Do you have these special dishes that transported you straight back to a certain time and place in your life?
To this day I cannot eat a meat pie without going all sentimental: For me it takes just one mouthful of pie to conjure up Britain and the late nineties. I had just left school, for the first time I was living away from family and friends and in a foreign country. I was experiencing a completely different life, living in this small town in England, working in a family-run deli (that sold the most amazing pies).
So when I was in England a few weeks back and the sun was warm enough for a picnic in the park, I just had to pick up a pie from Marks and Spencers.
Believe me: that pie, the warm sunshine and the good company turned a simple afternoon in a park in Middleborough into a blissful experience! That day, Middleborough had all the charm of Paris to me.
So back home I just had to celebrate those memories by bring that picnic, and some proper pork pies, straight into my living room. I did cheat a little by using sausage meat instead of regular (mince) meat, but I loved the result. These little pies turned out wonderful: buttery, crumbly pastry encasing juicy meat and layers of happy memories.
(pieced together from several different recipes)
12 mini pies
200g all-purpose flour
100g butter (or replace half to all of that with lard)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/3 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp white wine (or 1 tbsp apple vinegar and 2 tbsp water)
100g pancetta (or bacon)
1 clove of garlic
A handful of parsely
6 sage leaves (or alternatively some rosemary
450g good quality organic pork sausage meat
- Dice the butter and place into a food processor.
- Add the flour, salt, sugar and pepper. Pulse until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
- Add the white wine and pulse again.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead briefly until the dough is smooth and elastic. Do not overwork.
- Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, fry the pancetta unti golden and crispy. Remove from the pan and allow to cool on some paper towls.
- Chop the onion and add to the pan. Fry until soft. Add the chopped garlic and fry until golden. Add to a bowl. Crumble in the pancetta.
- Chop sage and add to the onion together with the sausage meat.
- Season with pepper and a little salt.
- Roll out the pastry. Cut out 12 disks to line a mini muffin tin. (Do not worry if the pastry tears, you can patch up any holes with pastry.) Cut out 12 slightly smaller disks as lids.
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Lightly oil the muffin tin. Press the larger disks into the tin, fill with meat and then top with the lid. Pinch together the edges to seal the disks together. You can either shape the edges into a wave like patter with your fingers or use a fork to press them together.
- Beat the egg and brush over the pies.
- Place in the oven and cook for about 15-25 min until golden brown. Before removing them from the oven check one of the pies to ensure the bottom is cooked.
- Let the pies cool down for 5 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool down completely.
- Serve room temperature with some (wholegrain) mustard on the side.
- The pies keep in the fridge for several days.
Tips & Variations
- add some finely diced apple to the onion and fry
- add some chopped parsley
- instead of sausage meat you can also use pork meat and increase the seasoning (all spice, nutmeg, mustard powder etc) and herbs
- you could cut some more corners by using ready made pastry, but I have to say that I love the buttery, home-made taste this pastry has