Well, by god and by golly. What a palaver!! I made this to see whether I could. I can but I also understand why people go to Morrison’s supermarket or some other place and buy a slice or two for supper.
What a time consuming dish to make! And it is pretty ordinary after all. But staunch, intrepid dish constructor that I am I made this pie. Pie isn’t the name I would use because it isn’t cooked in a pie dish but in a loaf tin, suitably dressed for the occasion, greased and lined down its length and short sides with a double strip of cooking foil.
I think that pork dishes with egg and wheat pastry casings have to have arisen from farming crofts and other agricultural ventures. Pigs are easy to husband; they are very much like us humans; they are omnivores and their digestive system is the closest to ours that we have found or are ever likely to find. Pigs eat all our scraps – actually they are much more omnivorous and much less fussy and precious about food than we could ever be. And they are personable. They have malleable personalities, are intelligent and seem to enjoy the companionship of humans. They are more dog like than dogs and often eschew the camp follower obsequiousness of the dog family. And what would life on a small holding be without chickens and eggs! Hold the rooster though. I housed a rooster once with my hens and the noise was irritating in the extreme. He got short shrift and contributed to a lovely curry instead!
Anyway, enough of my musings. This pie took ages to make. First off, you have to dice up 100g of back bacon and do the same to 650g of pork loin steaks and THEN slit the sausage casings of 454g of Lincolnshire sausages (although under instruction from my HG I used Cumberland sausages) and add the contents to the meat mixture.
Mixing the ingredients together with seasonings and herbs was delightful. Apologies to all you vegetarians out there. I am a serious omnivore and preparing my food is actually a joy for me.
There is nothing else to do but plunge your hands into the bowl and start squeezing the meats together. So I did just that. And then covered the bowl with cling wrap and chilled in the fridge for about 40 minutes. Then I hard boiled three eggs and cooled them down.
I had never made the sort of pastry this recipe called for. I melted 200g of lard in 225mls water and then brought it to the boil so I could immediately pour the mixture into 575g plain flour mixed with a good pinch of salt.
It is a very hot mixture to try and work so I pushed it all around with a wooden spoon first to get most of the liquid absorbed, then turned it out onto a floured bench top and kneaded it quickly to a smooth texture. Good old cling wrap again and it sat for about 20 minutes or so. It has to be warm enough to press into shape with no breaks or tears but not so cold that it can’t be moulded in the loaf tin.
I shaped ¾ of the pastry mixture into the base and sides of the tin with enough hanging over the sides to ensure a good fit with the top casing. Then I sprinkled a couple of teaspoons of semolina on the bottom pastry case. I think this is to absorb at least some of the liquid that forms during the cooking process. In fact, it is the most obvious reason for it.
Half the meat filling was pressed in and the shelled eggs laid lengthways down the tin. Then the rest of the filling shaped to a dome on top with the rest of the pastry rolled out to fit over the tin. First though, I used a fourth egg beaten and brushed onto the pastry to make sure top and bottom pastries melded together. Three slits in the top and a good brushing of egg all over the top and into a pre-heated oven at about 180°C for 45 minutes.
Then take the tin out and rebrush the pastry with the remaining egg and back into the oven for a further 35 minutes.
We couldn’t resist cutting our egg and bacon pie and consuming a goodly slice with peas. We turned a blind eye to the calories! However, it doesn’t work well being so enthusiastic! The next day after having put the remains in to the fridge, I found that it was much easier to cut when cold.
So next time I make this, it will be beforehand by a day. The cold slices can always be heated via microwave but in summer, I would like a cold slice of egg and bacon pie with some Polski dill pickles. Maybe some Dijon mustard as well. Oh yes!
Here is the ingredient list as inspired by Asda:
About 650 – 680g pork loin steaks diced finely
About 100g unsmoked back bacon diced finely
About 450g Lincolnshire (or Cumberland) sausages slit open and added to the meat mixture
Finely chopped sage and thyme – 1 teasp for dried and 2teasp for fresh each
¼ teasp dried ground mace. I am letting you know that mace is the lacy outer layer of the nutmeg often ground, sometimes split into blades.
575g plain flour
200g lard cut up
2 teasp semolina
3 hard boiled shelled eggs
1 beaten egg for brushing the pastry
Aahh. Worth the effort – at least a few times a year!!