Pork, Apple and Cider Pie, adapted from here
This sturdy pork pie is exactly the kind of dish Frances had to teach herself to make to feed herself and her mother, after years of being fed by servants. One one pivotal point in the book, Frances tries to throw of her mother's suspicion of her strange behavior (staying around the house to liaise with Lillian rather than accompany her mother to social engagements) by focusing on making herself a "pie" for dinner. The pie is eventually abandoned when the book takes a dramatic turn. This pork pie seems like a real British dish - pork, apples and hard cider are stewed together under a quick crust also made with cider. The pork shoulder called for in the recipe makes for a really tender, tasty stew. The hard cider gives the dish - both the stew and the crust a nice tang and lightness. A perfect dish for a cozy winter evening.
1-2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 lb, 2 oz boneless pork shoulder cut into pieces
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
6 fl oz dry cider
6 fl oz chiken stock
3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
6 large sage leaves, chopped
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
4 fl oz dry cider
4 fl oz olive oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
12-14 oz all purpose flour
1 egg for glaze
- To make the stew, heat oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the onion and celery and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Do not let vegetables brown. Remove vegetables from pan.
- Add half of the pork to the pan and brown on all sides. When browned, remove half of pork to dish. Cook second half of pork until browned on all sides.
- When pork is browned, add it back to pan along with onion and celery.
- Sprinkle flour on top and stir and cook for about 1 minute.
- Add the cider and stock and stir to make sure flour is incorporated. Add the apples and sage and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes, until the pork is tender. Add more chicken stock if the mixture looks dry.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Remove the stew until the vessels you want to serve it in - either a larger casserole dish or individual/smaller dishes. Let cool.
- For crust, in a large bowl stir together the egg, cider, oil, baking powder and salt.
- Stir in the flour - you may not need all of it - under a soft dough forms. I used about 12 oz of the flour. This all came together easily with a wooden spoon and my hands.
- Form the dough into a ball, flatten and wrap in plastic.
- Refrigerate and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Roll out the dough when it is rested and cover the dish with the pork stew. Make whatever design you like - be sure to cut vents into the dough.
- Brush with the egg wash.
- Place the stew dish onto a large baking sheet to catch any leakage.
- Bake for 35 - 40 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
- Let sit 10 -15 minutes before serving.
The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters