Pork Pies and Spiced Pumpkin Pickle
Robert Mace, The Westleton Crown
Spiced pumpkin pickle:
1 medium firm fleshed pumpkin or squash (crown prince or butternut works really well)
4-5 banana shallots
5 cloves garlic
1 thumb size piece of fresh ginger
1 medium red chilli
1 medium green chilli
zest of 1 lemon
500ml cider vinegar
350g demerara sugar
2 teaspoons medium hot curry powder
1 tea spoon cumin seeds
1 tea spoon black pepper corns
Peel and dice the pumpkin into 1/2 inch chunks, blanch in boiling salted water for 1-2 mins to soften slightly, spoon into sterilised pickle jars (fill to about 3/4 full)
Peel and thinly slice the shallots & garlic, peel the ginger and chop finely, place in a large sauce pan with the spices, vinegar, sugar and thinly sliced chillies (I like to leave the seeds in for a bit of fiery warmth but they can be removed if you prefer.)
Boil the vinegar mixture for 5-10 mins to combine and infuse the flavours, pour hot over the pumpkin cubes to brim fill the jars and seal.
The pickle can be used the next day but it is best to let it sit for at least a week to let the flavours develop.
These little gems make a great snack, fantastic to serve to your family and friends as a snack with drinks over the festive period, if they last that long after coming out of the oven.
Hot water pastry: (makes 8 good snack sized pies)
250g plain flour
1/2 tea spoon salt
400g minced pork belly
few sprigs thyme
few sprigs sage
zest and juice of 1 clementine
salt and plenty of ground black pepper
1 tea spoon ground mixed spice
150g fine diced mature cheddar cheese
1 small onion finely diced
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, make a well in the centre and crack in the egg. Place the butter lard and water in a sauce pan and heat till melted, then bring to a boil, pour around the edge of the bowl then stir together to form a soft dough, wrap in cling film the rest in the fridge for an hour.
Pick the herbs from the woody stalks then chop and mix with the pork and other ingredients, shape into 8 balls.
split the pastry into 8 balls and remove a 1/4 of each for lids, roll the larger balls to about 11cm diameter and the smaller to 7cm diameter. place a ball of meat in the middle of the lager circle and flatten slightly brush the edge with egg wash, top with the lids then raise up the sides and crimp the tops to seal.
Pierce a hole in the top of each pie, brush with egg wash then bake at 170 oc for 35 mins.