few minutes and then set to one side to rest.

Now to make your jelly, just take all the ingredients, put them in a big pan, and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 3 hours letting the liquid reduce. Skim the scum and fat from the top, when you have reduced it down to well below one quarter then pass the stock threw a fine sieve. Then put this in a pan and cook down until you have about a pint or 500ml. This should leave you with a clear favour full stock.

Now to from your pork pies if you are luck like me I have a mould, but you can use a jar to make the shape of the pie. Take ¾ of your pastry and just roll the pastry out, place the mould in the middle and pull the pastry up to from the form it in to the shape of your pie base. Then carefully remove the mould. Roll out a ball of filling and place that in the centre of the bottom of your formed base. Now with your egg yolk glaze brush round the top of the pie. Roll out the remaining pastry, roll, and cut a top for the pie. Make sure that you have a good seal. Now make a hole in the very top for the jelly to go through and glaze the top of the pie well.

Place your pies in a preheated the oven set at 180c/350f and bake for about 45 minutes until the pie is golden brown. Now let the pie cool. Once it has cooled down take some of your jelly, if the jelly is too hard to pour just heat lightly so it becomes liquid, and pour in to the hole in the top of the pie. This might take a little time as the jelly works down in to the meat so top up a few times. Then just chill in the fridge till the jelly sets.

And that is it , it is a little fussy and will take a little time but a home made pork pie is not only tasty but if you make a big one looks very impressive.

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