Game hot-water crust pie
- October 2016
- Serves 14
- Hands-on time 1 hour, oven time 3 hours
Mixed game pie nestled in a baked hot water crust pastry – it’s great hot or cold.
- 37.5g (13.9g saturated)
- 41.4g (4.1g sugars)
For the filling
- 14 stoned, ready-to-eat prunes
- 100ml brandy
- 1.4kg mixed diced game (1.5cm to 3cm chunks, as you prefer or as they come)
- 800g British free-range pork mince (the coarser and fattier the better)
- 300g British free-range streaky bacon, finely chopped
- 2 tsp thyme leaves, picked and chopped
- ½ tsp ground mace (or about the same quantity of grated nutmeg)
- 50g shelled pistachios
- 75ml red wine, port or sherry
- Finely grated zest and juiceæ
- 1 orange
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepperæ
For the hot water crust pastry
- 280g cold water
- 250g lard or butter
- 680g plain flour
- 1 scant tsp salt
- 2 medium free-range eggs, beaten, for glazing
- 1 cinnamon stick
You’ll also need:
- 26cm, deep loose-bottomedcake tin, the base lined with non-stick baking paper
- Chutney to serve
- Soak the prunes in the brandy overnight, or put them in a small bowl, cover with cling film, then heat on high in the microwave for 1 minute and leave to steep for half an hour in the turned-off microwave.
- Drain the prunes, retaining the liquid, then cut in half. Put the rest of the filling ingredients and the prune liquid (but not the prunes) into a large mixing bowl, then knead in the bowl for 10 minutes or so, like a bread dough. The filling will become cohesive and sticky as you mix.
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Making the pastry must be done all at once, so have everything ready. Put the water and lard in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, put the flour and salt in a large heatproof mixing bowl. Pour the lardy boiling water all at once into the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a ball. Wrap the pastry in cling film, then leave for 5 minutes or until just cool enough to handle. Cut off a quarter of the pastry and set aside. Put the rest into a 26cm loose-bottomed cake tin then, using your fingertips, work it from the centre of the base outwards and up the sides of the tin to the top. Try to form an even layer (about 1cm thick) on the base and sides. If the pastry tears or collapses it may be too hot so wait a few minutes for it to cool a little, then try again.
- Pack half the filling into the pie, pressing down firmly, then dot the halved prunes all over the top. Cover with the remainder of the mix; it should come to just below the top of the pastry. Brush the rim and edge of the pastry with a little beaten egg, then roll out the remaining dough into a disc and drape over the top. Crimp the pastry edges to seal the pie, pushing the crimps inside the tin, so you can remove the pie easily later. Make a small hole in the centre of the lid to let steam escape, then push the cinnamon stick into the hole to act as a chimney. Cover the pie very loosely with a sheet of baking paper, then one of foil, and gently scrunch the foil edges just enough to keep the cover on.æ
- Bake the pie for half an hour, then turn down the temperature to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 and cook for a further hour. Remove the baking paper/foil covering, then return the pie to the oven for 1 hour more.
- Remove the pie from the oven and turn the temperature back up to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Let the pie cool for 30 minutes to firm up a little, then gently remove the sides of the tin, leaving the pie on the metal base. Brush the top and sides of the pie with the remaining beaten egg and return it to the oven for a final 30 minutes to crisp up and brown. Remove from the oven once more, and let it cool fully; it’s best refrigerated overnight for the juices to set. Serve with chutney.
The game pie will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days.
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