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Molasses cured pork pies in hot water pastry crust

Pork Pies

Molasses-cured pork loin and gravy inside a flaky, sage-scented pie crust is totally worth a little time and effort. The technique for hot water crust is the only thing traditonal about these bad boys. Pork is marinated for 24 hours, then cooked in your Instapot the day before. They're easy to bake in a muffin tin, travel well, and are even better the next day, if any last that long.
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Course: Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pastry, pork
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 50 minutes
Curing Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 5 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 12 pies
Cost: 6

Equipment

  • Instapot
  • Muffin Tin
  • Funnel
  • Cast-Iron Skillet
  • Small saucepan

Ingredients

Molasses-Cured Pork

  • 1 kg pork loin or shoulder, or butt
  • 180 mL molasses
  • 35 g coarse salt
  • 20 g red chili powder
  • 10 g cumin
  • 10 g black pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced

Hot Water Pastry

  • 400 g flour
  • 55 g butter
  • 95 g lard
  • 6 g' salt
  • 6 each fresh sage leaves chopped
  • 170 mL water

Instructions

  • Cut the pork loin into pieces that will fit your inside your Instapot, roasting pan, Dutch Oven or cast-iron skillet. Rub all sides with salt and spices, then coat all over with molasses. I use a brush and wire rack to let the extra molasses drip onto a sheet pan. This can be reserved for later in the recipe. You can also use a 1-gallon zip top bag. Let the pork cure in the salt, spice, and molasses mixture for 12-24 hours. Remove and reserve any leftover marinade for gravy.
    Pork loin marinated in spices and molasses
  • The next day, heat lard or frying oil in a cast iron skillet. If using an Instapot you can use the Brown/Saute setting. I use my Instapot but still brown meat in the skillet to get a better crust. Either way, once the oil is hot, take your sweet time to fry the pork on all sides until deeply caramelized. Be cautious since the molasses will burn if left on high heat. Remove pork, add sliced onions and caramelize. Deglaze the pan with water.
    Molasses-cured braised pork
  • Cover 3/4 with about 3 cups of water. If using a slow cooker or oven, braise for 3-4 hours, turning occasionally until the meat is shreddable with a fork. Better yet, use your Instapot set on 'Meat/Stew' for 45 minutes on High Pressure. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid. Let everything cool. Once the meat is cool, shred it by hand and refrigerate until cold.
    Molasses Marinated Pulled Pork
  • Whisk about 100 mL room temperature cooking liquid with 10g gelatin powder. Boil the remaining reserved cooking liquid with any leftover molasses marinade. Continue to boil until liquid is reduced to about half, and season to taste with more molasses, salt, and/or spices. Pour boiling gravy into the gelatin mixture and whisk well to combine. Set aside at room temperature.
    Pork Pie Gravy
  • You want to work with the pies while the hot water pastry is still warm, so have the other ingedients ready and grease a muffin tin with some lard beforehand. Preheat oven to 375F. Bring the water, butter, lard, salt, and fresh sage to a boil. In a heat-proof bowl, make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the hot water mixture. Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until cool enough to handle and gently knead into a smooth dough with no lumps.
    Hot water pastry recipe by Lemons and Time
  • Take 2/3 of the dough and roll out on a well-floured surface to 1/4" thickness. Cut 12 circles large enough to go up the sides of your muffin tins. If you have pans for making big muffins you might get 9 large pies. Working quickly before the dough cools, press each circle into place using your fingers to even out the pastry and seal any cracks, especially in the corners.
    Hot water pastry crust for pork pies
  • Roll out the remaining dough and cut smaller circles for the lids. Fill each pie with cold shredded pork right to the top. Seal each lid completely using your fingers and egg wash.
    Pies filled with molasses pulled pork
  • Bake at 375F for about 45 minutes and check the internal temperature. When it reaches 180F and the pies are golden brown remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before unmolding onto a wire rack.
    Pork pies hot out of the oven.
  • Using a paring knife, make a hole in the top of each pie large enough to jam in the end of a funnel. Spoon or cafefully pour your gelatin mixture through the funnel until all empty space inside the pies is filled with the gravy. Now let the pies cool completely to room temperature. There's no need for refrigeration if you eat them within a day or two.
    Filling pork pies with gravy

Notes

Try adding thyme, savory, rosemary, or your favorite herbs in place of, or in addition to, fresh sage. You could make equally good pies with BBQ Pulled Pork, Poached Salmon, or Smoked Chicken. Caramelized onions are nice additions, and make a damn fine pie on their own.