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Traditional English Pork Pies


Knowing that I come Northern England some of you will understand if I tell you I have a fondness for pork pies since they have been part of growing up. Pork pies were usually a special treat bought by Nana or served at parents parties along with Vol au Vents and sausage rolls (oh the gourmet 80s)!  What I wasn’t expecting was for P to become obsessed with them and want to visit the local bakery every morning when we were in England to have one for breakfast! He thinks they are the best pies he has tasted. We joked that after four weeks of being at home he wouldn’t fit into his suit for the wedding, let me tell you, it was a bit touch and go!

We have a famous traditional bakery where my parents live (or maybe we think it is famous), perhaps not quite so famous as Melton Mowbray pork pies, but they certainly taste every bit as good as them. Satterthwaites has been baking and trading since 1910 and still produces some of the most traditional pastries and slices and is the first stop we make off the plane.

I have been promising P I would make them since our return from the UK so here is the recipe which I found on The Hairy Bikers Food Tour of Britain. They are quite time consuming but were worth every minute when you can’t pop down the road to buy them fresh from the oven. P was also kind enough to share the pies with some Kiwi friends which we invited over for dinner so this is part one of our English Super!  Pear and Ginger pudding recipe will follow soon.

Ingredients – Pastry

  • 150g lard
  • 100ml water
  • 450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten, for brushing

Ingredients – Pork Pie Filling

  • 400g shoulder of pork, finely chopped
  • 55g pork belly, skin removed, minced
  • 55g lean bacon, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • I added a handful of chopped sage

Ingredients – Pork Jelly (optional but gives the authentic taste)

  • 900g pork bones
  • 2 pig’s trotters
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 bouquet garni (bay, thyme, parsley; tied together with string)
  • ½ tbsp black peppercorns


1. For the pastry, place the lard and water into a small pan and gently heat until the lard has melted.
2. Sift the flour into a large bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well.
3. Make a well in the flour and pour in the warm lard mixture. Mix well to combine, until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Knead for a few minutes, then form into a ball and set aside.

4. For the pork jelly, place all of the pork jelly ingredients into a large pan and pour in enough water to just cover. Bring slowly to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for three hours over a low heat, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface, then strain the stock through a fine sieve and discard the solids.
5. Pour the sieved stock into a clean pan and simmer over a medium heat until the liquid has reduced to approximately 500ml/1 pint.

6. For the pie filling, place all of the pie filling ingredients into a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
7. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
8. Dust a pork pie dolly (or a small jam jar) with plain flour to prevent the pastry from sticking.
9. On a floured work surface, roll out the remaining three-quarters of pastry to about 3/4 centimetre thick and cut out circles 12cm in diameter. Place the pie dolly (jar) into the middle of the pastry circle and draw the edges of the pastry up around the sides of the dolly to create the pie casing, this will also tin the pastry further to about 1/2 centimetre. Carefully remove the dolly from the pastry once your pie casing is formed. It should look like a little cup about 7cm high that will stand on it’s own.

10. Roll the pork pie filling into a ball and carefully place into the bottom of the pastry case.
11. Roll out the remaining piece of pastry to 1/2 centimetre thick and cut into circles large enough to cover the pastry case as a lid (depending on the size of dolly (jar) you use. Alternatively you could line a cake tin (about 22cm) and make one large pie if you don’t want to hand mould them.

12. Brush the top inner parts of the pastry casing with some of the beaten egg and place the pastry circle on top. Pinch the edges of the pastry to seal the pie. Brush the top of the pie with the rest of the beaten egg, then bake in the oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the pie is golden-brown all over.
13. Remove the pie from the oven and set aside to cool. Cut two small holes in the top of the pork pie and pour in the pork jelly mixture (you may need to heat it through gently to loosen the mixture for pouring). Chill in the fridge until the jelly is set.
14. To serve, cut the pie into slices and serve with piccalilli or chutney.

20 Comments Post a comment
  1. omg these were soooooo good in England. i ate some on the bank of the Thames in Oxford after punting one magical afternoon. And damn straight Im making the pigs feet gelatin to go inside too…

    October 19, 2009
  2. kms #

    my husband is fanatic about his coleman’s mustard! once he sees your pork pies with them, he’s going to keel over. gorgeous as always!

