Having decided to be wheat free, pastry is one of the things I find most difficult to be without. Worst of all, I love pork pies and a gluten / wheat free pork pie is one thing I haven’t found anywhere. So, we decided to make one using a combination of a number of recipes.
Ingredients in italics we’ve grown ourselves (maybe from the freezer).
Ingredients (a large pie)
- 12 oz pork shoulder
- 4 belly pork slices
- 4 smoked/unsmoked back bacon slices
- 4 anchovy filets
- 2 tsps chopped fresh sage leaves
- 1 tsp allspice
- Salt (optional depending on how salty you like it and how salty the bacon/anchovy fillets are)
Ingredients for Hot Water Pastry
- 8 oz gluten free plain flour
- 0.5 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 egg
- 3 oz butter
- Pinch salt
- 6 fluid ounces hot water
- One extra egg to wash the pastry
- A seven or eight inch cake tin for the pie.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4/170C for a fan oven.
To make the filling, remove any rind from the bacon, belly pork and shoulder and cut into fairly small pieces. Put into a food processor and pulse it to chop the mixture fairly finely. The size of the lumps will determine how coarse the eventual filling is so pulse it carefully because it needs to be the right texture, neither too fine nor too coarse.
Chop the sage and anchovy fillets; grate the nutmeg. Now tip the meat into a bowl and add the chopped sage, anchovy fillets, allspice, nutmeg and pepper. It needs to be well seasoned, but we didn’t add any salt as the bacon & anchovies are usually quite salty and we don’t usually add salt to any cooking.
Mix it well, using your hands is best.
If you want, now is the time to test the mixture by frying a small patty of meat, taste it and correct the seasonning. (However, to be honest, we didn’t taste it and the result was excellent).
Line the cake tin with greaseproof paper or baking parchment, leaving some as handles to lift the pie out of the cake tin when its cooked.
Making the pastry is “interesting”.
Mix the flour, egg, xanthan gum and salt in a bowl. Put the water and butter in a saucepan and bring it to the boil making sure that the butter is dissolved. Pour the water and butter into the bowl and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until it seems mixed well. Whilst the mixture is still warm tip it out onto a lightly floured board and knead it until its smooth. (You’ll need to do this quite quickly as its important that the pastry is warm at this point).
The pastry will be sticky and it will be fun to handle (it sticks to your hands, flour them or make sure they are wet when handling).
Divide the pastry into 1/3 for the lid and 2/3 for the base of the pie.
Line the tin by dividing the pastry into balls and working the balls of pastry into the base and sides of the tin. (we tried rolling the pastry between two layers of greaseproof paper but it becomes impossible to handle).
Tip the meat into the lined cake tin and then roll the lid pastry between two layers of baking parchment until its the right size to make the lid. Brush the edges of the lid with beaten egg and then turn it onto the base egg side down. Crimp the edges of the lid and base of the pastry to seal it. Make a hole in the middle of the lid so that it can vent as it cooks. Paint an egg wash over the top.
Place the cake tin on a baking tray to catch any fat that cooks out of the pie and put the pie into the centre of the oven and cook it for approximately 40 minutes, checking after 35 minutes to see if its cooked.
If it seems well cooked, take it out of the oven, turn the oven down by 10C and leave it to cool for about 10 minutes. Take the pie out of the cake tin using the “handles” you left on the tin lining and place the pie on the baking sheet using the lining from the cake tin to prevent the pie from sticking.
Paint the outside of the pie with an egg wash and return the pie to the oven for a further 30 minutes. At this point it should be cooked, test by putting a skewer into the meat, any fat should run clear. Don’t test the pie too soon otherwise the fat will run out early.
When its cooked fully, put the pie onto a wire rack and leave it to cool.
The result was excellent, the pastry had taken up just the right amount of stickiness. The only problem we had was that we tested it with a skewer too soon and so the fat cooked out of the meat and marked the lid.
We’ve found that the pie freezes well and is nice with hot baked beans.
This is a recipe I would recommend, it was similar enough to a normal pork pie that you wouldn’t have to do anything special for people who were not wheat free.