CRANBERRY TOPPED RAISED PIE
A MAGNIFICENT CENTREPIECE FOR A CHRISTMAS OR BOXING DAY BUFFET
Cook: 2hrs, 20mins
For the Filling
500g boneless pork shoulder, skin removed, chopped into 2cm/¾ in pieces (ask your butcher for 300g/11oz pork bones if you want to make your own stock)
250g pork belly, skin removed, chopped into 2cm/¾ in pieces
650g chicken drumsticks and thighs, skin and bones removed, chopped into 2cm/¾ in pieces – you should have about 375g/13oz (save the bones to make stock, if you like)
100g smoked streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
½ tsp ground mace
2 pinches of ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 fresh bay leaf, very finely chopped
4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
4 sage leaves, finely chopped
For the hot water pastry
140g lard, chopped into small pieces
550g plain flour
1 egg, beaten, to glaze
For the jellied stock
300ml good-quality chicken stock
2 gelatine leaves
For the topping (optional)
50g granulated sugar
100ml dry sherry
200g fresh or frozen cranberry
If you want to make your own stock: put the chicken and pork bones in a pan, add 600ml water (or enough to just cover) and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 30 mins, then strain and continue cooking to reduce the liquid to about 300ml. The bones will add natural gelatine to the stock so it should set without additional gelatine. But if you want to make sure, add 1 leaf following the method in step 10.
Mix together all the filling ingredients in a large bowl and season with 1½ tsp salt. Now make the pastry. Pour 150ml water into a saucepan, add the lard and ½ tsp salt, and bring to the boil. Once the lard has melted, remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, sift the flour and 1 tsp salt together into a large bowl. Pour over the hot liquid and stir vigorously to form a dough.
Tip onto your work surface and knead for a couple of mins to develop the gluten slightly and create an even-textured pastry. (Once made, keep covered with cling film.)
Remove roughly one-third of the pastry and set aside to make the lid later. Roll the remaining pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin. You’ll need a 20cm-deep springform cake tin to assemble the pie in.
Line the cake tin with the pastry, pushing it well into the corners and up the sides of the tin (use a small ball of dough to do this). Leave any excess hanging over the top of the tin.
Add the filling to the pie, packing it tightly – this will expel any air pockets and create a nice flat top for the cranberries to sit on later.
Roll out the reserved pastry to the same thickness and lift it onto the pie to create a lid. Press into the pastry around the edges and trim off any excess. Crimp with 2 fingers if you like. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg. Cut a hole in the centre to let the steam out as it cooks. You can now chill it for up to 24 hrs or cook straight away. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
Bake for 30 mins, then reduce heat to 150C/130C fan/gas 2 and bake for another 1 hr 45 mins. If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the pie should be 75C. If not, insert the end of a spoon into the centre of the pie and hold it there for 10 secs – it should be hot to the touch.
Place the tin on a wire rack to cool, then remove the pie. If you have a blowtorch, blast it around the outside of the tin before removing the pie – this melts the fat sticking the pastry to the tin, making it release more easily. Alternatively, leave the pie at room temperature for 20 mins before removing the tin. Warm the stock and put the gelatine in a bowl of cold water to soften for 5 mins. Squeeze out any drops of water, then add the gelatine to the stock, stir in until dissolved, and season well. Transfer to a jug.
If there is no gap between the pastry and meat, you’ll need to poke a skewer into the hole and wiggle it around to create space for the stock. Pour two-thirds of the stock into the central hole (use a piping nozzle as a funnel, if you have one), or as much as you can, but reserve about 4 tbsp for the topping. Chill for at least 2 hrs.
Dissolve the sugar with the sherry over a low heat. Once dissolved, bring to the boil and add the cranberries. Cook for 1-2 mins, but remove from the heat before the cranberries burst. Leave to cool. Once the stock in the pie has set to a jelly, top with the cranberries. Melt your remaining jellied stock in a saucepan over a low heat, then use it to brush the cranberries generously. Return to the fridge for 1 hr to set the topping. Enjoy within 3 days