Pork pies are one the oldest and
most popular of all our cold savoury dishes.
The recipe can be traced back to medieval times when
cooked meats were often preserved in a simple water
based pastry. As the meat shrinks during cooking, pork
stock or hot fat was poured into the pie case to fill
the remaining gap, thus keeping the meat sterile for
longer. Today commercial bakers use a jellied stock
of clear gelatin as a filling agent, which is more
One of the most famous of
all Pork Pie recipes comes from the Leicestershire village
of Melton Mowbray. Originated in the early 19th century
by local shopkeepers Edward Adcock and Enoch Evans,
Melton Mowbray pies are made with a hand-formed pastry
and the meat is chopped not minced.
Ingredients for Pork Pie
The following will make a good family-sized pie
or two smaller ones.
- 20oz (575g) plain flour
- 3rd pint (200ml) water
- 6oz (175g) lard
- 1 beaten egg to glaze
- Salt and pepper
- Sage and thyme finely chopped (optional)
- 28oz (800g) of fresh finely chopped pork
shoulder (uncured). Do not use bacon or ham.
- 14oz (400g) of finely chopped belly pork.
- half pint (250ml) pork stock (made using a stock
cube or granules)
- gelatine - enough to set a half pint of liquid
You will also need a dolly or former to make the
pie case. If you don't have anything suitable, a clean
2lb glass jar will do.
Cooking time: approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes.
How to Make Pork Pie
NOTE: Using the traditional hand-form
method below, the pastry will need to be prepared first
and chilled overnight. However, if you are using a
pie mould then the pastry can be used straight away.
Making the Pastry (Day 1)
- Sift the flour into a
warm bowl. Gently heat the lard and water together
in a pan, until just boiling. Season with a little
salt. Add this to the flour and mix rapidly with a
wooden spoon until the mixture is cool enough to knead.
- Knead the pastry well for around
15 minutes to exclude all air. Keep
one quarter of the pastry aside to make the pie lid.
Roll the rest into a ball, cover with foil and leave
in the fridge overnight.
Making the Pie (Day 2)
- Remove the pastry from the fridge and allow to it to settle for a few hours before making the pie case.
- Dice and mix the fresh pork and herbs together,
and season with a little salt and pepper.
- Take your dolly (or glass jar) and push it firmly
into the centre of the pasty ball. This should push
the wall sides up and outwards, ready for forming.
Make sure you do not push the dolly right through the
bottom of the pastry case!.
- Rotate the dolly whilst gently raising the pastry
up the edge until the required even height and thickness
is achieved, leaving no cracks. Once complete, ease
the dolly from the pastry mould.
- Pack the seasoned and chopped fresh pork into
the pastry case, until full.
- Roll out the reserved pastry for the lid and cut
out a circular lid.
- Using the beaten egg, dampen the edged of both
the lid and pastry case so they will form a seal.
- Place the lid onto the case and gently pinch the
edges to seal them well. It is important to ensure
the lid is securely sealed to prevent the pie case
sides collapsing when baking.
- Chill the pie in the fridge for at least an hour
- Make two small holes in the lid of the pie. These
will allow steam to escape while cooking and will be
used later to fill the pie with jelly.
- Place on a baking tray and bake at 200 deg C for
30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 160/140 deg C and cook
for a further 90 minutes. Brush the top with the beaten
egg and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes,
until a rich golden brown.
- Once fully baked remove from the oven and allow
- Dissolve the gelatine in the pork stock as per
the makers instructions. Cool this to
- Using a small funnel, pour
the mix into one of the holes in the pie lid, a little
at a time, until full.
- Leave to cool further. Ideally, the pie should
be left to cool overnight in the fridge before eating.
Pork pie is normally eaten cold. Slice the pie
into wedges and serve as a snack
on its own, or with a picnic or a salad.
Other recipes to try: Cornish
Pasties | Full
English | Recipe Index