This thrifty pie, made with a simple mustard-flavoured hot watercrust pastry, is packed with pork, stuffing, juicy apricots, sharp apple, a few pickled vegetables and roasted onions: left-overs from a roast dinner and store-cupboard ingredients.
This is the inaugural bake using a new pie tin from John Lewis (the Silverwood Bakeware range). This excellent tin is so adaptable in that it will make 6 small pies, 3 medium-sized ones or one large one: I decided to go for a large pie, making an attractive centre-piece for a buffet recently.
Using up left-overs
I filled this pie with some left-over sliced roast pork, along with left-over stuffing, some juicy dried apricots, chopped apple and some onions that had been sautéed until soft and almost caramelised.
Add a few spoonfuls of mustard (the mustardy heat really works well here) and you have a very moist and tasty pie.
I kept these as rough layers, but you can chop them up finely, mix them together and use this mixture as the filling.
The baked pie can also be frozen.
To be honest, you can pack the filling with whatever you have to hand: sausagemeat, a little pickle or chutney, pistachios, cheese……The pie can equally be made with raw pork, chicken or whatever meat is to hand.
If you do not want to use left-over meat, you can poach the raw meat lightly in stock, cider or wine for about 5 minutes to start off the cooking, but the meat will still cook in the pie even without this gentle poaching: I just like the moisture and the added flavour it brings to the pie.
If using raw meat, you cook the pie for the same time, as the meat will have ample time to cook: besides, the meat will continue to cook a little while it cools.
Recipe: pork, apple and apricot pie – makes one large pie
- 300g plain flour
- 50g strong plain flour
- 150ml water
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 3 teaspoons mustard powder
- 100g lard
- 30g unsalted butter
- beaten egg for brushing top of uncooked pastry
- about 400g left-over roast pork, or meat of choice, sliced thinly
- about 150g left-over stuffing or good quality sausagemeat
- 1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped into smallish pieces
- a handful of dried apricots, chopped
- fine sea salt and freshly milled black pepper
- 1 large onion, peeled and sliced thickly
- a little oil for frying
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, roughly crushed
- about 2-3 tablespoons mustard of choice or use chutney/piccalilli
- a generous splash of dry cider (about 100ml)
- beaten egg
- pastry trimmings, optional
- about 250ml stock, apple juice or cider or a mixture
- 3 sheets leaf gelatine, soaked in water for about 5 minutes to soften
(1) Heat the oil and fry the onions and fennel gently for about 15 minutes until the onions become soft. Add the apricots and the cider and simmer for a few minutes until the cider has almost evaporated. Set aside.
(2) Make the pastry: put the flour, 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. Stir together and pour most of this over the flour, mixing well to form a smooth and fairly firm dough, adding more if necessary: it will be soft but it should just hold its shape. Cover and leave for about 15 minutes to cool down a bit – this makes it easier to work with.
(3) Grease the tin well with lard or oil and lay a folded double-thickness strip of foil along the base of the tin at intervals and up the sides (it helps with the removal of the pie from the tin once it has cooked). Roll out about 3/4 of the pastry on a lightly floured surface so it is slightly larger than the tin. Place the pastry into the tin and ease the pastry into the base and the corners: it is very malleable, so you can push it up to the top of the tin very easily if needed. Let the pastry hang over the top and brush the rim with water. Wrap the remaining pastry in clingfilm so it doesn’t dry out.
(3) For the simplest way to fill the pie, mix the filling ingredients together gently and pack gently into the pastry case. Alternatively, layer up the fillings: stuffing/sausagemeat, onion, pork, apple and then the same again. Pat down fairly firmly but not squeezing it to death! NB: you don’t want the filling to be too loose inside as it will break apart when it is cut, so a firm patting down will help it holds it shape.
(4) Roll out the remaining pastry to the size of the pie tin and place on top of the filling. Press down around the rim to seal and trim all around the edge. Run the back of a fork all around the edge and brush all over the top with the beaten egg. If you have pastry left over, roll it out thinly and cut out shapes to place over the top and brush those with egg.
(5) Make a few holes on the top of the pie to allow the steam to escape and bake in an oven preheated to 170C (fan) for 30 mins, then 50 minutes at 140C(fan). The pastry should be a deep golden colour and some of the moisture from the filling will be bubbling up through the holes.
NB: for smaller pies, start off with 170C (fan) for 30 minutes and then cook at 140C fan for about 20-30 minutes or so. Again, you want a deep golden colour and a bit of bubbling up through the holes.
(6) Leave the pie to cool fully in the tin before removing it from the tin: it will carry on cooking a bit during this time and it will also firm up as it cools. You could remove the pie after about 15 minutes or so, but if you feel it is not coming away easily then leave it to cool fully.
Top tip: to remove the pie easily from the tin, place a large tray on top of the cooled pie and invert onto a plate or board. Remove it from the tin, pulling gently on the foil to ease it out. Re-invert so the pie is the right way up.
(7) Heat the cider/stock/apple juice with the herbs and simmer for a few minutes. Remove from the heat. Remove the herbs and stir in the gelatine until fully dissolved. Pour a little at a time into the holes on top of the pie, letting the jelly stock seep into the pie before adding more. Don’t worry about any of the jelly stock spilling on top of the pie.
Top tip: to prevent any jelly from leaking if you have tiny cracks in the pastry, or if it cracks when you remove the pie from the tin, press a strip of clingfilm all the way around the side of the pie: when the jelly is poured in, this should prevent leakage. Leave the clingfilm in place while the pie chills and the jelly sets, removing it when you are ready to cut the pie.
(8) Chill overnight before slicing. Serve cold with pickles, good bread and a light salad.