This Father’s Day I wanted to make Dad something a bit special, and inspired by the pork pies I gave Ste for Valentine’s Day (bought off the internet, not homemade) I decided to have a go at making my own personalised pork pies for Dad.
I have never been much of a fan of pork pies, the jelly part slightly revolted me and the pastry always seemed a bit too much. However, I’m well aware that I am quite unusual in this respect, and my Dad in particular is a big fan, so I thought I’d give these a go. Yesterday I went to our local farm shop and asked for some pork shoulder and bacon to make pork pies. The butcher helpfully told me that I’d never manage to make a pork pie as good as their award-winning ones, which would also be cheaper than buying the meat to make them. Despite this wonderful vote of confidence I decided to do it anyway, and I am so glad I did, they turned out to be delicious (even I like them!), and I am actually tempted to drop one off at the farm shop just to show him! They might not be award-winning, but for a first attempt they are pretty darn good, and really not too difficult either. The tricky part is definitely shaping the pastry, but after the first one or two you get the hang of it. Adding the jelly is also a bit fiddly, a small funnel or even a large syringe would make it so much easier, but of course, I had neither and just used a small jug to pour, and made a bit of a mess. You can also leave the jelly out, I forgot it in one of mine and it still tasted great.
My alphabet cutters were super cheap on eBay, but you can quite easily freehand the letters D A D (or whatever you are making) if you don’t have some.
So, for my lovely Daddy (Happy Father’s Day Dad!), here’s some homemade pork pies!
Personalised Pork Pies
- 600g pork shoulder (100g diced into 1cm cubes, the rest finely chopped or minced)
- 300g streaky bacon, finely chopped
- A few leaves of sage, finely chopped (or 1tsp dried)
- Generous amount of salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 500g plain flour
- ½tsp salt
- 175g lard
- 1 egg, beaten
- 500ml chicken stock
- 3 leaves gelatine
- Prepare the filling, dicing a small quantity of the pork and mincing the rest, mix in the bacon, sage and seasoning and divide into small balls, either 6 or 8 depending on how many you want to make (I made 7 from this recipe).
- Preheat your oven to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Bring 200ml water to the boil and melt the lard in it until it is liquid. Pour this mixture into the well and mix with a wooden spoon. Cover and leave for 15 minutes until it is cool enough to work with.
- Take a small piece of dough and roll it out to 2-3mm thick, and cut out your letters to top your pies. Add any leftover dough back to the rest.
- Divide the remaining dough into 6/8 equal pieces. Take one ball and divide it into two pieces, one twice the size of the other. Roll out the large piece on a floured surface until about 4mm thick. Place it in the palm of your hand, and put a ball of meat into the centre. With both hands, shape the sides up around the pie, trying not to create any overlaps. You can be quite firm about moulding the pastry exactly to the meat, the snugger the fit, the better as the meat shrinks in cooking. Roll out the smaller piece into a circle just big enough to cover the top, and fix it on, crimping it shut with your fingers and thumbs. Repeat for the rest of your pies. Add your letters to the top of each pie, sticking them down with a little water.
- Transfer the pies on a well-greased baking sheet. Make a large hole in the centre of each pie (larger than mine in the picture, it got fiddly pouring the stock in). Brush all over with the beaten egg, and put in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Check after twenty minutes, and if the pies are already nicely coloured, cover each one with some tin foil to stop it browning any more, and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes.
- While the pies are cooling, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for five minutes. Bring the stock to the boil, and add the soaked leaves (squeeze all the water out), and stir well.
- Pour stock into the hole on the top of each pie, using a small funnel if you have one, otherwise, just going very slowly and carefully! It helps to hold the sides of the pie as you pour, as this lifts the lid up enough to let the liquid in underneath it. Stop when it starts to overflow.
- Leave the pies until cool, then put them in the fridge for a couple of hours. They will then be ready to eat, and should be eaten cold, ideally with some mustard or piccalilli.
If your Father is a fan of pork pies, there’s still time to make him some for Sunday. And even if the ones from the farm shop are better, I will bet you anything he’ll be more delighted by your home made attempt!
I am bringing these beauties to Fiesta Friday this week, for all the Fathers amongst us. These are for you too.
So what do you think? Should I take the snooty butcher one of my yummy pork pies?!