History tells us that the first recorded recipe for a pork pie was in 1390 in the kitchen of King Richard II, the monarch whose actions led ultimately to War of Roses and still to this day we enjoy pork pies and appreciate their taste.
Like traditional dishes, the British raised pork pie has its origins as a means of preserving meat. Unlike salting, curing and air drying, making pork pies was not intended to keep meat edible for some months.
The hot water pork pie crust was made from boiling lard in salted water and tipping it into flour acted as a container for the meat so it stayed fresher for longer and didn’t get damaged.
Hot water pastry is capable of being moulded into shapes which support their own weight, so is good to use as a pastry pot for pork and herb and spice flavourings.
Years and years ago, once the pie was baked, butter was poured through the hole and the raised crust ensured the butter didn’t run out. When solidified, the butter excluded the air from touching the meat, keeping it fresh for some time.
The home of the Yorkshire pork pie is the Old Bridge Inn at Rippondon near Halifax.
Yes, there’s a group for appreciating pork pies – the Pork Pie Appreciation Society and they meet on Saturdays where members have over the last few years subjected more than 1,000 pie offerings to critical scrutiny.
The rules for testing them are as follows: First the pie is held up to the light, to admire its colour and structure. A good pie must not mind being probed, prodded and poked and when sniffed, it must have an aromatic smell.
The pies are then cut into two and the experts speculate upon its provenance and appellation. First the crust is savoured. The wedge is bitten into, its jelly swilled from one side of the mouth to the other.