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The perfect Christmas gift for you or a loved one
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).