Arguable the best component of Christmas dinner is the pigs in blankets – chipolatas wrapped in smoked streaky bacon. In our family they are always the first to go, and there never seems to be enough. B and I have had a fair few Christmas parties to go to this year and its always nice to turn up with something homemade. As I’m sure you’re aware I love any kind of pie, and so thought I would have a go at wrapping my favourite part of Christmas dinner in hot water crust pastry. I know it seems like a lot of work to make a free form pie, but it’s so worth it and much easier than you’d think– even if it does take up an entire afternoon. Anyway, this pie went down a treat, and so thought I’d share it, let me know what you think?
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
100g salted butter, cut into cubes
100g lard, cut into cubes
1.5 teaspoons of salt
475g plain flour
beaten egg to glaze
Grease 3 large storage jars with butter, and put them upside down on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the butter & pepper and rub together until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Put the lard, salt and water into a small saucepan and heat until the lard has dissolved. Now pour this into your breadcrumb mixture, with a wooden spoon and then with your hands until it forms a smooth dough. Cover with clingfilm and set aside for 30 minutes.
Once the pastry has cooled, divide into 3 chunks, and then set aside a further third from each chunk to reserve for the lid of your pie. Now form the each chunk around the jar thickly, making sure there’s no wholes or cracks. Move the jars to the fridge for 45-50 minutes whilst you prepare the filling.
1 jar of cranberry jelly
550g sausage meat
150g of smoked streaky bacon, chopped to 3cm chunks
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
1 medium egg, beaten
salt & pepper to season
The filling is pretty easy, simply combine all the ingredients except the cranberry sauce in a large mixing bowl, remember to be very generous with the seasoning, as its served as a cold pie not hot. Once the pastry cases have chilled, remove them from the fridge and turn them upright, pour boiling water into one of the jars, this melts the butter and helps you slide the jars from inside the pastry case with out it ripping (do this quickly as you don’t want the pastry to warm and loose its shape), repeat with the other two jars.
Now spoon the filling into the pie cases, and smother a thick layer of cranberry jelly on top (this acts as a replacement for the jelly you would normally see in a pork pie). Brush the pastry rims with beaten egg, and using the pastry set aside roll out some lids and crimp them in place. Cut a small hole in the top, brush the entire pie with beaten egg and move to a 180°C/fan 160°C/GM4 preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove, brush with egg and return to the oven for 15 minutes, and then do this again and cook for another 15 minutes before removing from the oven to cool. Allow 2-3 hours before serving, as this pie is at its best when its cold. Enjoy.