    October 20, 2009
  3. Vivian Estabrook #

    Thank you! I lost my husband’s Nanna’s pork pie recipe and this is as close as I can remember. We loved to cook together, she from England and me from the Deep South. Thank you Vivian Estabrook

    November 21, 2009
    • peasepudding #

      Thanks for your reply Vivian, I hope you have fun making them and they are how you remember them! My Nan is the person who inspired me to bake and I have a lot of fond memories of cakes and biscuits I used to make with her for birthday parties.

      November 23, 2009
  4. Bernie mc donald #

    I am also from Northern England, Bradford Yorkshire to be exact. Nothing to do with the ” Best pork pie shop in the whole wide universe” That has located here in Buffalo New York, from Bradford. I came fifty five years ago. I think your recipe is more true to the Yorkshire tradition. I will try it And I will let you know if it is as authentic as it sounds. One little criticism where are the mushy pies with a little mint vinegar over the peas. Thank you very much for the recipe.

    October 25, 2010
    • peasepudding #

      Hi Bernie, sadly we do not get mushy peas here in NZ :o( but we do bring a few bags back with us whenever we go home! I am looking forward to having them again next June.

      October 28, 2010
      • Dennis Horne #

        Hi peasepudding
        You can get mushy peas from Pack n save, New World, or Countdown, or you can buy blue peas and make your own like I do

        December 21, 2010
      • peasepudding #

        Thanks Dennis! I will have a look for them, I have got used to not being able to buy them here I have not bothered to look! Mushy Peas here I come……

        January 1, 2011
  5. Mike #

    Looks like a winner! Just curious about the mention of milk in the method but not the ingredients. Anyway will give it a try without any milk. Thanks.

    November 14, 2010
    • peasepudding #

      Hi Mike, good spotting and thanks for mentioning it, there should be no milk in the pastry, I have amended the recipe. happy cooking and let me know how they turn out.

      November 14, 2010
  6. Very nice!

    December 29, 2011
  7. Vicky Cowan #

    have the jelly simmering now, going to the butcher to get the lard and minced pork…. looks great all the other recipes seemed to use gelatine yuk when you can get trotters

    March 15, 2012
  8. tony court #

    As ong as I remember back ,about 70yrs I’ve loved pork pies, thee best walkers, I dont think it is the meton mowbrey pie, sadly cant get anyone to make me one so I’m going to give this one a go. p s ,i cant cook

    November 2, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      Good luck Tony! Sadly our favourite pie shop back home closed down last month after 102 years of trading.

      November 2, 2012
  9. Carrie #

    Well, I’m from northeast New England! New Hampshire, USA to be exact. And I searched for a simple recipe for pork pies due to the fact that the place that I grew up with, the only pork pie I’ll ever love, is too far away
    :[ So, I figured, since I love to cook so much, I’d give this little treat a try. But then, i read this post, ugggh! I really don’t know if all the ingredients you mentioned are easy for me to purchase or, out this way, are too expensive! 8/ Either way, I thank you for sharing this, because it helps me to search for the right ingredients to try to compare to my “not-so-local” pork pie people & their recipe…Wish me luck 😉

    January 8, 2013
    • peasepudding #

      Hi Carrie, funny you should leave me a note, I made a batch of ‘quicker’ pork pies yesterday. I only used pork shoulder and bacon in the filling ( no belly pork) and I skipped making the jelly altogether. Still very delicious, perhaps try them without making the jelly. Everything else is the same in the recipe. Drop me a line if you have any questions. Alli

      January 9, 2013
  10. OMG these are so good,was able to get all the necessary stuff from the St Lawrence Market in Toronto .I was born in Cheshire and moved to Canada .I had an Aunty who worked at a Pork Butchers and made the pork pies alas never got her recipe . Thank you again they are wonderful .

    March 12, 2014
  11. Hello I cannot wait to make these pies There is a very small bakery in the next state over (I live in Connecticut USA ) in Rhode Island where they make traditional English Pork Pies and I would walk through a blizzard to get them. Your recipe sounds like it will taste just like theirs or better. However I am having trouble converting from British metric measure to USA measures. Can you help me? or if not I will purchase metric measuring cups/spoons. Thank you Regards Ann from North Eastern Ct USA

    October 21, 2016

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