Today marked the first days in weeks with a tiny bit of rain here in Leeds. One of my friends on Facebook even said today was the last day of summer and that the weather from now on would have been typically British. I hope she’s wrong. And not just because I want to enjoy more sunshine but, also, because otherwise when would you enjoy recipes such as the one below? If you’re planning a picnic, then this is the perfect stand-by recipe that will save your day. It only requires a handful of ingredients, you can use already made puff pastry (I did, shortcuts are allowed every now and then) and you get 12 lovely little pies out of one go.
Pork pies, as I am sure you will be aware, come in all shapes and sizes. Originally created in regions of the UK famous for rearing pigs, pork pies are supposed to be handmade, a bit wonky and very flavoursome. Don’t buy pork pies from the supermarkets, make them. The traditional pork pies are made with hot water crust pastry which, in my opinion, is the hardest to master. These use puff pastry instead, which provides a nice and crumbly factor to the outer crust. Also, if traditionally pies are filled with either minced or chopped pork and sealed with jelly, these contain minced pork, juicy apricots and crunchy pistachios. No jelly was harmed (or involved) during the making of these pies – I’m not a massive fan of jelly anyway! The recipe is adapted from the BBC Good Food magazine.
- 500g puff pastry
- 450g pork mince
- 100g dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 50g pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- salt & pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Grease a 12-hole muffin tin quite generously or line with strips of baking parchment to facilitate removing the pies later on.
- Set aside a quarter of the pastry for the lid, then roll the remaining pastry on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin. Cut out 12 x 12cm circles and use them to line the muffin tin holes. You might need to re-roll the pastry, just remember not to clump it together as you would do with shortcrust, but to layer the trimmings and roll them together to keep the layers intact. You’ll need the pastry to come higher than the edge of each tin hole.
- Roll out the quarter of pastry you set aside to the same thickness, then use a sharp knife to cut 0.5cm strips. Arrange these on a tray. Chill the cases and the strips while you prepare the filling.
- In a bowl, combine the pork mince, apricots, fennel seeds, nutmeg, pistachios and a lot of seasoning. Mix with your hands until fully combined.
- Remove the cases from the fridge, then use a spoon to pack the meat firmly into each tin case. Use the strips to create a lattice pattern on the top of each pie, press the strips onto the extra pastry hanging out of each tin, then use a cookie cutter slightly larger than the hole in the tin to cut the excess pastry off. Crimp by hand or with a fork. Chill again for another 15 minutes. In the meantime, place a flat baking tray in the oven to heat up.
- Remove the pies from the fridge and brush the pies with the egg, then place onto the heated baking tray. Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. These are best enjoyed cold or at room temperature.