A proper pork pie filled with meat an jelly, in a traditional hot water crust pastry, is a truely wonderful thing to eat. Served cold, as part of a ploughman’s lunch, with a dollop of chutney and a bowl of pickled onions, a pork pie makes a meal fit for a king. And they are easier to make than you might think. Read on for full details of how to make a pork pie at home (including the jelly).
A brief history of Melton Mowbray pork pies
The most famous of British pork pies are made in Melton Mowbray, a market town in Leicestershire, England. They were originally made around 1831, almost 200 years ago, by a baker named Edward Adcock. Other bakers soon followed suit, and the Melton Mobray pork pie was born.
Unfortunately, large commercial companies started mass production of Melton Mowbray pork pies, sometimes deviating from the original recipe. As a result of this the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association applied to the European Union for protection to prevent the name being used with non-genuine Melton Mowbray pies. Protection was granted in April 2008, and as a result only pies made within a 10 square mile of Melton Mowbray, using the original recipe, can now be named Melton Mowbray pork pies.
Traditional Melton Mowbray Pork Pies are still being made today by a company called Dickenson and Morris, from their shop, Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe. Their original shop was first opened in 1851.
The recipe I’m sharing here today is my version of a pork pie, with hard-boiled eggs. I hope you enjoy it!
Pork Pie with Egg
A well-made pork pie is one of my favourite things to eat. I’m not talking about the rather meh offerings that you can buy in the supermarkets (with the exception of the Melton Mowbray pork pie of course), but a proper pork pie, with chunky meat surrounded by loads of flavoursome jelly and a pastry that just melts in your mouth.
And if it has a boiled egg running through the middle of it – then so much the better!
I’ve always been a bit daunted at the thought of making my own pork pies, because I was a bit unsure of how to work with gelatine to get the stock to set around the pork. So I did some experimenting in the kitchen and came up with a recipe for a homemade pork pie, that you can make without messing around with gelatine.
This is what I learned
- A cheap pork hock (or knuckle) is the ideal cut of meat to use. Because a pork hock contains lots of connective tissue and is cooked on the bone, all the gelatine from the meat cooks out into the stock. As this stock cools, it sets into a delicious jelly which is perfect for using in a pork pie.
- The meat from a pork hock is very tender and juicy. Just try this recipe for crispy pork knuckle and you’ll see what I mean.
- If you cook the pork hock in a pressure cooker it will only take about 45 minutes – so it’s quick to make.
- Adding a few vegetables and spices to the pork as it cooks increases the flavour of the stock. Squeeze the vegetables through a sieve after cooking for extra flavour and goodness.
- It’s economical – one pork hock is sufficient for an 8″ x 3″ loaf pan, which will easily feed 4 people.
- If you are using hard-boiled eggs in the pork pie, be careful where you make the hole in the pastry to pour in the jelly. If you make the hole on top of the egg, the egg will get in the way of the funnel prevent the jelly from pouring in (see picture below).
Hot water pastry crust
You need a nice solid pastry or a pork pie, and the best pastry to use is a hot water crust pastry. In effect, this is a twice-baked pastry. The shortening and water are boiled before being mixed with the flour, and this starts the cooking process. Then the pastry is filled with the meat before it is placed in the oven, for a second cooking.
Add some boiled eggs
A layer of hard-boiled eggs down the centre of the pie makes a delicious addition. You can leave these out if you prefer.
How to make a pork pie with egg
You can get the complete recipe on the printable recipe card below.
First gather your ingredients
Pork pie filling
- A large pork hock, weighing approximately 1kg or 2 1/4 pounds
- A carrot, an onion and a stick of celery – remove the skin from the onion and wash the carrot and celery. There is no need to peel the carrot.
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional) and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- A good grinding of black pepper
- 2 cups water
- 3 hard-boiled eggs (shelled)
Hot water crust
- 225g plain flour (1 1/2 cups) – don’t use self-raising flour, this pastry does not need to rise.
- 75g lard – it has to be lard, not butter.
- 75ml water and 25ml milk
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
Cook the pork
- Place all the ingredients for the filling in a pressure cooker and let it cook on the highest setting for 40 minutes. I normally set it for 30 minutes and then release the steam and take a look. If the meat is not quite done, set the timer for another 10 minutes and cook it again.
- If you don’t have a pressure cooker, don’t worry, you can cook the meat in a large saucepan with a tightly fitting lid. Just add an extra cup of water to allow for evapouration, bring it to the boil and then let it simmer for about an hour and a half. If it does start to boil dry add more water. The aim is to end up with about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of stock which will be used to make the jelly.
- The hock will be cooked when the fat is translucent and the meat has pulled back from the bone. You should be able to insert a fork easily without any pressure, and the juices should run clear.
Prepare the filling and jelly
- Remove the cooked meat from the pan and allow to cool.
- Once the meat is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and fat and discard. Pull the meat from the bones and then chop into a fine dice, about 1/2cm in size. Set aside while you prepare the jelly.
- To prepare the jelly, strain the cooking juices through a sieve into a large bowl. Press the vegetables through the sieve at the same time to get out all the goodness. Discard whatever does not press through the sieve.
- You will need at least 1 and 1/2 cups of strained liquid. If you do not have sufficient you can top up with a little water. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- If you allow this stock to cool completely, it will set into a solid jelly and you won’t be able to pour it into the pie. If this happens, just pop it in the microwave for a minute and then stir well. It should return to a liquid form.
Prepare the baking pan
- The ingredients for this recipe are sufficient for a small loaf tin measuring about 8″ x 3″.
