Pork Pie

My lovely boyfriend Nick puts up with a lot to indulge my interest (passion/obssesion)  with cooking ; the overstuffed freezer, cupboards and even garage ( currently home to sacks of chillis) , questioning about whether something tastes OK before it has even made it into his mouth , and admittedly the odd sulk because a dish has not turned out just so ,even if it tastes fine.

In fact I watched Julie and Julia alone with recognition and growing shame especially the point where she ends up lying in a pile of grease on the floor crying and screaming abuse at her husband.  I replicated this scene recently when a batch of mayonnaise refused to thicken.  I was hysterical and inconsolable , over mayonnaise, I’m 32 for heavens sake.

Nick is the polar opposite calm, patient, practical and easygoing. Only very occasionally mentioning that things might be getting a little out of hand as a packet of unsealed lentils falls on his head and  suggesting he might write a more honest account  “Living with a Girl Interrupted Eating”.

So I detected a little caution in his “Great?!”, when I said I was going to make a Pork Pie for  his birthday instead of cake . Of course he loves Pork Pie but here in the East Midlands we are surrounded by award winning pies so there is lot to live up to in making your own.

I admit I was a little worried too,  I suspected pork pies were difficult to make special pastry and a jelly stock.  In fact although need a long day to make this pie,it is really just a series of short easy  interventions, making the stock , mixing the pastry and filling the pie. All of which are easier I think than poaching a decent egg – hysterical fit number 2 this year.  The time taken is due only to the  jelly stock needing time to cool to check  it has a good set, and the  pie will  needing to cool overnight before eating.

I was so happy taking the golden pie out of the oven yesterday-  it looked just like pies in picture books.  Once sliced by the birthday boy I was pleased with the colour and the texture of the filling chopped belly pork gammon and was perfect, with wavy hot crust pastry , it even has plenty of jelly down the sides – just like a real pie. I cannot wait to make more pies, be warned family it’s pie for Christmas presents

So all Birthday smiles and no sulking. Happy Birthday Nick – Love you.

Pork Pie

For the stock:

1 ham hock
1 onion
1 small carrot
1 small bunch of parsley stalks
1 rib of celery
6 black peppercorns

For the pastry:

200g lard
220g water
575g flour
1 beaten egg


1kg boned pork shoulder
250g pork belly
250g of cooked ham hock ( from making stock below)
2 sprigs of thyme
2 sage leaves
½ tsp ground mace
½ tsp ground white pepper
2 good pinches ground nutmeg


Jelly stock made the day before the pie

  1. Put the ham hock a deep saucepan with the onion, carrot, parsley stalks and the celery rib.
  2. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer , cover the pot and cook for 2 hours.
  3. Remove from the heat, decant the liquid and reduce to 400ml
  4. Set aside 250g of the cooked hock for the pie
  5. Refrigerate the overnight then remove the fat from the top of the stock, transfer to a saucepan and bring to the boil.

Making the stock  most recipes suggest using pigs trotters , my butcher didn’t have any but a ham hock makes a good alternative and set to a firm jelly.

Make the pastry

  1. Put the lard and water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. Sift the flour with a good pinch of salt into a large bowl.
  3. Pour the hot lard and water into the flour, mix with a wooden spoon, then leave until cool enough to handle.  The pastry must be warm when you start to work it.

Making the pastry was easier than normal pastry , I love the smell of the warm lard it smells like Sunday Roast.

Make the filling

  1. Chop the pork, belly pork and gammon into small cubes, about 5mm in size.
  2. Mix the herbs into the chopped meats together with the mace, white pepper, nutmeg

Fill the pie

  1. Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4.
  2. Lightly grease a 30cm round  cake tin (with removable bottom).
  3. Pull off a quarter of the pastry this will form the  lid that will fit the top of the cake tin.
  4. Put the rest of the pastry into the bottom of the tin , push the dough up the sides
  5. Spoon the pork filling into the lined cake tin and press it down.
  6. Lower the lid into place and press tightly to seal with the edges.
  7. Poke a small hole in the lid to let out the steam and put the tin on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 160C/gas mark 3 and bake for 90 minutes until the pastry is pale gold.
  8. Brush with the beaten egg and return to the oven for 30 minutes.

Adding the jelly stock

  1. When the pie is ready, pour the stock into a jug and then pour it carefully through the hole in the top of the pastry
  2. Leave the pie to cool, then refrigerate overnight.

Picalli by you.

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8 Responses to Pork Pie

  1. Kavey says:

    Partners of food bloggers put up with a lot don’t they?
    In my case, the husband is better at cooking than I, so I gleefully page through new cookery books, marking all the recipes that appeal, before thrusting the book at him, insisting he choose one from my shortlist and cook it. Whilst I bob around the kitchen “helping” (read getting in the way) and taking lots of photographs so I can blog it later!

  2. leaannbrown says:

    What beautiful photos of that pork pie. Your freezer and pantry sound like mine. My garage for now remains unscathed from my obsession.

  3. Becky says:

    Thanks guys. Pork Pie very popular. Visitors leaving with wedges of it

  4. rich says:

    Tremendous work. There’s nothing quite like having a massive pork pie sitting in the fridge. I’ve done this a couple of times, and it’s really very easy – it’s one of those recipes where the ‘wow’ factor to work ratio is stacked very firmly in your favour.

    The last time I did this, I used a mixture of game and pork belly for the filling – rabbit, pigeon, venison and the like. It was utterly incredible.

  5. Charlie says:

    This looks incredible, I’m deeply envious that you have the confidence to have a go at making pork pies – I’m not sure I would! I think it would end in a hissy fit when it all went tits up… But you’ve inspired me to consider having a go one day.

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