Once you are diagnosed with coeliac disease, gluten ataxia or any other condition that requires you to cut all gluten out of your diet, there are certain foods you start to hanker for now that you can no longer buy them easily – pastries, cakes, breads, pizza, pies, and so much more. When Nicky reviewed Becky Excell’s How to Make Anything Gluten Free, after seven years in a strictly gluten-free home, she plumped for the Proper Pork Pies made with a gluten-free hot water crust pastry as the first recipe to make from the book.
Nicky found the hot water crust pastry astonishingly quick and simple to make, and it worked beautifully in the proper pork pies recipe. She describes these pies as “rich, umami mini pork pies with a thick, slightly flaky crust without any toughness and a nicely crisp base”. And I don’t think they lasted very long!
Read Nick’y full review of How To Make Anything Gluten Free by Becky Excell. Then check out the recipe below for the hot water crust pastry and proper pork pies. The pastry recipe can also be used for other pies.
Proper Pork Pies made with Gluten-Free Hot Water Crust Pastry
Pastry: 20 mins plus 1 hour chilling
Pies: 1 hour
For the hot water crust pastry
- 500 g (3¾ cups) gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 170 g (¾ cup) lard or butter
- 220 ml (1 cup minus 2 tbsp) milk
For the pies
- Butter or lard, for greasing
- Gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting
- 1 egg, beaten
For the filling
- 500 g (18 oz) pork mince (ground pork)
- 100 g (3½ oz) smoked streaky bacon, diced
- 3 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg, optional
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
Hot Water Crust Pastry
In a large mixing bowl, add your flour, xanthan gum and salt, then make a well in the middle. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, then add to the well but don’t mix them in just yet.
Chop your lard or butter into small chunks and place in a small saucepan over a low–medium heat. As soon as it begins to show signs of melting, add in your milk and slowly heat until all the lard or butter is melted. Stir to ensure everything is well combined.
Add the hot mixture to your mixing bowl and mix immediately until well incorporated. Using your hands, bring together into a ball. At this point, the dough should be lovely, oily and smooth. Wrap it in cling film (plastic wrap) and pop it into the fridge for 1 hour before using. Chilling adds much needed strength and structure to the dough, so don’t skip this part!
You can freeze this pastry for up to 2 months; defrost fully before using.
Add all the filling ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly, then cover and keep chilled until needed.
Grab a muffin tray and, using kitchen paper, lightly grease all of the holes with butter or lard. Remove your hot water crust pastry from the fridge and preheat your oven to 200°C fan / 220°C / 425°F.
Generously flour your work surface and rolling pin. Place your dough on the work surface and knead for 1 minute, adding more flour as necessary. Cut off one third of the dough and put it to one side, covering it with a tea (dish) towel to stop it drying out.
Roll the remaining dough out to a large rectangle about 3mm / ⅛in thick, ensuring your surface and rolling pin remain well floured so it doesn’t stick. Use a 10cm / 4in round biscuit (cookie) cutter to cut out as many circles as you can from the dough. You may have to reroll the off-cuts once more to get as many as 12.
Using a palette knife, lift the round shapes into the holes of your greased muffin tray. Gently push the pastry in, using your fingers, ensuring there’s a 3mm / ⅛in overhang by encouraging the pastry over the edge of your muffin hole. Repeat until you’ve used up your pastry.
Re-flour your work surface and roll out the reserved piece of dough to a 3mm / ⅛in thickness. Use an 8cm / 3in plain pastry cutter to cut out 12 circles for the lids.
Next, add the pork filling to your pastry cases, filling them to just slightly below the top of the pastry.
Brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg. Use a palette knife to transfer the pastry lids to the tops of the pastry cases. Crimp the edges together using a fork, taking care not to disturb the other pies.
Brush each pie with beaten egg.
Lastly, make a small hole in the very centre of the top of each lid by gently prodding with a sharp knife and twisting. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 160°C fan / 180°C / 350°F and bake for another 15 minutes, until golden.
Serve with a little relish on the side and enjoy hot or cold.
The pork pies were very much enjoyed with the hot water crust recipe given the stamp of approval. Nicky suggests she might add some jelly stock through the hole just before baking for a more luxurious filling.
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of How to Make Anything Gluten Free by Becky Excell from publishers Quadrille. Book photography by Hannah Hughes. Home-cooked food photography by Nicky Bramley.