- Grease the sides of the loaf tin lightly with sunflower oil, then cut a 3″ wide strip of baking parchment and use it to line the loaf tin lengthwise.
- Let the baking parchment stick out at each end of the loaf tin. This will enable you to remove the pie easily from the loaf tin once it is cooked.
Make the hot water crust
- Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
- Melt the lard in the milk and water and bring to the boil.
- As soon as all the lard has melted, pour it into the flour and mix vigourously with a wooden spoon until the mixture starts to come together.
- Tip it out onto a floured surface and knead briefly until the dough is smooth. Take 2/3 of the dough and roll it out into a rectangular shape large enough to fit into the loaf tin. The pastry should be about 1/8″ thick, or the thickness of a £1 coin.
- Line the loaf tin with the pastry, making sure the pastry comes right to the top of the tin.
Put the filling in the pie
- Place half of the chopped meat in a layer on the bottom of the loaf tin.
- Arrange the boiled eggs on top and cover with the final layer of meat.
- Roll the remainig 1/3 of the pastry into a rectangle (about 1/8″ in thickness) and use it to form a lid.
- Crimp the edges of the pastry to seal tightly.
- If you have any left-over pastry, use it to form decorative leaves for the top of the pie.
Add the jelly mixture
- Make 2 holes in the top of the pie using a chopstick. Be careful where you make the holes. Try not to make them on top of the eggs or you will have difficulty getting the stock to run through the funnel.
- My holes were directly on top of the eggs and I had difficulty getting all the jelly in. In hindsight, it would be a good idea to make the holes slightly off-centre, away from the eggs.
- The holes serve two purposes – firstly they enable you to pour in the jelly, and secondly they let the steam escape from the pie as it bakes.
- Pour the jelly through the funnel into the pie so that it fills all the gaps between the meat.
- Brush the top of the pie liberally with beaten egg to encourage a nice brown shiny finish
- Place in a pre-heated oven (190C / 375F) for 40 minutes until the pie is golden brown.
- Lift the pie from the loaf tin, using the parchment paper. Check that the sides are nicely browned. If not, replace the pie in the loaf tin and return it to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- This pie is best eaten cold.
Your questions answered
Yes, you can freeze a pork pie for up to 3 months.
Wrap it in tinfoil and then in a layer of clingfilm or a large freezer bag and place in the freezer.
Leave in the refrigerator until completely defrosted before eating. Once defrosted, consume within 3 days.
Originally, the jelly was poured into the pork pies to fill the air pockets, which aided in the preservation of the meat. Even though we now have refrigerators and freezers to keep food fresh, this tradition has continued.
A pork pie is normally eaten cold, served with pickled onions and chutney.
You can turn it into a light meal by serving with salads, such as chopped tomato and lettuce, or potato salad. See my post on how to make mayonnaise which includes a potato salad recipe.
A slice of pork pie would go really well with orzo pasta summer salad, or why not take some on a picnic with homemade scotch eggs and my crustless vegetable quiche.
Convert your recipes
To help you convert your recipes, I have created a handy Cookery Conversion Calculator which will convert ingredients between grams, ounces, tablespoons, cups and millilitres. I hope you will find it useful.
If you live at a high altitude you may find you need to adjust your baking recipes to compensate for this. You can read about how to do this in this post on baking at high altitudes.
Recipe – How to make a pork pie
How to make a pork pie
- Pressure Cooker
- Mixing bowl
- Spatula OR wooden spoon
- Rolling Pin
- 8" x 3" loaf tin
Pork pie filling
- 1 kg pork hock approx 2¼ lb.
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 medium onion
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups water
- 3 large hard-boiled eggs
Hot Water Crust
- 225 g plain flour 1½ cups or 375 ml
- 75 g lard
- 75 ml water
- 25 ml milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
Cook the pork and make the jelly
- Place all ingredients for the pork into a pressure cooker and cook on the highest setting for 40 minutes.
- Release the pressure and remove the pork from the pressure cooker. Allow to cool.
- Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve into a bowl. Press the vegetables through the sieve and add. There should be at least 1½ cups of liquid. Top up with water if necessary.
- Remove the skin and excess fat from the pork and discard. Chop the remaining meat into a fine dice, approximately ½ cm pieces.
Prepare the baking pan
- Grease an 8" x 3" loaf tin lightly with a few drops of sunflower oil.
- Cut a strip of baking parchment into a long 3" wide strip and line the loaf tin lengthwise. This will aid in removing the cooked pie from the tin.
Hot water pastry
- Melt 75g lard with 75 ml water and 25 ml milk in a saucepan then bring to the boil.
- Sift 225 g flour into a mixing bowl and add the boiling lard/water mixture.
- Mix well to combine
- Tip out onto a floured board and knead lightly until smooth.
Assemble the pie
- Pre-heat the oven to 190°C / 375°F
- Roll out ⅔ of the dough into a rectangle about ⅛" thick and use it to line the loaf tin.
- Place half of the chopped meat in the loaf tin. Arrange 3 boiled eggs on top and cover with the remaining meat.
- Roll the remaining ⅓ of pastry into a rectangle about ⅛" thick and place it on top of the pie to form a lid.
- Crimp the edges of the pie together to seal tightly. Decorate with leaf shapes cut from any leftover pastry.
- Use a chopstick to make 2 holes in the top of the pie and then using a funnel, pour the strained stock through the holes so that the pie is completely filled.
- Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg the place it in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes until the pie crust is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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