Piggy pies

Serves Makes 12 Starters and mains

Decnice5

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Ingredients

  • 12 quail’s eggs
  • 225g lean minced pork
  • 100g dry-cure bacon or pancetta, minced or finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 3tbsp sandwich pickle
  • 2tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 4tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 400g basic shortcrust pastry (see after)
  • 1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt, to glaze
  • 9cm round pastry cutter
  • 7cm round pastry cutter
  • 12-hole muffin pan

Method

Prick the shell at the wide end of each quail’s egg with a pin – this prevents the eggs cracking as they cook. Soft-boil the eggs in boiling water for 2 minutes 45 seconds. Drain, then cool under running water until completely cold. Carefully peel off the shells under cold running water and keep eggs submerged in a bowl of cold water until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F/Gas 6. To make the filling, put the minced pork, bacon or pancetta, onion, pickle, dried herbs and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Mix using your hands or a wooden spoon and season with a little salt and plenty of pepper.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 3-4mm. Cut 12 rounds with the large pastry cutter, and 12 rounds for the lids with the small cutter.

Carefully press the large rounds into the muffin pan’s holes, making sure they reach the top. Half-fill each with pork filling, top with an egg, then add another layer of filling, carefully tucked around the egg.

Brush the inside edges of each filled pie with a little beaten egg and place a lid on top, pressing the edges together to seal. Trim if necessary. Make a hole in the top of each pie (try using the tip of a metal piping nozzle), brush the tops with more beaten egg and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3 and cook for a further 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden and the filling is cooked through. Cool on a wire rack, then wrap in greaseproof paper and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Basic shortcrust pastry MAKES ABOUT 400G

Classic shortcrust pastry is made with half butter and half lard – the butter for colour and flavour and the lard for shortness. The quantity of water to add varies according to the humidity of the flour. Always add less to begin with – you can always add more if it is dry.

Main ingredients :
* 250g plain flour
* 50g lard (or white cooking fat/shortening), chilled and diced
* 75g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
* 2-3tbsp ice-cold water

The traditional method is to sift the flour and a pinch of salt together into a large mixing bowl. Add the lard and butter and rub in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add enough water to bring the pastry together, and stir in.
Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly to bring the dough together. Shape into a flattened ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling out and using in the recipe.
This pastry is best made by hand. If using a food processor, first sift the flour and salt together into the bowl of the machine. Add the lard and butter and process for about 30 seconds until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Pour in 2tbsp of water and pulse for 10 seconds. The dough should start to come together in large raggy lumps. If not, add 1tbsp of water and pulse again. As soon as the dough forms one big lump (don’t overprocess or the pastry will be tough), tip it onto a lightly floured surface, then follow the same procedure as for handmade pastry.

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