Friday, 17 June 2016

Pork Pie Making

Good evening ladies and gents,

It has been a very pleasant evening weather wise and I have  also had a lovely evening learning how to make hand thrown moulded pork pies with the use of a wooden dolly mould. Its been absolutely brilliant and I have thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I attended at Willowbrook Farm for 6:45pm and was met with a lovely Ploughmans salad which I was not expecting and a lovely cup of tea.  We were then provided with the basics, we would need for the class (disposable gloves and aprons) and a fun questionnaire as well.  The course Manager is Jo Fane and the Pork pie class was run by I think Sue.  She makes all the pork pies for the farm. 

Here is the link to the website. 

There is a problem with the website linking properly at the moment which I have raised with them.  My reaction though when I could not get through on the website was to ring the shop direct.  However this evening I have been able to pass on in person the problems experienced and they are going to get someone to have a look at it.  They are hoping to hold another evening on 22 July 2016 so keep an eye on the website if you are interested or ring the shop direct as I did.

The teaching was done on a group basis starting with mincing the meat and the seasoning and getting this prepared and then weighed out.  This then went on to making Hot Water Crust pastry from scratch; i.e. melting the lard to the right temperature, to mixing it in with the extra strong flour and working the dough; to rolling out the lids for the pastry and then practical tips on how to use the dolly and to keep the pastry workable so it does not stick and gradually work the pastry up the dolly to form the case.  Then filling the case with the meat, working the lid, and then attaching the lid to the case but we all took turns in doing things and I was given very good practical visual help with what I was doing.  The teaching was practical, honest, from the heart and I learned a lot.  The course was not expensive either. 

They are going to be running more courses, like sausage making and basic butchering both of which I am extremely interested in.  I thought there might be one or two of you locally who also might be interested in doing something similar or alternatively those who live out of the area but fancy doing something different.

The pies could have been finished at the shop today and they would have cooked them, but as it will not be easy for me to get back tomorrow I decided that I would do this at home and then add the jelly when the pies are cooked.  I have been given all sorts of instructions to complete this.  I am therefore going to cook my pie tomorrow but at the moment it is sitting in the fridge "chilling" in readiness for being finished off tomorrow. They also put them in the freezer. It will need egg washing and then cooking on quite a high warm oven until the meat is cooked.

I am going to assemble some basic equipment together for making my own pies and then I can batch make them, freeze them and then fish them out of the freezer when I am ready to cook them

I have had a brilliant time. Both ladies are very hands on and it has been good honest teaching and they have passed on their passion for good food in the process.

I suppose you would like to have a look at what I made.  I am quite pleased with how it has turned out but I will need to work on the crimping a little.

Remember it has still to be cooked and finished off.

Right I have lots of things to do.

Please note the above is my subjective opinion on something I have really, really enjoyed doing and with such a lovely bunch of people.

Catch you soon.




  1. Sounds like a very interesting workshop and nice to hear of something different, you pie looks really good, I was reading about pork pie making the other day, thought I might give it a go to use up some of the pork in the freezer, well done :-)

  2. Hi Dawn, thank you for your kind words. interestingly they used extra strong bread flour for the pastry as it gives a better structure to the pastry case. They used a quantity of 5lb minced pork very coarsely minced to give some texture to the pie and they used pork shoulder. Seasoning was 1 tsp of salt to each 1lb of meat but they did 5tsps salt, 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper and you go less more than more on this and then two heaped teaspoons of black pepper. They did not give us the quantities on the flour and lard but each of us was given 250g pastry. It is left to rest at room temperature for about an hour and a half to rest. We were then dished out a 250g ball of mince and shown how to mould the pies by hand. I am going to invest in a wooden dolly as I really enjoyed the class and especially the extra tips like if the pastry sticks to the board then it needs more flour to keep it flowing not a lot just to keep it supple. I am going to cook the pie later on. Its in the fridge at the moment. I am going to egg wash it shortly to give a little more colour. Have to have on 200degrees C. in the oven and it has to be preheated so that the oven is exactly 200degrees C so that the pastry cooks. You then with a meatskewer have to break up the puddles of blood that form as it cooks. You have it on a high temperature for about 30 minutes and then another 45 minutes or so on 180 degrees C. Those are the instructions that have been given. I did ask about doing a salami class but at the moment that is not on the cards although there is talk of a butchery one in September which I am quite interested in. They were also talking of possibly a game pie and sausagemaking for future classes. I am looking forward to learning more. I learn more from watching - am a visual learner and then playing with something. I am going to look out a recipe for Hot water crust pastry and then hope to recreate the pies and keep them in the freezer. They told us that they start making pork pies in August for Christmas and they then deep freeze them. They alone make well over 600 pork pies just for Christmas. To tell you the truth I was bricking it a bit as my hands are always cold until it comes to make pastry. I had been shown how to make pastry at school but it was not the way my mum had been taught and she told me I was doing it wrong. It confused the heck out of me and made me a nervous wreck when it came to pastry making. It comes up very short when I make it and does not always behave either which adds to my issues. However it always tastes good. Needs more practice me thinks. We had someone on the course last night who came from Leicester a good two hours away but it was a really good group. Take care.




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