This weekend I was totally going to make marshmallows using Bertie Branning, my shiny red Kitchenaid mixer, when I found out you needed a sugar thermometer.
So I thought s*d that for a game of soldiers and decided to make a mahoosive pork pie instead. Partly because it's Christmas time and nothing marks the season better for me than fat wodges of meaty pie, and partly because I was inspired by my very short stint as a pop-up pie assistant (PUPA) for the fabulous Bray's Cottage.
Not that I had all the correct equipment for making a pork pie either. Apparently you need a pie mould of some sort. All I had was a big cake tin, which is why I've ended up with a pork pie bigger than my head. But, hells, it looks good and it tastes even better.
Super traditional hot water crust pastry combined with untraditional Asian spiced filling. Fusion - I'm all over it, me.
Meemalee's Mahoosive Pork Pie
For the jellied stock
- 4 pig's trotters
- 4 white onions
- 2 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 4 star anise
- 3 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 kg fatty pork shoulder
- 250 g streaky bacon
- Small bunch of chives
- 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tbsp ground black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp Marigold bouillon or pinch of MSG
- 1 tsp ground mace
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 11 tsp Worcestershire sauce
For the pastry
- 200g lard
- 250g water
- 600g flour
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 x 20cm cake tin with a removable base
- 1 funnel
Make the Jellied Stock
Chuck everything in a deep saucepan, cover with water so the level is about an inch above the ingredients, and bring to a boil.
Then simmer for two hours, regularly topping up with water to avoid any accidents.
Sieve the liquid into a bowl (chuck the bits), cover with clingfilm and leave to cool. Refrigerate.
Make the Filling
Roast the Sichuan peppercorns by heating them in a medium hot frying pan or wok until they darken slightly and become fragrant.
Leave to cool and grind in a mortar or place in a sandwich bag and bash with a rolling pin
Dice the pork shoulder into little chunks. Slightly labour-intensive but worth it for interesting texture. Dice the bacon too.
Mince the chives and then mix all the filling ingredients together.
Make the Pastry
Put the oven on at 180C. Lightly grease and flour your mould or cake tin.
Sift the flour with 1 tsp of salt into a large mixing bowl. Put the lard and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Pour this melted lard/water mixture into the flour and mix with a wooden spoon till you get a pastry dough.
As soon as it's cool enough to handle, take a quarter of the pastry and roll it into a circle big enough to cover the cake tin. This is your pie lid - set this aside on a floured baking tray.
Roll the rest into a circle big enough to cover the base of the tin and the walls.
Lay this piece of pastry in the bottom of the tin and then push and squidge the dough up the sides with your hands as if moulding the inside of a pot.
The idea is to get the same thickness all around without any gaps or tears.
Constructing the Pie
Fill the pastry shell with the pork mix and pat down firmly. It should almost fill the tin, leaving a small border of pastry at the top. Brush this pastry border with beaten egg. Place the pastry lid you set aside earlier on top and squidge all around the edges, making sure you seal carefully.
Poke a hole in the middle of the lid to let out steam and brush all over with beaten egg. Place the tin on top of the baking tray that the lid was on.
Bake the pie for 30 minutes at 180C, then lower the heat to 160C and bake for 90 minutes. The pie will look rocking by then - golden with caramelised bits on top.
Meanwhile reheat the jellied stock so it becomes liquid again. If it didn't set enough, boil vigorously for five minutes. If it's too hard, add a little water when heating.
When the pie's ready, stick a funnel in the hole you made in the pie lid and pour a little of the stock into this hole. Wait for the stock to be absorbed into the meat and then pour a little bit more in. Keep this process up until you (a) lose patience or (b) run out of stock.
Leave the pie to cool and then refrigerate to re-set the jelly. Slice and eat with some pickles. PICKLES!