Melton Mowbray Style

British Pork Pie

February 18, 2022
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Americans love their apple pie, but in Britain, pork pies rule the pastry roost. Brits spend more than £165 million on pork pies every year, according to statistics from the Kantar Worldpanel–more than they shell out for any other pie variety there. And among pork pies, the Melton Mowbray variety is king.

Melton Mowbray, a town in rural Leicestershire, England calls itself Britain’s “Rural Capital of Food” for the pork pies, and, Stilton cheese, both having been granted protected designation of origin (PDO) status by the European Commission. That distinction means anyone outside the 10-mile radius surrounding the town, and anyone using cured meat in the recipe, can’t officially call their pork pie a Melton Mowbray.

With that in mind, our Melton Mowbray-style pie uses hand-minced, uncured pork like the original, mixed with salt, pepper, sage, and a squirt of anchovy paste. Tucked into a traditional hot water crust with rich stock poured in through the vent hole to seal the meat, it’s a filling, portable feast. That portability made the pie a favorite bring-along on foxhunts as far back as the late 1700s. But the flavor of the pie took it nationwide.

To make it here, I adapted the recipe from Linda Collister’s wonderful, “The Great British Book of Baking,” with American measurements in mind (i.e. a “rasher” of bacon is what we know as a “slice.”)  While traditionally eaten cold or room temperature, we like the pie warmed a bit with a pile of cornichons and strong mustard on the side. Note: You will want to make the jellied stock the day before you bake the pies. And for another savory pie? Try our British Picnic Pie!


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