"Sitting down with a pork pie and a pint of beer is as good as it gets."

Pork Pie

Yield: 4 Pies

Ingredients:

  • 11⁄4 pounds pork shoulder
  • 5 ounces pork belly
  • 5 ounces bacon
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons Vulcan’s Fire Salt (available online)
  • 11⁄2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, toasted and ground
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon mace, toasted and ground
  • 11⁄2 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • 3 tablespoons chopped sage
  • Pinch of ground bay leaf
  • 1⁄4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1⁄2 cup rendered pork lard
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • For the egg wash...
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • To finish...
  • 6 tablespoons cooking liquid from headcheese
  • Grainy mustard
  • Cornichons

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

To make the fillling: Cut the pork shoulder, belly, and bacon into 1∕3-inch cubes. Combine them in a large mixing bowl with the sea salt, Vulcan’s Fire Salt, pepper, mace, thyme, sage, and bay leaf. Continue mixing with your hands for another 5 minutes. (It’s very important that this be mixed well.)

Test the mixture to see if it is well mixed: form a quarter-size piece and set it in a small pan. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Taste and add salt to the filling mixture, if needed. It should taste slightly salty since the flavor will be muted when served cold. Separate the filling into 4 equal pieces, form into balls, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the dough: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, lard, and the 1∕2 cup water. When completely melted, remove the pot from the heat. Set aside.

Add the flour to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Start the mixer on low speed and slowly add the butter-lard mixture. Continue to mix the dough for 3 minutes.

When the dough is no longer warm to the touch, add the egg. Continue mixing for another 2 to 3 minutes. Measure out four 4-ounce balls of dough and leave the leftover dough in the mixer bowl. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball to 1∕4 inch thick and 8 inches in diameter. Set aside. Gather the remaining dough and roll it out to 1∕4 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Using a 4-inch ring cutter, cut 1 circle out of each of the four 5-inch circles of dough. Then use a 1∕2-inch cutter to cut a circle out of the center of each of the 4-inch dough circles. These circles with small holes will become the pie “lids.”

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Coat four 4-inch springform pans with a thin layer of cooking spray. Gently lay each rolled-out ball of dough in a pan, pushing the dough all the way down into the bottom of the mold and up the sides to extend about 1∕2 inch above the rim. Place a chilled pork ball in each mold and top each one with one of the pie lids. Then, using your thumb and forefinger, crimp together the edges of the bottom crust and lid pieces until the entire pie is completely sealed. Repeat for the other 3 pies.

To make the egg wash: In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Lightly brush the top of each pie with the egg wash. Place the pies on a baking sheet and bake for 3 hours, rotating the pies every hour. Set the pies on a cooling rack and let cool completely. Carefully pour 2 tablespoons of the headcheese-cooking liquid into each of the pork pies through the holes in the lids. Set aside to cool completely. Serve the pork pies cold with the mustard and pickles on the side.