Melissa Cortina of The Pig and Pie Pastry Company thinks that rectangular pies are easier to make than round ones. Do you agree?
Try out her rectangular Pork and Apple Hand Pie.
Read below for the recipe, and click here to enter YOUR delicious pie (or pies) in the 4th Annual Good Food Pie Contest on Saturday, September 8th at LACMA.
Pork and Apple Hand Pie
(From the Pig and Pie Pastry Company‘s Melissa Cortina)
- The best thing to do is to cook the pork shoulder and make the dough for the crust one day in advance. I’ve found that working with a dough that involves lard in a warm kitchen can be maddening. Your dough will fall apart. If you make it one day ahead, you save yourself a lot of frustration. It needs to be well chilled; overnight is best.
- At Pig & Pastry, we like things to be easy! That’s why we’ve made the pies into little rectangles. No one likes rolling out tons of rounds of dough when you can just roll out one long strip and cut rectangles. We’re also convinced that you can fit more filling in the rectangle. But, by all means, if you want a traditional empanada type shape, go for it!
- You will have more filling than you have enough dough to fill, unless you make a double batch of the dough. The filling recipe halves easily, though I’ve always felt that if you’re going to slow roast pork shoulder, better to do more than less. In any case, the filling also freezes well, so that you can make more pork pies in the future!
1.5 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1.5”-2” cubes, ideally from the coppa roast
2 teaspoons five spice*
salt and pepper
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
4 small to medium apples, preferably of a crisp, slightly tart, flavorful variety
½ cup dried currants
1 shallot, minced
½ cup unsweetened, all-natural apple juice
¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted and peeled
1 teaspoon honey
*For five spice, combine, one teaspoon ground clove, one teaspoon ground cinnamon, I teaspoon ground sweet paprika, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, and 1 tablespoon fresh ground nutmeg (Five spice recipe adapted from Paul Bertolli’s Cooking By Hand)
2.5 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cold lard
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons vodka
½ cup cream, plus a little extra to brush the pies
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
- Make the dough: In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Scatter the cold butter and lard over the flour and work it in with your hands, pinching the fat into little disks and rubbing the flour mixture between your hands. It should begin to resemble a coarse meal. Scatter the vodka over the mixture and stir gently with a fork. Beat the egg yolk into the cream, and pour it over the flour mixture, stirring gently with the fork until large clumps form. Turn the mixture- which will, at this point, be a bunch of wet crumbs- onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently a few times, until it can be patted into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill, at least one hour, but ideally overnight.
- To make the filling, preheat your oven to 300 degrees Farenheit, and season the pork shoulder cubes well with salt, pepper, and five spice. Put the seasoned meat into a heavy, oven-safe pot (like a le creuset), making sure that the pork fits snugly in the pot and is not scattered about in a pot that’s too big. Cover the pot and cook the pork, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 hours, or until it’s very tender. Remove and allow to cool slightly. When cool enough, remove the meat from the pot and chop it up, putting it back into the pot with the cooking fat as you go.
- Peel, core, and dice the apples into cubes about the size of the tip of your pinkie finger. In a large heavy pan or cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat and add the apples. After the apples have softened slightly, add the minced shallot and the currants. Cook for two minutes, then add the pork, fat, apple juice, and honey to the pan. Stir everything together, allow mixture to come to a simmer, and cook on medium heat for five minutes. Remove from the heat and cool mixture completely. Break up the hazelnuts gently with the back of your knife and add them to the cooled pork mixture.
- When you’re ready to assemble the pies, take the dough out and cut it in half. Pat each half into a rectangle and roll out into a long rectangle about ¼” thick. Use as much flour as you need to do this, but make sure to brush any excess flour off the dough before you assemble the pies. Cut the rectangles into 3-4 large squares, 4-5”x4-5”. Remove the squares to the pan on which you plan to bake the pies and chill for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Take out the pie squares and brush the edges with cream. Spoon at least ¼ cup of filling onto each one, being sure to spread the dough out so it seems dangerously close to the edges of the pie. (nothing worse than pie that’s all dough, no filling!) Gently pull one side of the square over the other, to form a rectangle. The edges of the dough should just barely meet. Press them gently together, and use the tines of the fork or the edge of a butter knife to imprint the edges with whatever design you like. Do this with all your squares.
- Cut three lines straight across the top of the pies, brush them lightly with cream, and put in the preheated oven to bake, for 20-30 minutes or until the tops begin to brown. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before moving them to another tray.
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