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Crusty Pork Pie

8 ounces pork loin
25 ounces pork shoulder
9 ounces thinly cut streaky bacon rashers
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon allspice berries
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups fresh vegetable stock
2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
1 tablespoon very finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

1 pound plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
6 ounces butter, chopped
beaten egg, to glaze

Trim all the fat from the loin chops and cut the fat into pieces.
Cut the lean meat into small dice and reserve. Chop the shoulder
steaks into cubes Cut half the bacon into pieces. Put the cubed
shoulder, trimmed loin chop fat and bacon pieces into a food
processor and coarsely chop. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

Coarsely crush the peppercorns and allspice in a pestle and mortar,
or in a cup with the end of a rolling pin. Add to the minced meat
with the sage, nutmeg, diced pork loin and salt. Mix thoroughly.
This is best done with your hands, squeezing the mixture through
your fingers until everything is evenly distributed.

Preheat the oven to 200:C. Lightly butter a 7-inch deep loose-based
round tin. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl; make a well in the
centre. Put the butter in a pan with 7 fluid ounces water. Slowly
bring to the boil until the butter is melted, then tip it quickly
into the well, mixing quickly with a wooden spoon to form a soft
dough.

Cover the bowl with plastic film and leave the dough for about 3
to 4 minutes (no longer) until cool enough to handle. Cut off about
two thirds of dough. Keep the smaller piece covered. Roll the larger
piece to a 12-inch round. Lift up on a rolling pin and drape over
the tin. Ease the pastry into the tin using your hands, keeping
the pastry as smooth as possible.

Ease the pastry up the tin to give you an overhang at the top of
about 1 inch. Line the inside of the pastry case with the remaining
bacon rashers, then pack the filling into the centre, moulding it
up in the centre.

Roll out three quarters of the remaining pastry to fit the top of
the pie. Brush the pastry edges with water and cover the pie.
Pinch the edges to seal. Trim off the excess pastry, then pinch
all round between your fingers and thumb to give a decorative edge.

Make a 3/4-inch hole in the centre of the pie with the point of a
sharp knife. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg. RolI out
the pastry trimmings and cut out eight bay leaf shapes. Mark leaf
veins with the tip of a sharp pointed knife, then arrange the leaves
on top of the pie around the central hole in two layers of four.

Brush the top again with egg. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the
heat to 160:C and bake for a further 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pie
from the oven and leave to cool for 30 minutes, then carefully
remove from the tin and leave to cool completely. Heat the stock
to boiling point, then whisk in the gelatine until it has dissolved.
Leave to cool a little, then stir in the herbs. When cold, but not
set, carefully pour from a jug into the pie through the hole in
the top. Leave to set.

WHAT CAN GO WRONG?

THE FILLING IS DRY A pork pie needs a certain amount of fat to keep
the filling moist and give it flavour. Don't use all lean pork as
the shoulder steaks will give you just the balance of lean and fat
you need for good results.

NO ROOM FOR JELLY If all the jelly won't go into the pie, tap it
on the worktop to help the jelly settle; add more until it reaches
the top.

JELLY LEAKS OUT If there is a crack in the raw pastry it will open
out as it cooks. Before filling, patch any cracks with a scrap of
pastry, pinching it well to seal.

PASTRY IS HARD TO ROLL As the pastry cools it becomes firmer. If
you leave it too long it starts to lose its elasticity, so use it
once it is cool enough for you to touch. If the pastry does go too
far, it can't be saved, so start again.

IF THE PASTRY BROWNS TOO QUICKLY Cover the top with foil and continue
baking.

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