It’s the beginning of a new week, and most of us are trudging off to work again. In the middle of the day, we’ll sit down to a lunch that, if we’re lucky, will consist of something delicious and homemade, and if we’re not, will be a sad sandwich or cook-in-the-microwave instant soup. Time to break the rut with something slighly indulgent and highly portable, like classic pork pies. They’re simple to cook up over the weekend (I make big batches at a time and we eat them all week for lunch or for dinner, with a salad), last a while, and are made with very cheap ingredients. Win all around!
Hot Water Pastry
1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 large egg
3 1/2 tsp unsalted butter
3 1/2 tsp shortening or lard*
1/3 cup water
Sift or whisk together the flour and salt and make a well in the middle. Crack the egg into the well and sprinkle some of the flour over the egg to cover it.
Put the butter, lard, and water in a small pan and heat gently. Once the solids have melted, bring the mixture to a boil.
Pour the boiling water adn fat around the ege of the bowl of flour and quickly stir everything together using a table knife. Knead the dough lightly until smooth (it’ll be very soft at this point). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
* If you really want to indulge, replace 1 T of the shortening or lard with the same amount of rendered bacon fat. Healthy? No. Incredibly delicious? Oh God, yes.
1 recipe hot water pastry
1 1/2 lbs ground pork
6-8 sage leaves, chopped
salt and pepper
2 egg yolks, mixed with 1 T water
Combine the pork, sage leaves, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and set aside about 1/3 of it for pie lids. Roll out reh remaining pastry until it’s about 1/8″ thick. Cut out four 5 to 5 1/2″ diameter circles. Roll out the lid pastry and cut out four 2 3/4″ circles. Recombine the pastry, roll it out again, and cut out as many more bottom and lid circles as you can.
Take one larger circle and place a ball of the pork mixture in the middle of it. Brush the edge with some of the egg and water mixture. Place a lid circle on the top and bring the bottom up to meet it. Pinch the bottom and lid pastry together, gathering the bottom pastry like pleats to fit around the top lid if necessary. Crimp the edges to make them look pretty. Repeat with the remaining pies. Place all the pies in the refrigerator until the pastry feels firm again.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cut a steam hole in the top of all the pies. Place them in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove them and brush them all over with the egg wash. Reduce teh oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking until the pastry is ooked and the pie is hot all the way through, 20-30 minutes. Test the pies by sticking a metal skewer in the center for a few seconds, then holding it against your palm. If the skewer feels hot, the pies should be done. Let them cool on a wire rack and enjoy!