The Editor’s raised pork pie may be, along with steak and kidney, the most iconic of many uniquely British pies. Raised pies are baked to be eaten cold, and bound with jelly rather than runny with rich stock. They use trotters to make the jelly, lard to shorten the crust, fresh shoulder of pork and a little cured bacon; these variations on a single meat give the pies both layers of flavor and the essence of pork. While ubiquitous in the United Kingdom, they are quite nearly unknown in the United States, so this recipe may be particularly welcome to readers.
These pies rely on a hot water crust, or pastry made from flour submerged in boiling water and lard. Back in the day cooks ‘raised’ the pastry by hand to make a freestanding case but the use of a springform pan is considerably more manageable and does nothing to detract from the appearance or flavor of the pie.
The Editor’s recipe leans heavily on the great Mrs. Grigson, but, as its Notes indicate, contains a few wrinkles.
For the jelly:
- 2 pork trotters and any pork bones you have (optional)
- a chopped carrot
- a chopped celery stock
- a quartered unpeeled onion
- some parsley stalks
- 2 bay leaves
- about a dozen peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- about 2 quarts water
For the filling:
- 2 lb boned pork shoulder or spareribs cut into irregular chunks
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste or essence (see the Notes)
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon mace
- 1 teaspoon dry English mustard (like Colman’s)
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- ½ lb British or Irish (unsmoked) bacon slices
For the hot water pastry:
- 3 oz water
- 6 oz lard
- 1 lb flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Make the jellied stock by bringing all its ingredients to a boil, then simmering it for about 4 hours, straining it and then ruthlessly reducing it to about 8 oz. Refrigerate it overnight and skim off the fat.
- Make the filling by tossing together all of its ingredients except the bacon. It is best to let the filling settle overnight in the refrigerator to allow the ingredients to marry.
Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Make the pastry. First boil the lard in the water.
- Then mix the salt with the flour in a big bowl, then dump the water and lard into the center and stir the ingredients into a smooth paste.
- Let the dough cool only until you can handle it without pain. At this point you want to work fast or the pastry will collapse instead of lining your springform. Set aside a quarter of the dough for the lid of the pie and dump the remainder into the springform.
- “Quickly and lightly push the pastry up the sides of the” springform,” as Mrs. Grigson writes, “being careful to leave no cracks.” It will pool about the circumference of the springform, so give it a final push with your knuckles where the sides of the pan meet its base and ensure that the pastry overhangs the springform.
- Quickly line the bottom of the pan with the bacon, drop the filling into the pastry case (if you are lucky it will form a shallow dome above the top of the springform) and ensure that it overhangs the top by about ½ inch.
- Set the lid atop the filling, turn the overhang up, over and along the edges of the lid and cut a hole in its center: It is customary to decorate the lid with leaves or other shapes.
- Bake the pie for ½ an hour to set the pastry and let it begin to color, then reduce the oven temperature to 325° and bake for another hour or so.
- Let the pie cool a little while you bring the jelly to a boil, then slowly drizzle it through a funnel into the hole in the top of the pie. It will sink slowly; as it does, drizzle a little more of the liquefied jelly into the pie until it just nearly reaches the top of the filling: You want the liquid to fill the interstices of the filling and set the pie. Do not, however, overpour the liquid or your crust will become sodden.
- Refrigerate the pie for at least 24 hours, remove it from the springform and admire your creation before devouring it.
-Mrs. Grigson omits Worcestershire, uses a bouquet garni in lieu of the Editor’s bay and sage in the stock, and chooses nutmeg over mace for the filling. She also omits the cayenne and mustard from the filling.
-The Editor cuts the meat into irregular shapes only because it looks nice--sort of marbled--when you slice the pie. That appears to be the technique that traditional English butchers use for their raised pies but Mrs. Grigson cuts the pork into tiny (quarter inch) dice and also chops half of her bacon to mix into the filling.
-The recipe takes a couple of days, but until you raise the pie requires no supervision. It also sounds a bit fraught, but be not deterred: The Editor never has baked a raised pie that failed, and she has baked a lot of them.