Gammon and egg gala pie

by Karen Burns-Booth
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Gammon and egg gala pie

We have some of the best pork in Europe (and the world) and where I live in North Yorkshire, there are some wonderful free-range pig farms close by; so, fresh free-range pork as well as gammon, sausages and bacon are readily available in the local farm shop, plus it’s lovely to see the pigs happily playing in and munching on grass in the fields nearby, it’s a real field to fork enterprise.

I always buy British pork, and why wouldn’t I? It’s local and the quality is excellent. Most of the comforting dishes that I serve throughout the winter months are pork based, such as my recipes for Pulled Pork with a Spicy Rub, Marmalade Glazed Ham/Gammon, Bangin’ Bonfire Bacon & Banger Burgers & Sausage Casserole. But whereas pork used to be seasonal, it’s now readily available all year round and I also have lots of lighter recipes for pork and ham such as Pork Sausage and Orange Terrine and Raised Chicken and Ham Pie.

Pork is also a very cheap and nutritious meat and a large pork joint or piece of gammon makes an affordable meal for Sunday lunch, as well as for family suppers during the week. I love roast pork when served with apple sauce and a batch of home-made sage and onion stuffing, plus there’s all the leftovers for sandwiches, salads and pies too – it’s meat that keeps on giving.

In celebration of British pork, the recipe I am sharing today is for a British pie classic, Gala Pie, made with gammon and fresh free-range eggs, beautifully seasoned and encased in a crisp, golden hot water pastry case – perfect for picnics, buffets, Christmas, Easter, family get-togethers and the school or office lunch box. Gala pie is normally made with pork, but I have a recipe that uses gammon (or ham) which we all prefer, so that’s the recipe I am sharing today.

My recipe calls for hot water pastry, which contrary to popular belief is easy to make, as well as prime cuts of gammon, bacon, sage, spices and lovely free-range eggs. I don’t add jelly to my pie, as is often the case for a classic Gala or Pork Pie recipe, mainly because my family aren’t keen on the “jelly” that surrounds the meat if you make the pies this way. I always try to add decorative pastry leaves and swirls to my pie; it really makes it look special, especially for those times when you need to impress!

1
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
2
To make the hot water crust pastry, melt the milk, water, butter and lard/vegetable fat together in a saucepan until boiling
3
In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Make a well in the middle and add the egg yolk and milk, add the hot milk and fat mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are well blended and pastry is shiny. Cover with a tea towel and sit the pastry over hot water to keep it warm
4
To make the filling, mince the gammon and bacon together in a food processor until coarsely minced. Add the herbs, spices and seasoning and mix well
5
Take a 1lb (450g) loaf tin and place a double band of baking parchment across the middle of it, to act as a handle for lifting the pie out of the tin when it is cooked
6
Cut off two thirds of the warm pastry and put it into the tin, raising it up and moulding it with your hands to form a pie crust
Cut off two thirds of the warm pastry and put it into the tin
7
Spoon half of the meat into the pie crust, pushing it down gently to make sure there are no gaps in the mixture. Place the eggs along the middle of the pie and top with remaining pie filling mixture
Place the eggs along the middle of the pie
8
Shape the remaining piece of pastry to fit the top of the pie, reserving some pastry for the decoration and seal the edges with a little beaten egg and the tines of a fork to form a tight seal. Cut out a hole in the centre and brush with beaten egg
9
Cut out pastry leaves and other shapes and decorate the top of the pie with them. Brush with beaten egg once more and bake in oven for 2 hours, turning down the heat after 15 minutes to 180°C/gas mark 4
Cut out pastry leaves and other shapes and decorate the top of the pie with them
10
Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before turning the pie out with the help of the baking paper lining. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool completely (for up to 3 hours) before cutting into slices to serving
11
Serve with salad, pickles, chutney, relishes and mustard. Any uneaten pie can be frozen in slices
Serve with salad, pickles, chutney, relishes and mustard