Traditional Hand-Raised Chicken and Ham Pie
Yields: 8 to 10 servings
For the Hot Water Crust Pastry:
- 1 pound (450g) of plain flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 3 ounces (75g) of butter
- 4 ounces (116g) of lard or 4 ounces (115g) of white vegetable fat
- 4 fluid ounces of milk and 4 fluid ounces of water, mixed in equal proportions
For the Pie Filling:
- 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into half-inch cubes
- 1 pound (450g) of good-quality pork sausage, casings discarded and crumbled into pieces
- 8 ounces (225g) of chopped pancetta (or chopped ham or bacon)
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage leaves
- 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground mace
- 1/4 teaspoon of allspice
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- A teaspoon and a half of recently crushed black pepper
- Butter or lard, for greasing
- 1 beaten egg for glaze
For the Jellied Stock:
- 1/2 pint (300ml) of vegetable or chicken stock
- 11g sachet of gelatin powder
Note: The pastry used in this pie recipe is hot water crust pastry, a direct descendant of the ancient "coffer" paste used to encase and protect meat during centuries past. These pies were once known as "coffyns." The pastry is molded by hand while it is still warm, and this technique, known as "hand raised," results in "raised pies."
Step 1 - Hot Water Crust Pastry:
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, creating a well in the center.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter and lard in the mixed milk and water until boiling. Remove from heat.
- Quickly pour the hot mixture into the well of flour. Mix rapidly with a wooden spoon and then knead with your hands to form a smooth and elastic dough. Let it sit in a warm location for a quarter to half an hour.
- Keep the pastry warm over gentle simmering water until ready for use.
Step 2 - Pie Filling:
- Combine all pie-filling ingredients, including herbs, spices, and seasonings, in a large mixing bowl. Thoroughly blend by hand to guarantee uniform incorporation.
Step 3 - Jellied Stock:
- Heat the chicken or vegetable stock. Mix the gelatin with a little cold water until it becomes spongy and smooth. Gradually add the hot stock to the gelatin, mixing thoroughly. Set aside for later use.
Step 4 - Making the Pie:
- Grease an 8" round loose-bottom pie/cake tin or a special decorative pie mold generously with melted butter or lard.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas Mark 3).
Step 5 - Constructing the Pie:
- Take two-thirds of the warm pastry and shape it into a large, flat disc to fit the bottom of the tin or pie mold. Gently press and mold the pastry to cover the base and sides evenly.
- Fill the pastry pie case with the pie filling mixture, packing it down firmly.
- Dampen the upper edges of the pastry using the beaten egg. Roll out the remaining pastry to create a circle or oblong shape that fits the top of the tin. Place it over the filling and seal the edges without applying excessive pressure. Trim any excess pastry.
- Create a hole in the center of the pie's top and use remaining pastry trimmings to craft decorative leaves and trimmings. Attach them to the top of the pie and brush the entire surface with beaten egg.
Step 6 - Baking the Pie:
- Cover the pie with foil and bake for 2 hours. Afterward, remove it from the oven and let it sit for 30-45 minutes to firm up.
- Increase the oven temperature to 190°C (375°F/Gas Mark 5). Gently extract the pie from the tin and apply a coat of the remaining beaten egg evenly across the pastry. If the sides appear to be bulging, wrap a strip of silicone paper (parchment) around the pie and secure it with string.
- Return the pie to the oven. As it continues baking, the pastry will firm up. If you used parchment, you can gradually peel it away, applying a bit more egg to the unglazed portions. The entire pastry should brown, which should take approximately 30 minutes. If the top browns before the sides, shield it with foil while allowing the sides to finish browning.
Step 7 - Cooling and Setting:
- Once the pie has achieved a golden brown hue, take it out of the oven. Allow it to cool, cover it, and place it in the refrigerator.
Step 8 - Jellied Stock Finish:
- Warm the jellied stock slightly by placing it in a bowl of hot water. Let it cool until it reaches a syrupy consistency.
- Slowly pour the jellied stock into the pie through the central steam hole, filling it as much as it will take.
- Chill the pie again to allow the jelly to set.