Yorkshire Recipes

Main Meals

‘A Genuine Yorkshire Pork Pie’

It would be no porkie to state, loud and proud, that Yorkshire is the pork pie capital of Britain, if not the universe. I’m told that there’s a place called Melton Mowbray that reckon they can make ’em too. But if you ask the Pork Pie Appreciation Society (based in Yorkshire) where the best pork pies come from – based on the results of their annual and nationwide competition – they will say ‘Yorkshire!’  And particularly from around Huddersfield and Wakefield areas that seem to nurture winning pie makers.   So, we do like our pork pies, and here’s an old recipe with its origins in the Huddersfield area.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz (50g) lard
  • 2 oz (50g) butter
  • 12 oz (340g) plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 lb (32 oz/900g) pork (shoulder and/or belly)
  • Fresh sage
  • Salt & pepper
  • Stock (see below)

Method

  1. Mince the pork and add a quarter teaspoon of chopped sage and seasoning
  2. To make the pastry melt the lard and butter in 5 fl oz (quarter pint) of hot water, and bring it to the boil.
  3. Remove from the heat and pour the liquid into the sifted flour.
  4. Mix it quickly, and beat in the egg. It’s best to work in a warm kitchen to keep the pastry warm
  5. Again, working quickly, line a well-greased 8″ (20 cm) firm based cake tin with the warm pastry. Keep enough pastry back to make the lid. (Lining the cake tin evenly and generously with grease-proof paper will make the pie easier to lift out of the tin after cooking when cold)
  6. Fill the pie with the pork and cover with the pastry lid, sealing and crimping it well. Make a small hole in the centre of the pie – using the stem of a small funnel that you will use later will ensure the right size of hole. You can add, if you wish, small rosettes of surplus pastry around the hole to disguise it. You can glaze the pastry top with a beaten egg if you like, although this will result in an uneven colour to the pie as a whole when it’s removed from the tin.
  7. Bake the pie for two hours in a moderate oven (around gas mark 4/350 F/180 C)
  8. In the meantime, make the stock by boiling up two pig’s trotters with a spoonful of mixed herbs in around a litre of water. Simmer the stock for about an hour  or longer until it reduces to around half a pint. Allow it to cool a little.
  9. Using a small funnel, slowly and carefully pour the warm stock into the cooked pie through the hole made in the top you made previously
  10. Allow the pie to grow cold before turning it out of the tin.

Source: adapted from Catherine Rothwell. Traditional Yorkshire Recipes (1997) Aurora Publications

5 Responses to ‘A Genuine Yorkshire Pork Pie’

  • Alan George Barstow

    I’m an ex-pat Englishman (half Yorkshire!) and I now live in the food desert of Sweden. I have no option but to roll my sleeves up and make my own Yorkshire Pork Pies. The locals have sampled them and love them. My recipe is very similar to yours. I add the seasonings to the pork (a mix of minced pork belly and diced pork shoulder) at the rate of 2% of the weight of the pork in salt, and 0·2% of the weight of pork in both black pepper and dried sage. I mix the seasonings with the pork and then place it, covered, into the fridge for 24 hours before making the pies. This gives a partial-cure which serves to enhance the flavour.

    I also roast some pork bones that I add to the stock along with the split trotters, an onion and some black peppercorns. Yorkshire pork pies are the food of the gods and a million times better than those tasteless things from Melton Mowbray. Oh, and I also make my own sausages (and sausage rolls), cure (and cold smoke) my own bacon, make steak and kidney pies, and bake my own bread, crumpets, Derbyshire oatcakes and English muffins. I’ll not go hungry!

    • Colin Neville

      You can take the man out of Yorkshire, but you will never take the Yorkshire out of the man! I can understand why the locals beat a path to your door.

  • RUPERT HONE

    Thank you for expounding the Northen version of Pork Pies, as opposed to that grey cold lump from the midlands aka Melton Mowbray! i have understood that the 2 key differences between the species are a) Northern pies are served warm preferably and b) the meat is pink as it has been cured ie the minced bork is mixed with a small quantity of pork pie curing salts.Available from Weschenfelder in the uk. This makes all the difference !

  • Lynda FINN

    I have nowt against Melton Mowbray or their pies which I find tasty. I can be pro-Yorkshire without being anti-anyone else!

    However, it’s true that to most Yorkshire women making your own pork pies, especially for a Christmas breakfast, is something one learns early. It’s a heritage food for sure.
    I’ve made my own pies for many years as even the artisan pies, made with great care and easily edible, are not a patch on those I knock up in my kitchen. 
    I’ve found there are as many variations as there are families: some add mace, others nutmeg; some say ham, others add bacon. The main ingredient is the love and care you take in preparation.

  • Graham Garside

    These are fantastic notes on the famous Yorkshire pie, thank you! My grandfather (Lionel Garside) had a bunch of butcher shops in Yorkshire back in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s… 7 or 8 shops at one point I believe…. and the pork pies were apparently his featured item.. I believe I may have just found the only known copy of his pie recipe in an old taped up box with pie tins in my parents basement (both my parents recently passed away)… I’ve yet to open this box, but am excited to see what might be inside! That said, it seems the Yorkshire pie is in no way a lost art form, so thanks again for these wonderful notes!

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