Game Pie

The Game Pie Recipe This traditional raised pie makes an impressive centerpiece for a summer picnic and keeps well for days in the fridge.

Chilling time:

Special equipment:
2lb (900g) loaf pan
small funnel

For the hot water crust
2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1⁄2 tsp fine salt
11 tbsp lard or beef dripping, cubed
1 egg, beaten, for glazing

For the filling:
6oz (150g) pork shoulder, cut in 1cm (1⁄2in) chunks
6oz (150g) pork belly, trimmed, cut in 1⁄2in (1cm)
9oz (250g) venison, cut in 1⁄2in (1cm) chunks
2 pheasant breasts, cut in 1⁄2in (1cm) slices
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the jelly:
1 tbsp unflavored, powdered gelatin
1 1⁄2 cups chicken stock

1 Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). To make the hot water crust, place the flour and salt in a bowl and make a well. Boil a small pan of water then measure out
2⁄3 cup of boiling water into a heatproof measuring cup. Add the lard or dripping to the water and stir until the fat has melted. This reduces the temperature of the water and makes it easy to work with.

2 Pour the liquid into the center of the flour and mix together with a wooden spoon. At the end you will need to use your hands to bring it all together into a soft dough. Be careful, as it will be hot. Cut off one-quarter of the pastry, wrap it in a clean kitchen towel, and put it somewhere warm for later.

3 Working quickly, as the pastry will harden as it cools, turn the dough out on to a well floured work surface and roll it out to a thickness of ¼in (5mm). Use the rolling pin to carefully lift the pastry into the loaf pan. Press it firmly all around the bottom and the sides of the pan. Trim off any excess pastry, allowing an overhang of 3⁄4in (2cm).

4 Pack the pastry crust with layers of the pork, venison, and pheasant, seasoning liberally with salt and pepper between each layer. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg. Now roll out the set aside pastry and use it to top the pie. Press down all around the edges of the pan with your fingers to seal, and trim off any excess. Decorate the pie, if desired, with pastry leaves made from the offcuts, and brush the top with a little beaten egg. Use a chopstick or other implement to make a hole in the top of the pie, so you can fill with jelly after it has cooked.

5 Bake the pie in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F (160°C) and cook for another 1¼ hours until golden brown. Remove the pie from the oven and leave it to cool in the pan.

6 Heat the chicken stock and add the gelatin, stirring until it dissolves. Leave it to cool. Once the liquid starts to thicken, but not solidify, pour it with a small funnel into the top of the pie, a little at a time. You may need to re-open the hole in the top of the pie if it has closed up when cooking. Refrigerate to set the jelly overnight before eating.

The pie will keep for 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Hot water pastry has a reputation for being difficult to handle. It does need to be used quickly, before it starts to cool and harden, but is remarkably pliable and can be squashed and shaped to fit the pan far more easily than other types of pastry. It is also extremely resilient, and will remain crisp for days.

Game Pie Recipe
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