Using black pudding and piccalilli gives one of my favourite flavour combinations for a pork pie, resulting in a hearty but very easy-to-eat pie. The jelly is flavoured with cider and chicken stock which, in the absence of making a stock from pigs trotters, works so well in a pork pie.
There are so many variations but I particularly love pork pies that incorporating home-made chutneys, often with a little cheese (used more as a seasoning). These are always a treat for me and I can devour them with utter ease.
Some of my favourites variations include:
- pork pies flavoured with piccalilli
- pork pies with pistachios & dried apricots
- pork pies flavoured with Stilton, piccalilli and pear (a fabulous pork pie!)
- pork pie with buttered leeks
- pork, pickle & cheese pies
- pork pies with added chunks of cooking apple
Recipe for piccalilli & black pudding pork pie with a cider jelly
Hot watercrust pastry
- 300g plain flour
- 50g strong plain flour
- 30g unsalted butter
- 150ml water
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 2 teaspoons mustard powder
- 100g lard
- beaten egg for brushing top of uncooked pastry
Main filling (enough for a deep 8″ pie):
- 350g lean pork fillet
- 200g pork belly, rind removed but keeping most of the fat
- 150g good quality streaky bacon
- 1 large onion
- 3-4 tablespoons home-made piccalilli
- 1 medium cooking apple, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
- a few sage leaves, finely chopped
- fine sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 200g best quality black pudding, roughly crumbled
(1) Mince the meats and the onion together (or pulse in a food processor to a coarse paste) and place in a bowl. Add the rest of the filling ingredients, apart from the black pudding, and mix together well: fry off a little of the mixture to check the seasoning. Cover and set aside until needed.
(2) Make the pastry: put the flours, salt and mustard powder in a bowl and mix together. Heat the water, lard and butter in a small pan until the fats have just melted. Pour most of this over the flour and mix well to form a smooth dough, adding more if necessary: it will be very soft but should just hold its shape. Cover and leave for about 30 minutes to cool down a fair bit – this makes it easier to shape.
(3) Line the inside of a deep loose-bottomed cake tin with pastry, making the pastry come just above the rim of the tin: if the mixture is cool and firm enough, simply take most of the pastry, place it in the base of the tin and ease it up the inside of the tin. Brush the top of the pastry rim with the beaten egg.
(4) Put about half of the mixture in the pastry case, sprinkle over the black pudding and top with the rest of the filling. Pack the mixture in firmly.
(5) For the pie lid, roll out or pat out the remaining pastry to a circle about the diameter of the tin. Place this lid on top and seal: squeeze together and either crimp, use the back of a fork or leave it as it is! Make a hole, a centimetre or so in diameter, in the centre of the lid and brush all over with the beaten egg.
(6) For a large pie bake for 30 minutes at 170C(fan) and then about an hour at 140C(fan): the top should be a rich golden colour. Leave for about 10 minutes or so before removing it from the tin. If the sides are a little pale, you can return it to the oven for a further 15 minutes or so. Leave the pie to cool and then chill it for several hours.
(7) Once the pie has chilled down, make up the jelly (see below) and leave until it has cooled a little but is still liquid. Slowly pour it into the hole using a small pie funnel or an upturned piping nozzle: after a little of the liquid has been poured in, leave it for a few moments to settle a bit before adding more of the liquid. Repeat until no more liquid can be added. Return the pie to the fridge and chill for several hours or overnight until the jelly has set.
Mini pork pies:
For mini pies, which are best made in deep muffin tins with vertical sides, bake them for 30 minutes at 180C(fan), followed by a further 15 minutes at 160C:
I use equal quantities of dry cider and slightly reduced chicken stock. These are brought to a simmer with a bay leaf, some fresh sage leaves and a few peppercorns. This is simmered for about 15 minutes before leaving to cool and allowing the flavours to infuse. The liquid is then strained and set aside.
When the baked pies have cooled and have chilled for several hours (or overnight), heat up the cider-stock liquid and mix it with platinum grade leaf gelatine: I use 1 sheet per 100ml liquid.