For the medieval marked reenactment event that we were a part of this weekend, I was asked to make some lunch for the group. I knew were were about eight adults and a gaggle of children, so I wanted to make something in advance that was easy to eat and would feed a bunch of people. A have wanted to make some kind of hand pie for a while, so this seemed like a good opportunity.
Creating the recipe
I found a great recipe over at Haandkraft and used that as the base for my dish. I wasn’t able to get lard for the crust, so I substituted it for butter, which worked well – but was definitely less appropriate. Danish supermarkeds don’t carry lard anymore – so it was either butter or a plant based fat, which might also have worked.
I made three types of filling chicken and fennel; pork, apple and prunes and because I had some dough left over I made a simple apple pie with a hint of sugar and one of my medieval spice mixes. I precooked the meat for both meat pies, which was typical in pies as they were often made with leftovers. You can however fill the pies with any period appropriate fillings that you want – leftover meat would be a typical filling.
My pies are not quite small enough to be hand-pies, so we cut them into four pies that was very edible by hand. The pie is surprisingly sturdy and the filling don’t fall out, even when cut. I chose an edible crust rather than the inedible one, that was typical of the larger pies. Because they were meant to be eaten with one hand while standing up I think this choice made the most sense.
Making the pies
Once the filling is ready and the dough rested you assemble the pies. I use a small wooden bowl to shape the pies. I first cut the lid using the bowl as a stensil, then I lay layer of rolled out dough in the bowl, add filling, cut the eges clean and add the lid. Then I push the lid and sides together. Then I turn out the pie and set it on the baking trey, before baking it for 35-40 minutes.
I made pies filled with apple and powder douce out of the remaining dough.
If you are planing to use lard, you will want to use pie tins – my trial with it didn’t go all that smoothly. The pies sort of went all over the place. I can however now see that I overfilled the pies compared to last time and didn’t close them correctly. So that might also be part of the problem. I think I would recommend going with at least part butter – and if you use lard, work the dough until it become pliable. Adding a bit of salt is also a good idea as lard isn’t salted unlike most butter.
Making the dough by adding the flour to the hot water with melted butter in it
Mix the dough and let it rest for one hour
The pouch chicken, cooling so I am able to handle it
The mixed fillings
Roll out the dough, cut a lid by using the bowl as a stensil and line the bowl with the rolled out dough
Turn down the edges. Remember to cut a hole in the lid
Add the filling and cut off the excess dough
The pies ready for the oven. They hold their shape very well
The finished pie on their way to the market. They are not all the delicate. You can stack them and handle them quite easyly.
My experiment with a lard based crust. They didn’t all turn out as I wanted them to, but a few look pretty good. I am just afraid that the cracking will have let out too much moisture.
A few of them look all right though.
Small medieval meat pies
Medieval hand pies with three types of filling. Each pie can be cut into four pieces and shared. I have included three ideas for filling but you can vary it to your heart's desire. They are the perfect lunch food for a busy event and can be made well beforehand. They are quite sturdy and keep well. They taste best reheated either in the oven or over the campfire, but they can be eaten cold.
Add water and butter to a pot and boil it until the butter is melted.
Add the water to a bowl and add the flour in a bit at a time until you have a nice soft dough. Knead it for a minut or so until it has a nice consistency.
Let it rest for at least an hour. A bit of the butter might separate while it is resting, just add a bit more flour and knead it back in.
Pouch the chicken, by adding the chicken breast to a pot, add in the whole spring onion and a couple of peppercorns. Cover with water and turn the heat to medium. Boil it until the internal temp of the chicken reaches about 72 C - that toke me about 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the water and let it cool. Remove the pepper seeds.
After it is cool you dices the fennel and chop the spring onion into smaller pieces.
Fry the pork in the butter until it is cooked tough.
Add diced apple and prunes and mix it together.
Dice the apple and mix it with the spices. You can add raisins if you want.
Assembling the pies
Once the filling is ready and the dough rested you assemble the pies. I use a small wooden bowl to shape the pies. Roll out a piece of dough the size of the bowl. Use the bowl as a stensil to cut out the lid and set it aside.
Roll out a piece of the dough so it is large enough to cover the bowl and line it with the dough.
Add filling, cut the edges clean and add the lid. Then push the lid and sides together and cut a hole in the lid.
Then turn out the pie and set it on the baking trey
Bake it for 35-40 minutes at 200 C