Wednesday, January 9, 2013
English Pork Pies
This past weekend begged for a hearty meat pie for two reasons: 1.) we're deep into winter (I even had to break out the puffy coat for a few days!) and 2.) Sunday was the American premiere of Season 3 of Downton Abbey. Being a law-abiding citizen, I had been patiently waiting in earnest to see what snappy quips my favorite Dowager Countess would have for us this year, and it only seemed right to make mini English meat pies to eat alongside the Crawley family dinner.
For the cheddar crust:
2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
14 tbsp Crisco shortening
4 oz (about 1 1/2 cups) finely shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup ice water
1 egg for final egg wash
**Mini pie tins - I used my new Mini Cup Pie Set from Williams-Sonoma
*Mix flour, sugar, salt, shortening and cheese together with until coarse and crumbly. Slowly add the ice water and knead by hand until doughy. Form into a disc, wrap with parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
For the pork filling:
1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
1 lb ground pork
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp each of salt, pepper, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and fresh sage
*Heat apple slices over low heat until they are soft and browned, then set aside. Add oil to the pan and saute onions, pork, sugar and spices until fully cooked and most of the oil is cooked off.
*While meat is cooling in the pan, unwrap the dough and roll out on a floured surface. Cut out four discs that are just slightly larger than the inside of your pie cups (I have a glass bowl that works perfectly) and save the remaining dough for the top crusts. Press the dough firmly into the cups and let any excess dough flap over the edges. Fill the tins with the pork and onion mixture, then top with a healthy layer of apples. Cut out four more circles that are a bit smaller than the first circles (again, finding a bowl or large cup as a stencil works well) and place over each mini pie, pressing the two crusts together with fingers or a fork. Cut two slits in the top crust to vent, and brush with egg wash if desired. Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes, until crust is golden brown.