Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Meat Pie Of Fleet Street

In the spirit of Sweeny Todd whose poor throat was slit by the mistreated but lovable little boy Toby, and the ghoulish humor of Tim Burton, I present to you Mrs Lovett’s succulent meat pies. Sans of course, the roaches and “man devouring man” part =). The dark alleys of Fleet Street and that little meat pie shop below the barbershop inspired me to pore over my ancient Foods of the World Cookbook – The Cooking of The British Isles….

I like meat pies myself, turnovers, empanadas – different nationalities, same family. Meat pies, shepherd pies, chutneys, fish and chips and beer are all memoirs of our British cookery in school.

. .

"Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please?
Are your nostrils a quiver and tingling as well
at the delicate lashes ambrosial smell?
Yes they are I can tell
Well, ladies and gentlemen, that aroma enriching the bees
Is like nothing compared to its succulent source
as the gourmets among you will tell you of course.." - Toby

Veal and Ham Pie
To serve 6 to 8

2 T butter, softened
2 lbs lean boneless veal, cut into ¼ inch cubes
1 lb. lean smoked ham, cut into i/4” cubes
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
6 T brandy
6 T fresh or canned chicken/ beef stocks (better use brown stock for this)
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 t finely grated lemon peel
1 t crumbled dried sage leaves
1 t salt
¼ t freshly ground black pepper
4 hard cooked eggs
8 – 10 pickled walnuts (optional)
1 eggyolk combined with 1 T heavy cream
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 C chicken stock, fresh or canned

Hot Water Pastry:

5 C AP flour
½ t salt
10 T lard
6 T milk
2 T water

1. In a deep bowl, combine the flour and salt. Warm the lard, milk and water in a saucepan in moderate heat, and stir until the lard melts. Beat the mixture, a few tablespoons at a time, into the flour, and continue to beat until the doug can be gathered into a compact ball.

2. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 2- 3 minutes by pressing it down, pushing it forward, and folding it back on itself until it is smooth and elastic. Again, gather it into a ball. Place it in a bowl and drape a dampened kitchen towel over it (this prevents the dough from drying out while resting– FH). Let the dough rest for 30 minutes before using.

To make veal and ham pie:

1. Pre- heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Using a pastry brush coat the bottom and sides of a 10x5x4 inch loaf mold with butter. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the veal, ham, parsley, brandy, stock, lemon juice, peel, sage, salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients about with a spoon until thoroughly mixed.

3. Break off about 1/3 of the hot- water pastry and set it aside. On a lightly- floured surface, roll out the remaining pastry into a rectangle about 20” long, 10” wide and ¼” thick. Drape the pastry over the rolling pin, lift it up, and unroll it slackly over the mold. Gently press the pastry into the mold. Roll the pin over the rim to trim off the excess pastry.

4. Spoon enough of the veal and ham mixture into the pastry shell to fill it a little less than half full. Arrange the hard- cooked eggs in a single row down the center of the mold and line up the pickled walnuts, if you are using them, on both sides of the eggs. Cover the eggs with the remaining meat mixture, filling the shell within in inch of the top.

5. Roll the reserved pastry into a 4x13 inch rectangle ¼” thick. Lift it up on the pin and drape it over the top of the mold. Trim off the excess with a small knife, and with the tines of a fork or your fingers, crimp the pastry to secure it to the rim of the mold. Then cut a 1” round hole in the center of the pie. Roll out the scraps of pastry and cut them into leaf and flower shapes. Moisten their bottom sides with the egg and cream mixture and arrange on the pie. Brush the entire surface with egg and cream mixture. (Brushing the “egg wash” on breads and turnovers give the food that golden- brown, shiny surface upon baking and prevents drying. –FH)

6. Bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 2 hours or until the top is a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, in a 1 to 11/2 quart saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 cups of cold chicken stock and let it soften for 2 minutes. Then set the pan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly until the gelatin dissolves completely. Pour the gelatin through a funnel into the opening of the pie.

8. Cool the pie to room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 6 hours, or until the aspic is set. Ideally the pie should be removed from the refrigerator about 3o minutes before being served.

9. To unmold and serve the pie, run the blade of a sharp knife around the inside edges of the mold and dip the bottom of the mold in hot water. (Hot water will soften the adherence of the pie crust to the mold. Remember that the pastry was made with 10 T lard – FH)

10. Wipe the mold dry, place an inverted serving plate over it, and grasping mold and plate together firmly, quickly turn them over. Turn the pie over and serve, cut into ½ inch thick slices.

"(Now) sample Mrs. Lovett's meat pies
savory and sweet pies as you'll see
You, who eat pies Mrs. Lovett's meat pies
conjure up the treat pies used to be.."

Foods of the World
The Cooking of the British Isles
By Adrian Bailey and the Editors of TIME- LIFE Books
New York, 1969


Anali said...

I do love Johnny Depp, but I can't say that I'm a meat pie fan. Just wanted to hop over here from Zen Chef's blog. What a great story! Congratulations on your big vanilla win! : D

Anonymous said...

I have to see that Sweeny Todd movie! Always loved the Depp/Burton duo.
Should i bring a thick slice of meat pie instead of popcorn? Yum. My kind of snack! :-)

foodhuntress79 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elay said...

God it's Good!

So can we have meatpies? I will set aside my vegetarian attempts for awhile if i can have this tempting meat pies from fleet street..

foodhuntress79 said...

Hello, Anali, welcome to my humble page - thank you =)Yes, I guess we have the same adoration to Johnny Depp- haha- and Tim Burton? A great influence to the imagination!

Zen Chef, you can bring a nice meat pie slice (if it is allowed in your theater) and enjoy all that gore. This movie should be part of our education!

Elay, yes, definitely!

foodhuntress79 said...

Note on the recipe and book: All credits go to "Foods of the World: Cooking of the British Isles" by Adrian Bailey and the Editors of Time Life Books, NY, 1969. This is an amazing collection of food travels, cuisines, traditions, culture, incredible recipes - lucky are those who have this in possession. Highly recommended to everybody who loves food.

Anonymous said...

yes johney depp is the man. but meat pie is....nice. -olya in school

Anonymous said...

you are all freaks. gushing over DEPP and MEAT PIE. hahaha losers