I will not pretend that this pie is easy or quick to make, however, if you want to impress your friends or family with a sensational "posh" English raised pie then this is the recipe for you! Tender chunks of chicken with pork sausage meat and ham are encased in crisp hot water crust pastry, liberally seasoned with spices and herbs; this pie makes a simply stunning centrepiece for any Glyndebourne style picnic event or for a special celebratory cold buffet, such as weddings, christenings or anniversaries. The pastry used in this pie recipe is hot water crust pastry, which is a direct descendant of "coffer" paste that was used to encase and protect meat whilst it cooked centuries ago – the pies then being called “coffyns”! The pastry is shaped by hand whilst it is still warm, and is excellent for using with intricate pie moulds - the technique is known as "hand raised" and pies made this way are called "raised pies". The pastry is easy to make, but MUST be kept warm whilst you are using it - I keep mine warm over a pan of simmering water. This pastry is excellent for all types of traditional raised pies, such as Game pies, Pork pies and Veal and Ham pies. (Preparation time includes the one day needed for the pie to cool down and then for jellied stock to be added, and then allowing for the jellied stock to set.
HOT WATER CRUST PASTRY
1 lb (450g) plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 ounces (75g) butter
4 ounces (116g) lard or 4 ounces (115g) white vegetable fat
4 fluid ounces milk, and 4 fluid ounces water, mixed in equal proportions
4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 lb (450g) good quality pork sausage, casings discarded and crumbled into pieces
8 ounces (225g) chopped pancetta (or chopped ham or bacon)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon allspice
grated zest 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
butter or lard, for greasing
1 egg, beaten for glaze
1/2 pint (300ml) vegetable or 1/2 pint (300ml) chicken stock
11 g sachet gelatin powder
The pastry used in this pie recipe is hot water crust pastry, which is a direct descendant of "coffer" paste that was used to encase and protect meat whilst it cooked centuries ago – the pies then being called “coffyns”. The pastry is shaped by hand whilst it is still warm, and is excellent for using with intricate pie moulds - the technique is known as "hand raised" and pies made this way are called "raised pies".
HOT WATER CRUST PASTRY:
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, making a well in the centre.
Place the water, butter and lard into a saucepan, when the butter and lard has melted bring it all to the boil. Take off the heat.
Pour the mixture into the centre of the flour. Working very quickly, mix with a wooden spoon. Then knead with hands to produce a smooth and elastic dough. Allow to rest in a warm place for 15 to 20 minutes.
(This pastry must be used whilst still warm, otherwise it will become brittle and hard to mould. I keep mine in a small pan over gently simmering water.).
Proceed with your recipe, as below.
Place all the pie-filling ingredients in to a large mixing bowl, including the herbs, spices and seasonings. Mix thoroughly with your hands - it's messy, but it's the best way to get everything well amalgamated.
Heat the chicken or vegetable stock. Mix the gelatine with a little cold water until it is spongy and smooth, gradually add the hot stock to the gelatine and mix thoroughly. Set aside until it is needed
MAKING THE PIE:
Grease an 8" round loose-bottom pie/cake tin or a special decorative pie mould - grease it liberally with melted butter or lard.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 3.
Take two-thirds of the warm pastry, form into a large, flat disc and put in the bottom of the tin or pie mould. Gently press and mould until the pastry covers the base and sides of the tin, keeping it as even as possible. Fill the pastry pie case with the pie filling mixture - packing it down well.
Moisten the top edges of the pastry with the beaten egg. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut a circle or oblong to fit the top of the tin. Place over the filling and seal the edges, without pressing the pastry down too heavily. Trim the edges. Make a hole in the top centre of the pie and use any pastry trimmings to make pastry leaves and decorative trimmings. Press these onto the top of the pie and glaze the whole thing with beaten egg.
Now lay a sheet of foil over the top and bake for 2 hours, then remove from the oven. Leave the pie for 30-45 minutes to firm up, then turn up the oven temperature to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5. Carefully remove the pie from the tin and brush the pastry all over with the remaining beaten egg. If the sides show any sign of bulging, encircle the pie with a band of silicone paper (parchment) and tie with string.
Return the pie to the oven and as the pastry continues baking it will firm up (if you used the paper, you will gradually be able to peel it away, but add a little more egg to the unglazed parts) and all the pastry will brown – it will take approximately 30 minutes. As the top will brown before the sides, it will need to be protected with foil while the sides finish browning.
When the pie is golden brown, remove it from the oven, leave to cool, then cover and chill.
Meanwhile have the jellied stock warmed slightly (by sitting it in a bowl of hot water), then cool it to the syrupy stage and pour it into the pie very gradually through a funnel, in to the centre steam hole (as much as it will take). Chill again to give the jelly a chance to set and then – believe it or not – it's ready to serve.
Serve with assorted fresh salads, pickles, mustard, chutney and relishes. Will pie keep for up to 5 days in a cool place or the fridge.
This freezes very well, defrost overnight, sitting the pie on a wire rack to avoid the pastry becoming soggy.
Wrap the pie for a picnic in greaseproof paper and cut the pie into slices when you arrive at your destination.