You know my pork pies are fabulous (because I keep telling you they are), but just for a change, last night I invented the chicken and ham pie, and, oh my God, it is stupendous! Really, unbelievably fab. It's not the sloppy beige mush in pastry that you'd get from your local bakers. My chicken and ham is alternate layers of solid meat, seasoned with black pepper and fresh cilantro (coriander). Stuffed into a raised hot-water pastry case, surrounded by savoury jelly and designed to be eaten cold. Drool. I'm starting to sound like a marketing dude, but hey, these pies really are something else.
First of all, make the pastry and put it in the fridge to rest. Then prepare the filling - here I've packed it into glasses that are the same diameter as my glass mould. Press the meat down as much as you can (it won't stick together at this stage - that happens as the meat cooks and also the jellied stock helps to bind it).
Assemble the cases. Notice, I now put a tinfoil collar around the outside of the case - this stops the pies bulging too much during cooking, and also makes it much easier to release the glass former. I remove the collars about twenty minutes before the end of cooking.
Stick the lids on, paint with beaten egg, bake for an hour and a bit at 210 C. When cool, spoon the liquid jelly stock through the hole in the top. Chill in the fridge, and eat slowly. This is the best pie you're ever going to get (well, actually, sorry, you're not going to get one unless you come to Madrid and beg).
An Australian Meat Dinner (1875)
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