Raised game pie

Raised game pie

By
From
How to Cook Pastry
Serves
4
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

You will need a 400ml soufflé dish to shape this pie.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Hot water crust pastry
1 egg

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
1 small onion
350g boned mixed game, (such as venison, rabbit, pheasant and/or pigeon)
3 rashers streaky bacon
5-6 sage leaves
or 1 teaspoon dried sage
250g minced belly pork
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
150-200ml aspic, (see note)
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Prepare and shape the pastry around a 400ml soufflé dish.
  2. The next day, or when ready to cook, heat the oven to 190ºC.
  3. For the filling, halve, peel and finely dice the onion. Remove any sinew from the game, then cut into 1.5cm cubes. Derind the bacon and cut into strips. Finely chop the fresh sage, if using.
  4. Mix the onion, game, minced pork, bacon, allspice and half the sage together in a large bowl and season well with salt and plenty of pepper. Reserve the rest of the sage for the aspic.
  5. Remove the shaped pastry and the smaller disc from the fridge. Turn the shaped pastry the right way up and peel the cling film away from inside the dish. Ease the cling film a little from the dish and lift the dish out of the pastry without damaging the pastry. Peel away the cling film and greaseproof paper from the inside of the pastry case.
  6. Carefully lift the pastry case up to the light and check the corners; if you can see light through them you will need to reinforce them using a thin band cut from around the edge of the pastry for the lid, by gently pushing it into the area needed.
  7. Wrap a double layer of baking parchment around the outside of the pie case to support it and secure with paper clips or string (don’t tie string too tightly or it will create a waist in the pie once cooked). Make sure the rim of pastry is not covered by paper, so you can seal it with the lid.
  8. Place the pie case on a lipped baking sheet and add the filling, packing it into the corners and doming it on the top.
  9. Check the pastry lid is the right size to fit over the top. Lightly beat the egg with a very small pinch of salt, using a fork, then pass through a sieve into a bowl. Brush beaten egg on the inside of the pastry lid. Lay the lid on top of the pie, fold the edges of the lid up against the inside of the pie and press together to seal. Using a pair of scissors, trim off only the top edge, not too deep or you will break the seal.
  10. Using your thumb and forefinger, crimp the pastry edge. Now make a steam hole in the middle and insert the tip of a 5mm piping nozzle (this will prevent the hole closing).
  11. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg to glaze. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the oven setting to 170ºC and bake the pie for a further 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and take off the paper collar. If the pie suddenly begins to slump and lose shape, tie the paper round the pie again and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes. If the pie holds its shape, brush the sides and the top again with beaten egg and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes, or until cooked.
  12. To check that the pie is cooked, insert a skewer into the middle through the steam hole, leave it for 10 seconds, then remove and immediately touch it to your inner wrist; it should be hot. If not, cook the pie for a further 15 minutes.
  13. Once the pie is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool. Prepare the aspic, adding the sage, and pour into the pie. Allow to set for 3–4 hours.

A note on aspic...

  • Aspic is added to raised pies because as the meat cooks it shrinks and releases juices, and as it cools the meat re-absorbs the juice but leaves a gap between the meat and the pastry walls of the pie. Aspic fills all the air holes and holds the pie together when cut. It also helps to preserve the pie, so it can be kept for a few days.

    Traditionally, the bones from the meat would be simmered in water and flavourings, strained and cooled to produce a savoury jelly. But these days you can buy aspic powder and use it in the same way as gelatine.
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