Freeform pork & pickle pies
These little pork pies use a hot-water crust as a sturdy shell to support the filling, which is possibly the easiest of all pastries to make – no rubbing in and trying to keep it cool as you roll. Make the night before you picnic and serve cold, just like a traditional pork pie, except these ones have their pickle inside, rather than on the edge of your plate, making them perfect for picnics. A few salad leaves and a handful of cherry tomatoes are a great accompaniment.
Makes four generous individual pies.
For the hot-water crust pastry:
•300g plain flour
•1 tsp fine salt
•110ml cold water
•60g butter, diced
•60g lard, diced
For the filling:
•500g pork mince
•6 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped
•1 tsp dried mixed herbs
•½ nutmeg, freshly grated
•4 large tsp of your favourite chutney or pickle
•Salt & freshly ground black pepper
To make the pastry, mix the flour and salt in a mixing bowl, making a well in the centre. Crack the egg in the well and flick a little flour over to cover it completely. Add the water, butter and lard to a pan and set over a medium heat. Stir as the fats melt and as the water comes to the boil, tip into the mixing bowl, stirring well to form a soft ball. Tip onto the worktop and knead briefly for a minute then cut into four even pieces – this helps it cool quicker – and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm.
While the pastry is chilling, mix the pork, bacon, herbs and nutmeg in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Tip onto the worktop and divide into four balls. Flatten each ball to a disc of around 1cm thick and spoon the chutney into the centre, before bringing up the sides to seal it completely in the middle. Set aside on a plate.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
Take the pastry out of the fridge and cut about a third off each, reserving to make the lid. Using your hands, flatten the larger piece to a 5mm thick disc, then set a ball of filling in the middle. Shape the smaller piece of pastry to a 5mm disc and drape over the top of the filling to create a lid. Bring up the sides of the bottom pastry to meet the lid and press together to seal the filling inside completely. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling, making four pies. Use a skewer to pierce a large hole in the top of each to let the steam out, and sprinkle over a few sea-salt flakes and grind of pepper.
Spread on a baking sheet and cook for about an hour until the pastry is crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
– Genevieve Taylor is a food writer and stylist.