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Pork and Pickle Pies

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Happy Pi Day!

In high school the math club would give out free slices of apple pie to anyone who could recite pi to the 5th decimal place on pi day, March 14th, 3/14. Towards the end when they were running low on slices they’d give it to those who knew more of the number.

Apple pie is nice, but I prefer savory pies instead of a gooey slice of some kind of jam that is suppose to be fruit flavored. Most fruit pies lack flavor and contain a butt ton of sugar, no thanks. There are a wide variety of meat pies, most cultures have their own version but I am partial to the classic British pork pie. The traditional pastry used for this type of pie is a hot water crust, you work with the dough while it is still hot, once it cools it firms ups and you won’t get a good seal on your pies.

The other unique ingredient that these pies have is Branston Pickle, a pickled chutney with root vegetables and spices. It adds so much flavor to these pies that it would be sad to leave it out, you might be able to find it in the British section of your grocery store or some where like World Market/Cost Plus. If you can’t find it you could try making it yourself, it’s not the same but it does the trick, you could also replace the pickle with caramelized onions, apples and a splash of vinegar.

These little pork pies have a sturdy yet flakey crust that is filled with a rich smoky meat filling with a musky pickle bite. In the UK they don’t smoke their bacon so you could try and find unsmoked bacon or replace it with more pork and you’ll get a more traditional flavored pie. I recommend serving these pies with mustard or a dollop of HP sauce.


Pork and Pickle Pies


Pork Filling

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/4 lb diced pork chop or shoulder
  • 1/4 lb bacon, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Hot water crust pastry

  • 4 c flour
  • 1 c water
  • 3/4 c lard

To Assemble

  • 3/4 c Branston Pickle

To Finish

  • 1 egg, whisked


Pork Filling

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together for the filling, use your hands to mix everything really well. Check to make sure the spice and salt level is where you want it by cooking a small amount of the filling in a pan, taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste buds. Refrigerate until you are ready to fill the pie.

Hot water crust pastry

  1. Put the flour in a medium bowl. In a pot bring the water and lard to a simmer, once all the lard has melted pour it over the flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Knead the dough until it comes together smooth and uniform, it will still be hot at this point.

To Assemble

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Portion off a ¼ of the dough, warp it in cling film and set aside, this will be to make the lids.
    Portion the remaining dough into 12 pieces, flatten each piece into a disk slightly larger than the base of the muffin cup. Press them into muffin tins with your finger tips, pinch the dough up taller than the sides of the cup so you have something to pinch the lids on to.
  3. Divide the meat mixture between the 12 muffin cups, press down firmly to fill the corners. Top each meat pie with 1 tablespoon of branston pickle spread to the edges.
  4. Divide the remaining dough into 12 portions, press out into circles the size of the top of the pies and press the edges of the dough together. If you work quickly the pie curst base will still be pliable and you’ll get a good seal.
  5. Finish the pies by making a steam vent in the top with the handle of a spoon.
  6. Bake the pies at 350F for 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 325F and bake an additional 30 minutes. Remove the pies from the oven and brush with the egg wash, bake for a final 10 minutes until shiny and golden brown.

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