Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Perfect Pork Pie - Part Two

The pork stock jelly finally looked like it was nearly ready - everything in it had disintegrated. At this point, you strain the liquid off, and then put it on a high heat until it reduces to about one-third. Then slap it in the fridge. Now make the pastry.

I don't do quantities, I do proportions, and I reckon you want about 2 parts flour to one part liquid*. Put your plain, ordinary flour into a bowl. Add as much or as little salt as you feel like and mix well. Melt your lard into some water (about the same volume of each). Make a well in the flour and gradually add the fatty liquid, stirring as constantly as you can. You'll eventually end up with a silky blob that doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl. Wrap the blob in clingfilm and stick it in the fridge.

Now you need to prep the meat. Most recipes I've seen have you grinding pork shoulder and pork fat, and maybe some pork belly and some even suggest adding some bacon. I don't have a meat grinder (yet!) so I'm using 'pork burger meat' from the supermarket (minced meat in Madrid supermarkets is always 'burger meat', which is probably a legal term indicating it will be 15% soy protein, 20% fat, 5% sweepings from the butchery floor, 10% breadcrumbs, and the remainder actual stuff from the carcass of a domesticated farm animal (including toenails, bristles, eyelashes and ground-up bones)). I've mixed some nutmeg into it and a LOT of ground black pepper.

The interesting thing about this not-really-a-recipe is the construction of the pie casing. In the video they use a thing called a pork-pie dolly as a former. Obviously I haven't got one of those, so I'm going to use a jam jar to form the base around. Wish me luck, off to try it now...

Okay, 4 pork pies in da oven!

Cover the bottom and sides of your jam jar with flour to stop the pastry from sticking. Divide your pastry into bits that look big enough to form the bottom and sides of the pie-case. Roll one of these pieces into a ball. Then place it on your worktop and flatten it with your hand. Enlarge the circle of pastry until it's about an inch and a half wider than your jam jar. The pastry should be about a quarter of an inch thick. Pop the jam jar in the centre of the pastry disc, pick up the edges of the pastry and press them against the side of the jar. It's a bit like turning clay - infuriating at first, but eventually you get the pastry to stick to itself and then you can remove the jar.

The pastry will likely collapse in a heap, but don't worry. Take a ball of your meat mixture and place it inside the pastry case. Brush the lip and inner edge of the pastry base with beaten egg (this is your glue). Flatten a disc of pastry for the lid. Place it on top of the base and crimp the edges - try to have the edge raised slightly above the top of the pie.

Assemble the rest of your pies and preheat your oven to 180C. Now make a biggish hole in the lid of each pie - this is to let steam escape during cooking, and also for you to get your jelly in later. Brush the lids with beaten egg and slap 'em in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

Sit down and have a stiff drink. Bloody hell, you've earned it!

At this point, I took my jellied stock out of the fridge - it had set in a perfectly wobbly way, but I tasted a bit and it was slightly weird. Bland, like. So I'm reducing it a bit more and I've added some soy sauce.


I think I might have to write a seriously honest cookbook. It'll be called something like 'What To Do When The Fecking Recipe Doesn't Work'. After 45 mins of medium temperature cooking, my pies were pale, uninteresting and probably lethally undercooked. I whacked the temperature up to 230C for fifteen minutes. At the end of which they had expanded horizontally and stuck together. So I've spread them apart and they're getting another fifteen minutes.

(There might well be a gap in the market for a cook-book that tells it like it is. It would have to be a big thick thing. If I was to write down this recipe, for example, it would be a helluva lot more concise than this blog post. Somebody once asked me how I got my spaghetti to taste so wonderful. I probably goggled at her like a goggle-eyed thing. It's astoundingly simple: bring a load of water to a rolling boil, chuck the spag in, stir it a bit, turn down the heat, wait eight point three five minutes, drain and serve. No, she said, how do you get it to taste so buttery? Oh, well obviously after you've drained it and before you serve it, you put it back in the pan with a knob of butter and give it a good ole whizz round and then serve it. Sheesh, do I have to tell you everything?)

And while I was writing that ^^^, the damn porkies were in the oven for another fifteen minutes: sides not done, see.

Any road up, as we like to say in Yorkshireland, here they are:

Nice colour on the tops, rubbish shape, but I expect they'll taste fab (presentation is nothing, do you see). It's gone midnight here. These babbies need to cool down before I try to jellify them, so they're going in the fridge and I'll attempt the jelly thing in the morning. I guess this is why pork pies are made in factories. Anyhoo, look out for Part Three, The Verdict.

And goodnight.

*In retrospect, I'd try 2.5 to 3 times more flour than liquid'n'fat. Stiffer, see.


halfmanhalfbeer said...

Keefie, these look fantastic!! Well done.


ps any chance of sending a couple my way?!

Seabee said...

They look like very good pps. Let us know how they went down.

Grumpy Goat said...

"...15% soy protein, 20% fat, 5% sweepings from the butchery floor, 10% breadcrumbs, and the remainder actual stuff from the carcass of a domesticated farm animal (including toenails, bristles, eyelashes and ground-up bones)..."

Are you related to CMOT Dibbler?

Keefieboy said...

Goatboy, just wait till I get my sausage maker - inna bun!