Best of British: The Pork Pie

My housemate is lucky enough to come from Melton Mowbray, the home of the pork pie. This traditional meat pie is a time-honoured snack, and is a must for any summer picnic. Packed with succulent minced pork, surrounded by pork jelly and wrapped in hot water crust pastry, it is British down to the very last crumb.

1280437_8f76c434In the late 18th century, the pork pie was discovered by hunters visiting Melton Mowbray. They favoured the snack as it would remain intact in their pockets whilst they were out chasing foxes, the meatiness sustaining them throughout the hunt. Dickinson and Morris has been baking pork pies in Melton Mowbray since 1851, and it is the oldest pork pie bakery in England. The recipe is so important to the area that the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, was set up in 1998 to protect it. In Yorkshire today, pork pies are known as ‘growlers’, as people yearned for them when they were hungry, when their stomachs were growling angrily.

So what makes the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie different from any other pork pie? The sides of a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie are bow-shaped, as they are baked free standing. Most other pork pies are straight-sided, and are baked in hoops. The meat used is fresh pork, which is naturally grey when cooked, liked roast pork. It is not pink like other pork pies, which used cured pork. This authentic snack uses chopped pork, which is not smooth on the palate like other pork pies, which conventionally used minced meat. The Melton Mowbray Pork Pie is also well jellied and the meat seasoned with salt and pepper.

Why not have a go at making your own?

Emily Patterson

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