Pork pie

Pork pie
Pork pie

A pork pie is a traditional British meat pie. It consists of roughly chopped pork and pork jelly sealed in a hot water crust pastry [1]. It is normally eaten cold as a snack or as part of a meal.



Traditional pork pie is served cold

There are two main types of pork pie generally available in commercial outlets:

Common pie

The common pie uses cured meat. Often produced in moulds or form, it gives the outside of the pie a very regular shape and the inside filling a pink colour. It is easier, simpler and cheaper to produce in volume, and hence the more common choice for commercial manufacturers.

Melton Mowbray pork pie

The Melton Mowbray pork pie is named after a town in Leicestershire [2]. Melton pies became popular among fox hunters in the area during the late nineteenth century. Only pies made within a designated zone around Melton, and using uncured pork, are allowed to carry the Melton Mowbray name on their packaging.[3]

The uncured meat of a Melton pie is grey in colour when cooked; the meat is chopped, rather than minced. The pie is made with a hand-formed crust – this style of production gives the pie a slightly irregular shape after baking. As the pies are baked free–standing, the sides bow out, they are not vertical like mould-baked pies.[4]

In light of the premium price of the Melton Mowbray pie, the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association applied for protection under the European "Protected designation of origin" laws as a result of the increasing production of Melton Mowbray-style pies by large commercial companies in factories far from Melton Mowbray, and recipes that deviated from the original uncured pork form. Protection was granted on 4 April 2008.[5]

Artisan pork pies

Melton Mowbray is considered the traditional source of commercial and artisan made pork pies, and the geographic range of British pork pies tends to centre on the English Midlands. Nevertheless, other regions of England also have small artisan, premium pork pie makers; notably Norfolk and Lincolnshire.

Yorkshire is also claimed as a good place to find "Artisan pork pies", also known as Growlers. An annual competition is held in Ripponden, Yorkshire, to find the best pork pie.[6]


Pork and cherry picnic pie

Pork pies have declined in popularity and availability in Britain since the middle of the 20th century[citation needed], concurrent with the rise in consumption of foreign snack foods. Varieties have extended further in recent years, which might be a reaction by commercial manufacturers to consumer health concerns, as pork pies tend to be very high in both calories and fat content.

A common variation on the common pork pie is the gala pie; a pie in which the pork is mixed with chicken and with a hard boiled egg in the centre. Gala pies are often baked in long, loaf-type tins, with multiple eggs arranged along the centre. The so called "long egg" in Gala pies is actually made of several eggs. The yolks are separated from the whites and the yolks are then poured into a long tube-shaped mould in which they are cooked. The hard yolk is removed from the mould then put inside a larger tube-shaped mould and the egg whites are poured round the outside of the hard yolk. The whole thing is then cooked again to harden the whites around the yolk. This is then removed from the mould thus producing one very long hard-boiled egg.[7]

A picnic pie is commonly available as smaller (3–5 in) varieties and ideal for picnics, usually with additional ingredients added to the pork and jelly filling mixture. Fillings added to the pork include apples, pickles or bacon.

In some cases the solid pastry top is replaced by a pastry lattice, allowing the meat filling to be seen. Occasionally the top crust is dispensed with altogether in favour of a layer of cranberries sealed into place with aspic jelly.

Names and references

Pork pie or Porkie pie, often shortened to porkie, is the Cockney rhyming slang term for lie. This was alluded to in a Labour Party broadcast during the 1997 UK general election, entitled 'John Major's Pork Pie Factory'.[8]

In Yorkshire (and also in Jersey), a pork pie is sometimes referred to as a "growler".[9] Larger sized pork pies are also known as "stand pies", especially in West Yorkshire (and more so, Halifax).

See also


External links

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