Little Pies- Pork Duck Bacon

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It doesn't take much to please some of the people some of the time, but when I teach my Camp Charcuterie students to make these little pies, everyone is happy. I teach them as a way to use the trim, the little bits of pork, or a spare duck breast by wrapping them in a sturdy and delicious hot water crust. Crusty, steaming, golden with an egg wash with juices flowing over the edges, my pies are deliberating home-made looking. Perfection is for shops. I want mine to look like grand-mères kitchen. So don't be nervous, take the plunge and make a few pies today, you'll be happy at lunch tomorrow. 

This Hot Water Crust is a good all around recipe for all kinds of savory pies. It absorbs some added fat from the meat, goes crisp and crusty on the outside, holds up to staying safely in the refrigerator after it's baked.

Hot Water Crust- 

  • 500 g all-purpose flour  (100%)
  • 200 g fat ( 100% lard or 50% butter & 50% lard)  (40%)
  • 150g very hot water  (30%)
  • pinch of salt
  • one egg for egg wash 

Measure the flour into a bowl. Measure the fat and salt into a bowl. Pour hot water onto fat and stir until melted. Add the water/fat to the flour and mix together. Knead a few minutes until smooth. Set aside to cool while making the filling. I usually don't refrigerate. Makes enough for several small pies

Pie Filling

  • 1000 g meat trimmed and cut into small pieces for the grinder ( 70-30 lean to fatty ratio as in lean pork and belly or duck breast and pork belly)
  • 100 g onion peeled and quarter
  • 100 g liver 
  • 20 g salt
  • 3 g black pepper 
  • 1 egg
  • 50 g cream 

Weigh and measure the first 5 ingredients (meat, onion, liver, salt and pepper) and mix together. Grind on a 6-8mm plate. Add the egg and cream and mix together well until very sticky. I used small ramekins and mini-terrines here all holding about 250g of mixture. 

Roll out the Goldilocks pastry, not too thin, not too thick, and line the terrines pressing the pastry into the bottom corners. Reserve enough pastry for the tops. Fill plumply with meat, brush the edges with egg wash and place the pastry lid on the top. Seal the edges well by pressing with your fingers or a fork, making a steam vent in the center. I use a chopstick! Finally, brush the top with egg wash.

Bake at 200'C/ 410'C for 1.5 hour and make sure the crust is deep golden brown all over- the bottom, too. Internal temperature must reach 75'C/ 165'F for at least 10 minutes. However, a large terrine or pie might take 2 hours. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes, remove from the terrines, then wrap in parchment or other paper and place in the refrigerator until needed. These little plumb pies also freeze well and can be taken on a picnic and eaten at room temperature or reheated.

Kate Hill