Raised Christmas Dinner Pie

There are many recipes on the internet with what to do with all those Christmas leftovers but this is my favourite as it has the potential to use up nearly everything from Christmas dinner – the meat, stuffing, parsnips, cranberry sauce and anything else that takes your fancy that would otherwise sit in the fridge (and often ends up the bin) for days.

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The fancy mould was something I saw on a website about  Victorian food and finally tracked it done 4 years ago on MeilleurduChef.com, a fabulous French website where you can buy the most obscure bits of kitchen kit albeit at a price. You don’t have to be as mad and as obsessed as me and source one of these,  a normal spring form cake tin will also do the job though it won’t look as pretty!

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There are a few things to watch out for with a raised pie

  • you need to use hot water crust pastry – only this is strong enough to hold all the contents together
  • you need to get fat into the pie to add moisture to the meat filling – especially as you are using cooked and quite dry meat in this recipe  – chopped streaky bacon and minced pork belly is usually used in most recipes.  I use the skin and fat from the bird in this recipe instead of these.
  • strip that bird of all the meat you can find on it – all that brown and slightly sinewy meat on the bottom is delicious in a pie
  • you should put the assembled pie in the fridge for an hour before cooking – this allows the pastry to firm up and reduce the chance of leaks
  • different textures for each of  the layers  look best in a pie so if you have a mincer (I have my mother’s old 70’s Kenwood Chef one) mince up some of the tougher meat with the skin  (it sounds revolting but it adds the moisture and taste)
  • I like chopped nuts in a pie – another Christmas leftover potentially you can put to use
  • something tart is almost essential – that’s what  makes that cranberry sauce so important
  • if you like jelly in your raised pie (which I do) you need to make sure there are no cracks in your pie otherwise it will flood out (I failed this time so no photos I am afraid) – this also adds a day to the process as you need to make sure it is set. One time a few years ago I cut one open too soon resulting in a Noah like flood over the dinner table.
  • knowing the pie is cooked is a bit tricky.  The best way is checking the inside temperature has reached 75C.

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The Recipe

The Recipe

Utensils

  • 20cm springform cake tin or fancy french oval pie tin
  • mincer if you have it
  • small funnel
  • a food thermometer

Pie Content Ingredients

  • 1 kg of Christmas  leftovers made up of the following:
    • meat of any sort chopped into small bitesize pieces plus any fat that is on the bird (not any you added) and skin
      • mince or finely chop half the meat and all the fat and skin together
    • stuffing
    • cranberry sauce
    • fibrous vegetables like parsnips  (not brussels or potatoes) chopped into small bitesize pieces
    • handful of nuts (I like pistachios) chopped roughly
  • 2 Large Shallots – finely chopped
  • 100g of Streaky Bacon (if your meat is not particularly fatty) – finely chopped
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Allspice
  • 1 tsp Mace
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • Handful of Chopped Thyme
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 egg for washing on the pie later

The Hot Water Pastry

  • 400g Plain flour
  • 150g Strong Plain Flour
  • 75g Unsalted Butter
  • 100g Lard
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 200 ml Water

For the Jelly

  • 300ml of stock – you should have this from your bird carcass but if you don’t here is a cheat
    • 1 stock cube (air the appropriate meat group)
    • 150ml boiling water
    • 150ml warm water
  • 4 tsp gelatine (or 8 small sheets)

The Method

Pie Ingredients

  • prepare all your pie ingredients in advance
  • mix all the meat (minced or not), nuts, herbs and  spices and bacon together

Pastry

  • heat your oven to 200C / 180C fan
  • rub the butter and flour together to form fine crumbs
  • put the lard, salt and water in a pan and heat until the lard is fully melted
  • working quickly (I use a stand mixer for this), pour the hotel water mixture onto the flour mixing all the time while you do this
  • once it is cool enough to handle form into a smooth ball
  • set aside 1/3rd for the lid
  • roll out the other 2/3rds to about 1/2cm thickness, large enough to go into you tin in one go with extra hanging over the sides
  • place half the meat mixture in the bottom, then vegetable, stuffing, cranberry and then repeat until you reach the top finishing with a layer of meat
  • roll out the other 1/3rd big enough to act as a lid
  • firmly join the the 2 together and crimp for good effect
  • cut a finger sized hole in the middle to allow steam out
  • create shapes from leftover scraps of pastry to decorate the top (brush the surface of the pastry with water before placing the shapes on to make them stick on)
  • put in the fridge for 1 hour
  • cook in the oven
    • for 30 minutes at 200C/180C
    • and then turn down to 170C/150C fan for about another 1 hour or so
    • until the inside of the pie measure reaches above 75C
  • TIP: put a tray under the shelf the pie is on  to catch any leaks  – it can make a big mess of your oven if you don’t
  • take you pie out of the oven and cool for ten minutes
  • whisk a whole egg with a little milk
  • take the sides of your tin off very carefully
  • brush the sides and top all over with the egg wash
  • put the pie back in the oven for another 10 minutes to allow the e.g. wash to cook and take on colour and take on a gloss
  • remove pie and allow to cool for 30 minutes
  • make the jelly as follows
    • spilt the stock into 2
    • bring half up to boil
    • dissolve the stock cube and gelatine in the boiling stock
    • combine with the remaining stock
  • fill the pie with the water until the pie is full (it may need topping up occasionally as the meat cools and contracts)
  • allow to cool in the fridge overnight to allow the jelly to set
  • serve with a flourish and a very good mustard and salad

 

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