This classic English picnic pie is a pain in the ass to make (just being honest!) but it's so delicious and quite a novelty for people who haven't grown up eating traditional British food. It also keeps really well, so if you're keeping this pie to yourself you'll have lots of leftovers which helps make up for the heaps of work. This recipe is adapted from Adrian Bailey's The Cooking of the British Isles (1969). —Lauren Hairston
10 - 12
lard (not hydrogenated)
hot water, as needed
unsalted butter, softened
lean ground veal
cooked ham, cubed
chopped sage leaves
lemon, zest and juice
hot-water pastry (above)
cold chicken stock
In This Recipe
In a very large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the lard into the milk and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir constantly and remove from the heat as soon as the lard is melted. Stir into the flour a bit at a time. Add in hot water by the tablespoonful (if necessary) until dough comes together in a ball. Knead the dough for two to three minutes, until soft and elastic. Cover with a damp kitchen towel to rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350? Fahrenheit. Grease a springform loaf tin (12 ½” x 5”) with the 2 tablespoons butter. Set on a baking sheet and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the veal, ham, parsley, sage, brandy, stock, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
On a floured surface, roll out 2/3 of the hot-water pastry into an approximately ¼”-thick oblong, that is larger (by at least a couple of inches in each direction) than the springform tin. Line the tin with the dough, making sure the dough is flush to the tin.
Press a little less than half the veal and ham filling into the tin, then place the hardboiled eggs end to end in a row on top of the filling. Press them down a bit, then cover with the remainder of the filling. Press down so the filling is just below the edge of the tin. Roll out the remaining 1/3 of the pastry into a ¼”-thick rectangle, cut out a 1” circle in the middle and cover the pie with it. Using a sharp knife, trim the pastry then crimp the edges. Brush with the beaten egg then bake in the middle of the oven for two hours.
When the pie comes out of the oven, cool on a rack for 15 minutes then prepare the aspic by sprinkling the contents of an envelope of gelatin over 2 cups cold stock in a small saucepan. After a few minutes, heat the saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until the gelatin dissolves. Using a pitcher (or funnel), pour the stock into the hole in the pie, cool the pie to room temperature then refrigerate overnight.
To serve, carefully unmold the pie and let it come up to room temperature (about 30 minutes).