The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

We made pork pies

homemade pork pieI’ve always wanted to have a go at making pork pies. I even bought a tiny funnel for adding the jelly a couple of years ago in the faint hope that I would have time to try over Christmas.

When The Chicken Lady admitted to a similar dream I retrieved the funnel from the depths of the equipment drawer and pounded up to the top of the village with some plain flour, a large block of lard and a couple of pork hocks with trotters.

My mum has given me her treasured farmer’s cookbook Farmhouse Fare (first published in 1946). So I took that too.

We found an ancient recipe that was a hundred years old in 1947 and tweaked the spices a bit. The pies were easy to make but getting the pastry off the moulds proved to be a bit of a tussle. Having popped them in the freezer, to speed up the process a bit, the moulds and pastry cases had become one.

We eventually made two large old fashioned pork pies which were chilled and ceremoniously cut last night. Filled with chopped pork and a good jelly the pies were guzzled as we smoked some back bacon and pork hocks in the inglenook.

These are light years away from the salty shop bought pork pies and very tasty. We reckon that we can improve them a bit more before sharing our recipe with the world.

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  1. They look great. It’s good to see there is a healthy appreciation for pork pies out there.

    I had a go at making one myself, check it out;

  2. I’ve got my pigs feet boiling as they have been for the last 3 hours, i decided to make a batch of pork pies. belly pork and pig cheek. and a bit of bacon. will report back the results and pictures. i do have a very well seasond pastry. does anyone think its worth cooking some before to try it?

  3. Andrew Gibbs

    I have recently started making pork pies. The key is to keep the pastry hot before forming it into the pi – maybe I am cheating, but I keep the pastry warm and moist in a steam oven, until I hand raise the pie – I dont have a mold and find that using a jam jar is more effort, so my pies have a distinctly rustic appearance. one factor however is that the thickness of the pastry tends to be quite thick and therefore I am of the view that larger pies are better as that way the meat to pastry proportion is more favourable. Havwe not yet got my spice combo correct – all spice seems to be a pretty good start, but lots of pepper and fresh sage or rosemary or marjoram also seems a good idea. Elisabeth Luard’s Europaen Peasant Cookery has a good recipe.

  4. Peter Thurgood

    Hi, i did a cookery course some time ago and we made pork pies. We used hot water crust pastry and moulded the pastry over a jam jar, removing the jar when the pastry had set. They turned out very nice. I now live in Thailand and haven’t got access to an oven but i do want to try them again.
    Peter Thurgood

  5. phil taylor

    I would like to buy high quality pies with extra gelatin ,unlike anything available to date,please help.Phil Taylor.

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Magic Cochin

    That’s brilliant news. The book is packed with great recipes.

    We are going to try making more pork pies on Friday. We thought that the meat in the Farmhouse Fare recipe needed a bit more seasoning and I’m going to take Fred’s tip and season the pastry too. We made the pastry in the food processor, and the amount in the recipe was far too much for the two smaller pies (so halve the amount).

    Pigs heads and cheeks! Definitely a step for the future, I think.

    Sorry for the belated response. Your comment slipped through the net and I only spotted it this morning.

  7. magic cochin

    Guess what! I was discussing pork pies with my mother before we went to the Highgate Farm Shop butchers, and she said she had a book I could have:
    ‘Farmhouse Fare’ a 1973 reprint of the 1935 edition!!!!!

    I also consulted ‘Aunt Alice’ (no not an ancient relative, but an ancient Victorian recipe tome which had been thrown out by someone’s Aunt!) she/it recommends using a warmed jar as a pastry mould, so it’s easy to remove! presumably before you chill the pastry, it didn’t say.

    The jolly butchers are happy to supply the ingredients I need – if I give them a call early in the week I can collect on a Friday (my usual meat buying day). So – I’m going to do more research and plan a pork pie making session, followed by a grand feast.

    The butcher offered a pig’s head too!


    BTW – my mother recommends cured pig’s cheeks as an addition to your charcouterie range!

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pamela

    I love pork pies too. The best I’ve tasted is the Dickinson & Morris Pork Pie. I haven’t tried Satterthwaites’ pies in Crosby.

    Our pies were far less salty than the usual pork pie and pretty good for a first attempt. You can™t beat a really old tried and tested recipe. But tastes move on.

    I am keen to crack the pork pie challenge, it just takes time!

    I did domestic science as an extra in the 6th form. All I remember making were lardy cake and croissants!

  9. Pamela

    I have only made pork pies once but I was only 12 at the time and doing domestic science at school. I’m rather partial to a melton mowbray from M&S but the best pies have to be from Satterthwaites in Crosby, especially if you get them freshly delivered and still hot, there is nothing like a hot Sattie’s pie!

  10. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Charles

    Thank you so much for taking the trouble to leave the link to such an excellent site and great recipe too!

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