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Telling Porky Pies

Tuesday 29th September 2015

Who doesn’t love pork pies?

The advent of spring brings its usual suspects: Hay Fever, the Royal Melbourne Show and the Spring Racing Carnival. Now, I think we can all agree that the first one is literally the worst, but the latter two are Melbournian mainstays and make all the sneezing worth it.

Having had the pleasure of hosting demonstrations in the Winning Tastes Pavilion over the last week or so, it’s been great to see what chefs around town are doing with the award-winning produce Victoria has to offer (all available at the market, of course).

Choosing one highlight dish to share with you has been a challenge, but I’ve settled on this one, Damian Sandercock’s traditional pork pies recipe from Piper St Food Co because of his focus on provenance, and how conveniently these little parcels of hammy goodness would fit in a Spring Racing picnic basket.

Make them yourself with his (now not so secret) recipe or pick some up (along with a jar of his award-winning duck rillete) from Delicatess.

PORK PIES

Hot Water Pastry
600g plain flour
270ml water
210g lard
7g salt
1 level tbsp. caster sugar
1 egg

Pork Pie Filling
1kg of pork shoulder
250g of finely chopped streaky bacon
250g of minced pork fat
12 sage leaves
2 large sprigs of thyme
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of ground white pepper
½ teaspoon of ground mace

Aspic Jelly
1 litre chicken stock
5 sheets gelatine

Method:

  1. Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment.
  2. Bring the water and lard to the boil in a saucepan. Once boiled pour over dry ingredients, mixing on a slow speed until pastry just comes together.
  3. Add beaten egg and increase the speed for 60 seconds until the egg is fully incorporated. Remove the pastry from the mixer.
  4. Flatten out to a disk; this will make it easier when rolling out the pastry later.
  5. Cover the pastry in cling wrap and let it rest for an hour in the fridge.
  6. Roll out to the required thickness using minimal flour (if you use minimal flour there should be no need for an egg wash).
  7. Cut out 24 disks: 12 large for the base and 12 smaller for the lids.
  8. Cut 1kg of pork shoulder into small cubes, about half a centimetre across, and place it in a large mixing bowl. Using a sharp knife is here is very important; this step can take awhile.
  9. Add 250g of finely chopped streaky bacon along with 250g of pork fat. The balance of meats is important. The chunky shoulder adds texture, the bacon adds flavour and the minced fat keeps the pie moist.
  10. To season the filling, finely chop a dozen sage leaves and the leaves from two large sprigs of thyme and add them to the meat, along with a generous teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of ground white pepper, half a teaspoon of ground mace. Mix everything together well.
  11. Portion your filling into 12 balls of equal size.
  12. Place one of your 12 portions of pork pie filling onto the larger disk, mould by hand crimping the pastry as you go forming the classic pork pie shape.
  13. Cook the pies at 210˚C for 20-25minutes or until it has a deep golden crust.
  14. Leave the pies to cool, taking this opportunity to make the aspic jelly.
  15. Bring chicken stock to the boil and bloom the gelatin sheets in cold water. Add softened gelatin to the stock and stir to dissolve.
  16. When pie is cool enough, add aspic. We use syringes to inject a little aspic into our pies (available at medical supply stores), however you can use a small funnel (available at Essential Ingredient).

These will keep in the refrigerator for approx. a week, and in a picnic bag for half a day. Serve with cornichons and mustard.

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