How to make a raised picnic pie

Learn how to make a proper homemade raised pie with our step-by-step guide. This pie is perfect for a picnic or buffet, served with salad and pickles.

How to make a raised picnic pie

You will need

  • Butter for greasing
  • 500g unsmoked British free-range gammon, excess fat trimmed, cut into 1-2cm dice
  • 500g free-range skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-2cm dice
  • 250g chorizo, cut into 1-2cm dice
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Zest 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt
  • Generous grinding black pepper
  • 1 medium free-range egg, beaten, for brushing

For the hot-water crust pastry

  • 500g plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 1 medium free-range egg
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 80g lard

For the jelly

  • 400ml fresh light chicken stock
  • 8 whole peppercorns
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 gelatine leaves (we used Costa)
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, very finely chopped

You will also need

  • 1.5 litre (28cm x 13cm) terrine
  • Digital probe thermometer
  • A funnel for pouring in the jelly

Tips for success

  • Hot-water crust pastry doesn’t need to be cool when you line the terrine, but you’ll find it easier if it’s not completely hot, as it becomes firmer as it cools. Let it cool to just lukewarm before lining the terrine.
  • Pack the filling into the pie – it will look as if there’s too much when you start, but if you press it down well it will fit in perfectly.
  • Use a funnel to help you pour the jelly into the steam holes. A jug is trickier and the liquid is liable to spill all over the pie.
  • If you discover liquid seeping from a crack in the pastry, don’t panic. Pour off as much cooking juice as you can after the pie comes out of the oven, then leave the pastry to harden in the terrine overnight. Once the pie is cold and out of its terrine, prop it up to fill it with jelly, making sure the crack is raised, then let gravity do its thing. The pie is sturdy, so tilting it won’t cause a problem. Better to end up with one edge with no jelly than to have a whole pie without it. Leave the jelly to set before sitting the pie flat again.
  • It’s essential to use good quality fresh stock to make the jelly. Anything from a cube or stock pot won’t have the right flavour and won’t give you the wonderful clarity you get from using fresh.
  • If you hate jelly, don’t empty the juices from the cooked pie – just slice it and serve as is. The pie will be softer, but it will still be a triumph.

This pie serves 10-15 people. Hands-on time 2 hours, oven time 2 hours, plus cooling and overnight chilling time.

1. Butter the terrine, then line the base with a strip of folded foil, leaving the ends overhanging the short edges of the terrine.

2. In a large bowl, combine all the diced meat, herbs, garlic, lemon zest and seasoning. Set aside.

3. For the pastry, put the flour and salt into a heatproof bowl, make a well in the centre, crack in the egg, then cover it with the flour. Put the butter and lard in a pan with 200ml water and bring to the boil. Pour onto the flour, mixing well with a knife to combine.

When cool enough to handle, knead the pastry on a floured work surface until smooth. Shape into a disc, cover loosely, then leave for 20-30 minutes until lukewarm.

4. Reserve a third of the pastry, wrapped in cling film, for the lid. Roll out the rest on a floured work-surface to about 40cm x 25cm x ½cm thick, then use to line the terrine, pressing well into the corners and leaving a little overhang all round. Make sure none of the pastry corners are too thin or it will crack. Chill in the fridge, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 190°C/ fan170°C/gas 5. Once the pastry has hardened, fill it with the meat mixture, pressing down firmly.

6. Unwrap the reserved pastry and roll out to just larger than the top of the pie. Brush the edges of the filled pie with beaten egg, then lay the lid over, squeezing the edges together to seal. Using a sharp knife, trim any overhang to make a neat edge.

7. Crimp the pastry rim if you like, then cut 3 steam holes, about 2cm in diameter – one in the centre and one at each end.

Decorate the top with any pastry trimmings, brush with more egg, then put in the oven in a roasting tin for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 170°C/fan150°C/gas 3½. Bake for a further 1 hour 15-20 minutes until a digital thermometer pushed into a steam hole reads 65°C.

8. Remove from the oven and tip the pie up carefully until almost vertical, so the juices run out of the lowest steam hole into the roasting tin. Repeat from the other end. Once you’ve poured off nearly all the juices (discard them), leave the pie to cool, then chill, uncovered, overnight.

9. Next day, make the jelly. Bring the stock, peppercorns, garlic and herbs to a simmer, take off the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes, then strain. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until soft, then squeeze out and add to the warm strained stock, stirring to dissolve. (If it has cooled too much, reheat it gently.) When the gelatine has dissolved, leave to cool to room temperature (it won’t solidify yet), then stir in the chopped parsley.

10. Using the foil strip, carefully lift the pie from the terrine and onto a cutting board. (If it won’t come out easily, put it in a roasting tin of freshly boiled water for a few seconds, then try again.) Once out, clean out the steam holes with a small knife. Slowly pour the stock into each steam hole using a funnel (you may not use it all).

11. Chill the pie for at least 2 hours to set the jelly. To serve, bring it to room temperature, then slice. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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