We are celebrating the season’s holiday early this year — not on the 21st or 22nd as usual. We need to accommodate the work schedules of my two sons. We decided this was the year to tell consumerism to take a leap off a steep cliff! So this evening we will watch “The Hogfather” and “quaff” beer and/or mead and enjoy lights and holiday sweets. Tomorrow, Monday morning, they will rise to fresh baked rolls and a platter of cold meats and cheese to nibble upon. We will open presents — each of us will have one gift total.
In early afternoon, I will return to the kitchen and bake dinner’s main course — a proper pork pie that would do Sir Terry Pratchett’s Diskworld Hogswatch Night proud!
Esme’s Hogswatch Pork Pie
*If you choose to make this in a springform pan to get more the British tall unsupported side crust appearance? Increase amounts by 1/3 more to make sufficient pastry and add an egg yolk in lieu of part of the water to make a stronger, richer crust.
2 c. organic white wheat flour and
2/3 c whole wheat flour
(If gluten is an issue, you may use gluten free flours, but most of those make SUCH a soft disintegrating pastry — I recommend trying spelt flour instead for ALL the flour)
1 T. sugar
1 tsp salt (use less if using salted butter)
1/4 – 1/3 icy water, 1 T of which is lemon juice
3/4 c butter (absolutely NO margarine!)
Mix the flours, salt, and sugar. Now cut the slightly softened butter into the flour with a pastry blender until it resembles a mess of sandy crumbs. Stir in the cold water and lemon juice, mixing very well with a sturdy fork. When the dough is well mixed enough to form a firm ball, divide it in two —one side slightly larger.
I roll the larger piece out in a large round, I do it between layers of wax paper to save my sanity and make transfer to pie dish easy! I use a large glass pie pan —about 10″ across; once the pie crust is nestled in and the edges curled in ready to meet the top crust, set it aside. Roll out the top crust and leave it resting ‘twixt the wax paper until you need it.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Now, the Filling:
*for extra special pie – use wild boar (bribe a hunter or engage yourself?!)
1/3 pound of (pepper encrusted?) bacon, cut into tiny pieces
1 lb good ham, diced into 1/2″ cubes, with most fat removed
1 lb ground lean pork (I use pork loin or sirloin and grind my own)
1 medium sweet onion, finely minced
(1/2 ounce dried mixed mushrooms, reduced to a powder in the blender or spice grinder – optional)
2 T mixed herbs: parsley, thyme, rosemary, and safe (equal amounts of each)
1 tsp of Scappi’s Sweet (a spice blend I duplicate from a medieval recipe) OR 1/4 tsp each cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger — not the same, but quite sufficient
1 1/4 – 2 c beef broth
1 egg white and 1/2 an egg yolk…slightly beaten (Or 2 -3 Tbsp flour)
1/2 egg yolk mixed with 1 T cold water
First of all, get a large, preferably iron, skillet and fry the bacon morsels till done, but not crispy. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Immediately put the onion to cook in the bacon fat. (Guard the bacon against kitchen thieves, drawn by the already delectible smell!) When the onion is tender and beginning to brown, put it into a blender with the broth and completely liquify the onion.
Brown the ground pork in the remnants of bacon fat in the pan after removing the cooked onion, stir in the ham cubes and put the bacon back in the skillet. Stir in the herbs and the spices. Turn off the heat of the stove. Add the liquified onion in broth and stir well, stir in the powdered dried mushrooms. Mix well to blend all flavors! Now very rapidly stir in the egg white and half yolk mixture, fast enough that it does not cook atop the still warm meat! This is to thicken the broth, if you prefer, stir in a couple tablespoons of flour into the ground pork and chopped sausage before you add the broth. Then you have a more usual flour thickened gravy
Spoon the filling into the bottom pie crust, cover with the top crust sealing the edges together and crimping them decoratively together! Cut slits in the top for steam escape.
Use a kitchen brush to cover the top with the yolk-water eggwash, this will make the pie attractively shiny and brown.
Place in 400 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375 and bake about 30- 40 minutes more until crust is done and pie is steaming hot! Serve warm (or just at room temp) with beer and a favorite vegetable!
*the picture is from last year. This year I am doing the taller sided springform for a more “British” looking pie.