A home-made pork pie is ideal as part of a summer meal for a group of family and friends, especially if you don’t care for barbecues or feel like a change. It also works very well as part of a picnic, or for an effortless dinner after a long day at work – once cooked and cooled, it needs no further work, just cut a slice and serve with salad. It’s also surprisingly easy to make, as hot-water pastry is very forgiving.
Here’s my recipe.
10 oz (approx 300 g) strong white flour*
4 oz (approx 125 g) lard
0.5 teaspoon (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) salt
Hot water to mix
1.25 lb (approx 500 g) minced pork
4 oz (approx 125 g) smoked streaky bacon (or back bacon if preferred)
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml) ground nutmeg
1 Tablespoon (1 x 15 ml spoon) fresh sage leaves (or other herbs of your choice)
8 oz (approx 250 g) carrot
Grease a deep cake tin about 6 inches (approx 15 cm) in diameter. If the tin doesn’t have a loose base, fold a long strip of tinfoil into three lengthwise (so you get a triple-thickness strip), and lay it across the bottom of the tin and up the two opposite sides. Make sure it is long enough to extend well past the top of the tin so that you can grasp the two ends easily. The tinfoil strip will help to lift the pie out of the tin after it is cooked.
Rub the lard into the flour and salt until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Stir in approximately 6–7 Tablespoons (6–7 x 15 ml spoons) of very hot water and mix well. The mixture should form a ball of stiff dough. If it is floury and flaky, add a little more hot water. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour.
Set the pastry aside for a few minutes to cool.
Chop the bacon into small pieces.
Peel, wash and grate the carrot.
Chop the sage (or other herbs) finely.
Mix the minced pork, chopped bacon, grated carrot, nutmeg and chopped herbs in a large bowl and season with ground black pepper and a little salt.
Roll out three-quarters of the pastry into a large circle. Line the greased cake tin with the circle of pastry, pushing the pastry well down into the corners. If the pastry tears, dampen the edges with water and press them back together.
Put the filling into the pastry case and press down firmly. Fold the edges of the pastry case down over the filling.
Roll out the other quarter of the pastry into a circle big enough to make a lid. Dampen the ring of folded-down pastry with water, and put the pastry lid on top. Trim off any excess pastry.
Roll out the pastry trimmings to make decorations of your choice for the top of the pie.
Brush the top of the pie with milk.
Cook in the centre of a slow oven, about 150–160 C, for about 2 to 2.5 hours, until the pastry is golden brown.
Remove the pie from the oven, and run a palette knife around the sides of the tin to loosen it. Don’t try to take the pie out of the tin yet.
Cool the pie in the tin on a wire rack.
When the pie is completely cool, run a palette knife around the sides again to make sure it is still loose. Then press up the loose base of the tin (if it has a loose base), or lift the pie out of the tin using the tinfoil strip. Don’t try to take the pie out of the tin until it is completely cold, or there’s a risk it may collapse.
Serve cut in slices.
I generally get 8 to 10 slices out of a pie this size, although it depends how large a slice you cut.
The pie will keep in the fridge for several days, so you can make it well in advance, or eat it over several days.
*’Strong’ flour is the kind used for making bread.