My version of the pork pie – Petit Pâté de Porc des Cévennes – as shown on Masterchef: The Professionals for one of the technical challenges – it uses belly pork, smoked Black Forest ham, cooked ham, apple and chestnuts, all encased in puff pastry (rather than hot water crust pastry that is used for traditional British pork pies). Essentially it’s a pork pie pithivier!
These pies are equally lovely eaten either cold or hot – my preference is with a piccalilli mayonnaise (crushed piccalilli mixed with mayonnaise) and a green salad.
About this recipe:
At the time of making it I could not find a recipe online for this so went back to the demonstration given on the tv programme and “winged it” with the proportions. Although I did add some dried apricots and chopped pistachios. But the proportions I give below deliver a moist filling with the right combination of smokyness, sweetness and saltiness. And there are some nice textures in the filling with the occasional crunch of the pistachios.
Tea cups or small ladles make excellent moulds for the pies to get a good dome: you simply spoon the filling into the clingfilm-lined cups and turn out onto discs of pastry. You remove the clingfilm and then brush around the filling with beaten egg, before placing slightly larger discs of pastry over each one, sealing well before lightly scoring with a sharp knife.
French Pork Pie with chestnut & apple (makes 5-6 pies)
- 200g belly pork, rind removed but retain the fat
- 100g good quality cooked ham
- 80g Black Forest Ham
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- a few fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 5-6 cooked chestnuts, whole
- 1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and sliced
- 10 dried apricots, finely chopped.
- about 30g pistachios, roughly chopped
- few gratings of fresh nutmeg
- 50g butter
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper
- 500g puff pastry (all-butter variety)
- egg wash (1 whole egg beaten with an egg yolk)
- Gently fry the onions, garlic and sage in the butter for a few minutes until just softened. Do not allow to brown. Leave to cool.
- Put the meat into a food processor and blitz until it just comes together; there should still be some texture. Transfer to a bowl and add the cooled onion mixture, apricots, pistachios, eg, nutmeg and seasoning. Mix well.
- Roll out the pastry thinly and cut out 6 circles using the top of a cereal bowl (about 16cm diameter) and 6 smaller circles using the top of a tea cup (about 10cm diameter). Gently push some of the meat filling into clingfilm-lined teacups, place a whole chestnut into the centre of each along with some sliced apple, and finishing with more of the meat filling. Press lightly so it firms up and will hold its shape.
- Invert the cups onto the smaller discs of pastry and brush around the edge with beaten egg. Lay over the larger discs of pastry and press firmly to seal. Gently pat the pastry to give a smooth finish. You can tuck the sealed edges inwards and pop the pies on a baking sheet, seal side underneath if preferred.
- Brush each pie liberally with egg wash and score lightly with a sharp knife or razor, taking care not to cut through the pastry so much that the filling is exposed. Refrigerate for about 30 mins before baking in a preheated oven at 190C (fan) for about 30 minutes until deep golden brown. Leave to cool a little before serving.