Cold veal and ham pie

Cold veal and ham pie

By
From
Mark Hix On Baking
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

Traditional pies make the perfect picnic food, and if you make your own large pie everyone gets a slice with lots of filling and less pastry than with individual pies. If you're not a confident cook, pies like this can seem tricky to make, but believe me, they're no harder than most desserts. Once you've made one a couple of times you can adapt the filling according to your preference and what you have to hand, using ingredients such as chicken, mushrooms or at Christmas time turkey, ham and cranberry.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
a good knob butter
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
450g boned weight of veal, cut into slices
450g ham hock, cooked, reserving 300 ml of the ham stock
4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 gelatine leaves

For the hot-water pastry

Quantity Ingredient
375g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
150ml water
130g lard
1 egg, beaten

Method

  1. To make the pastry, mix the flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Bring the water and lard to the boil in a saucepan then stir it into the flour with a wooden spoon to form a smooth dough. Cover and leave for 15 minutes or so until the dough is cooler, less sticky and easier to handle.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  3. For the filling, heat the butter in a pan, add the onion and gently cook, covered, for 3–4 minutes until soft . Finely chop or mince a fifth of the veal and ham (you could do this in a food processor), mix with the softened onion and parsley, and season. Slice the remaining ham into rough 5–8 mm slices and season lightly. Put the rest of the veal between 2 sheets of cling film and bat them out with a rolling pin or meat bat to roughly the same thickness as the ham. Season lightly.
  4. Lightly grease a raised pie mould, 20 x 5 cm deep flan ring or loose-bottomed cake tin and line the bottom with a disc of lightly greased silicone or greaseproof paper. Place it on a lined baking tray.
  5. Transfer two-thirds of the dough to a lightly floured table and roll it into a circle to a 5 mm thickness and 26 cm diameter. Making sure there are no holes in the pastry, place the dough into your ring or mould and carefully press into the corners, allowing the excess to just hang over the edge. Roll out the rest of the pastry to the diameter of your ring, tin or pie mould to make the pie lid. Cut a 2 cm hole in the centre of the pastry.
  6. Cover the bottom of your dish first with a layer of ham then a layer of veal, breaking or cutting the meat to fill the gaps as necessary. Follow this with all the chopped veal and ham mixture, pressing it down firmly. Top with a final layer of ham then veal and finish by carefully laying the pastry lid on top. Trim the edges of the pastry with a knife and pinch the base and top pastry edges together with your forefinger and thumb to make a good join.
  7. Brush the top of the pie all over with the beaten egg, transfer to the oven and cook for 45 minutes. If it is colouring too much, cover with foil and turn the oven down slightly.
  8. Remove the pastry from its ring or tin and brush the sides and top again with egg before baking for a further 15 minutes until nicely coloured. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then chill for a couple of hours. Check around the pastry for any holes, filling them with a little softened butter.
  9. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water to cover for a few minutes until they soften. Bring 60 ml of the reserved ham stock to a simmer. Remove the stock from the heat, squeeze the gelatine leaves to remove excess water, then add to the hot stock and stir until fully dissolved. Stir this into a further 240 ml of ham stock and leave to cool, but do not let it set.
  10. Pour about a third of the stock into the round hole in the top of the pastry a little at a time until it is all used up. The pie will keep for about a week in the fridge. Serve cold with Cumberland sauce, piccalilli or your favourite chutney or relish.
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