Andrew Smyth's pork and apricot picnic pie
Picnic season is upon us, so here's an easy and portable pie that you can make in the morning for an al fresco lunch, or serve up indoors if the weather's not great (we've got to be realistic after all!)... Yum.
Serves 6-8Prep: 30 minutes, plus chilling timeCook: 1 hour 20 minutes
Ingredients:For the pastry:450g plain flour150g strong white flour2 tsp salt120g chilled salted butter, cut into small cubes155g white vegetable fat 1 egg, lightly beaten (for glaze)
For the filling:800g good quality sausages, skinned removed or sausage meat6 sprigs fresh thyme, finely choppedSalt & Pepper10 spring onions, sliced into thin diagonal slices250g dried apricots, sliced into thin slicesSpecial equipment:1lb loaf tin: dimensions 22cm x 10cm x 7cm (length x width x depth)
Method:1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.
For the pastry: Sieve the plain flour, strong white flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter cubes and rub together lightly with your fingers until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor for this stage if you have one.
In a separate bowl, pour 310ml boiling water over the vegetable fat and stir until fully melted. Make a well in the flour mix and pour over the hot liquid. Stir using a wooden spoon to combine then knead by hand until it all comes together and is pliable. Place in a covered bowl and chill for 20 minutes.
For the filling: Squeeze the sausage meat into a large bowl and add the thyme and seasoning. Mix to incorporate the thyme evenly through the sausage meat.
Flour the worktop and take ¾ of the dough and roll it out quite quickly to roughly fit the tin base and sides. Drop it straight into the loaf tin. Use your hands to press it into the corners and pull it up each side of the tin. If it is too warm, and flops down chill in the fridge for a further 15 minutes until firm but pliable then try again. You want to aim for an even thickness of pastry around the whole tin, with excess at the top to trim off later on. Chill for at least 15 minutes once shaped to firm up.
To fill: Press ⅓ of the sausage meat firmly into the base of the pie, followed by ⅓ of the spring onions and apricots. Repeat for 2 more sets of layers, pressing down firmly at each stage. Roll out the reserved ¼ of pastry to around 5mm and drape over the top of the pie. Press down and crimp the pastry around edges then trim off the excess.
Brush a little beaten egg on the top and poke a small hole in the middle to release any steam. Bake in the oven for 1 hour 10 - 1 hour 20 minutes until golden brown. Check with a probe thermometer, if you have one, that the centre is cooked to 82C.
Leave to cool completely in the tin. Then remove from the tin, chill for best results and serve with salad and pickles if liked.