Pork & rabbit pie

Prep: 1 hr Cook: 1 hr, 20 mins plus cooling and 6 hrs 30 mins chilling

A challenge

Cuts into 20 squares
Wrap a meaty filling, studded with juicy dried apricots, in a hot water pastry crust for a truly British dish, perfect for a buffet, party or picnic

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per square

  • kcal495
  • fat28g
  • saturates11g
  • carbs36g
  • sugars3g
  • fibre3g
  • protein23g
  • salt0.7g
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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter, plus a little extra, softened, to finish
    Butter

    Butter

    butt-err

    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 2 onions, chopped
    Onion

    Onion

    un-yun

    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 800g good-quality pork mince
  • 375g pork belly, cut into 1-2cm cubes
  • 500g rabbit, off the bone, diced into 1-2cm cubes
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground mace
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp English mustard powder
  • 100g dried apricots, diced
  • small pack flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

For the hot water crust

  • 900g plain flour
  • 350g lard, cubed, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 large egg, beaten
    Eggs

    Egg

    egg

    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

For the jelly

  • 7 gelatine leaves
  • up to 400ml chicken stock

Method

  1. Start with the pie filling. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Add the onions and cook for 10-15 mins until soft, but not coloured. Leave to cool, then put in a big mixing bowl with the pork mince, pork belly, rabbit, nutmeg, mace, mustard seeds and powder, apricots and parsley. Add 1 tsp freshly ground pepper and 2 tsp salt, then use your hands to mix really well, squishing everything together. Cover and put in the fridge until ready to use.

  2. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Lightly grease a 20 x 30cm tin with a removable bottom with lard (or use a shallow 22-23cm round springform or loose-based tin), then line the bottom with a piece of baking parchment. To make the pastry, mix the flour with 2 tsp salt in a big bowl and make a well in the centre. Heat the lard and 400ml water in a saucepan on a low heat. Once the lard has melted, turn up the heat and bring to the boil. As soon as the liquid is boiling, pour it into the flour well, then mix with a wooden spoon into a dough – you may have to knead a few times with your hands to a smooth dough, but wait until the pastry is cool enough to handle.

  3. Working quickly while the pastry is still soft, roll two-thirds of it on a lightly floured surface until big enough to line the base and sides of the tin with an overhang. If any tears or holes appear, patch them as well as you can with scraps of pastry – it’s important to plug any gaps for when the jelly is poured in. Tip in the filling and flatten the top.

  4. Roll out the remaining pastry large enough to make a lid. Brush the edges of the pie with a little of the egg, then lift and stick the pastry lid on top. Trim some of the overhanging pastry with scissors and pinch the rest to seal – make sure the pastry is inside the edge of the tin or you won’t be able to lift it out at the end. Make a large hole in the centre of the pie, and smaller holes about 1cm in from each corner. Pop in metal piping nozzles if you have them – this will keep the holes open and help you fill it later. Decorate the pie with pastry scraps, cut into leaf shapes, and brush the top with more egg. Sit the pie tin on a big baking sheet and add 4 more pastry leaves to the sheet to cover the corner holes once the pie is done.

  5. Bake the pie for 1 hr. Check the extra leaves 20-30 mins into the cooking time and remove once they are golden. Remove the pie after 1 hr and if there is any liquid bubbling around the pastry, carefully tip this into a jug (save for the stock) so the pastry can dry out. Leave the pie to cool for 20-30 mins until stable, then remove the tin sides and brush the pastry on the top and sides with another layer of egg before baking for a further 15 mins to crisp up. Leave to cool completely, then chill for a few hours.

  6. For the jelly, soak the gelatine in cold water for 10 mins until the leaves soften. If you have any juices saved from the pie, top up with stock to 400ml. Heat a quarter of the stock in a saucepan until just steaming, then take off the heat. Squeeze out the gelatine leaves and stir, one by one, into the stock. When the leaves have dissolved, stir back into the rest of the stock. Leave the stock at room temperature until cold. Check the pastry for any holes – if you find any, fill with a little softened butter to seal. Use a funnel to gradually pour the stock into the pie through the holes until full, then return to the fridge and chill for at least 3 hrs until the jelly is set. Scrape off any excess butter that has been used to plug the holes, cover the corner holes with the extra pastry leaves, and chill for up to 48 hrs (see tip).

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