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Propagating Wild Yeast for Reenactments

Today, if you asked 50 people about how to start a wild yeast culture for making sourdough bread, it’s likely you’ll get 100 different answers, but in reality, all it takes is a little bit of flour, some water and…

Which Yeast (Time 0_00_55;12)

September 29, 2017

Akara Recipe

Akara is a simple, easy to make snack that was frequently made in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Dried Black-eyed Peas Onions Parsley flour Boiling water Lard First, pulverize the dried black-eyed peas into very small pieces. Add to…


A Fanciful Yet Easy Asparagus Soup

This delicious Asparagus Soup recipe from Elizabeth Cleland’s A new and easy methods of cookery (1755). Many of this recipe's techniques, including roux, food coloring, bone broth, and court-bouillon (the ingredients boiled in the soup that are removed before eating)…


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September 28, 2017

Rye and Indian Bread

This is called Rye and Indian bread, because it’s made of part rye flour and part Indian meal or sometimes we call it cornmeal. You can use just those two grains to make the flour, or you can add wheat…


Simple Boiled Plum Pudding

Many people hear the word pudding today and they think about some little custardy stuff in a cup or something you buy at the grocery store in a box and mix it up with some milk. Pudding has a much…

Plum Pudding (Time 0_11_05;10)

An Onion Soup Recipe from 1801

This recipe for onion soup is out of John Mollard’s 1801 cookbook, “The Art of Cooking Made Easy and Refined”. 4 oz. Butter 4 tbsps. Flour 8 midsized Onions of choice Salt 3 qts. Beef Stock 4 Egg Yolks 1…


A White Pot Recipe

A White Pot with Raisins and Dates Serves 1 - 6 (depending on how polite you are) The name “White Pot” originates from the Devon region of England. But this sweet, buttery custard bread pudding, layered with sweetmeats (dried fruits)…

Also Known as a White Pudding

Master Wood Turner Erv Tschanz

In this special video, master wood turner Erv Tschanz shares his passion for the craft. Erv is one of several skilled artisans that sells handcrafted items through Jas. Townsend & Son. The treenware cherry wood plate being made in this…

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September 13, 2017

Weaver/Trapper Interview: Experiencing History Through Reenacting

We've been busy interviewing fellow reenactors for the purpose of inspiring and encouraging viewers who are interested in getting involved in historical reenacting but don't know how to begin. Today we interview Tony Baker, a weaver by trade, who has…

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Starting a Living History Group from Scratch

It took an idea and a group of friends, and it went from there. Albert Roberts tells the story of how the innovative historical interpretive group "The HMS Acasta" was born. More great information! ***************************** Our Retail Website -…

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Page 1 of 69
A Pork Pie With A Standing Crust

A Pork Pie with a Standing Crust

In a previous post, I presented three common types of pastry crust used in the 18th century: the standing crust, the puff paste, and the short paste. These are fairly broad categories of crusts, and recipes for numerous variations for each have been published across the spectrum of 18th century cookbooks.

In the video above, Jon uses one variation of the standing crust to make a pork pie. It uses rendered suet for it’s fat ingredient.

The pork pie recipe we used is from Maria Eliza Rundel’s 1807 book, “A New System of Domestic Cookery.”

Rundel’s recipe is for a larger standing pie. She recommends baking it in a slow oven because of the amount and density of the meat filling.

The final addition of a lear or a gelatin gravy (omitted in Rundel’s recipe) is based on the very common 18th century practice of adding gravies, i.e., broths, caudles (thickened broths), or gelatin gravies, to pies after they are baked.

Also contrary to Rundel’s recipe, we made our pies individual-serving size. There are many period cookbooks that suggest such meat pies can be made large or small. We’ve down-sized the recipe below to make two of these smaller versions.

Rundel’s recipe may be an ancestral version of the modern traditional Melton-Mowbray pies that are still very popular in portions of the U.K. today. Regardless of whether the Melton-mowbray pie can be traced specifically to this recipe or not,  it is easy to conclude that the famed pies have roots which date back to at least the late 18th century.

Meat Pies were not constrained to standing crusts. Puff pastes or even short crusts can be used as well.  Richard Briggs in his 1788 cookbook, “The English Art of Cookery,” when speaking of a wide variety of meat pies, suggests this:

The most fascinating aspect of our experiments with standing crusts was the differences we noticed in the effects that various types of fat had on the crust. Butter, lard, and muscle fat (what is commonly referred to in period books as “drippings”) do not set up solid at room temperature as suet does. Consequently, standing crusts made with these fats or any combination of them can be worked even when cold. Crusts made with suet, however, must be work when the dough is hot. The moment the dough cools down, any attempt to work it will cause it to crack.

By the way, if you’re concerned about using suet and whether it may contribute a meaty flavor to your crust, it is my experience that properly rendered suet imparts the least amount of flavor to a crust than any of the other fats.

So here are the ingredients we used, proportioned for two generously-portioned individual-serving pork pies (two people can easily be filled with one of these pies, however, you may find yourself somewhat unwilling to share). The video at the beginning of this post will explain the directions.

For the Crust:

2-1/2c flour
6T rendered suet
1/2c plus 2T water
1/2t salt
1 egg  plus 1t Water, beaten, for egg wash

Be sure to watch the video below on how to form a small standing crust. We used a drinking glass for our a mold, however, pie dollies are available on line. If you choose to use rendered suet instead of the lard/butter combination we used in the video, be sure to form your crusts while the dough is hot. If the dough grows too cold to work, microwave the dough for a few seconds or cover the dough and set it near the fire.

For the Filling:

1 Pound Pork Shoulder, trimmed of fat and silver skin, and coarsely chopped
1/2 t Salt
1 t Black Pepper, ground

For the Lear (Gelatin Gravy)

Option 1:
1 Pig’s foot (have it quartered by your butcher)
enough water to cover

Option 2:
2 packets of Unflavored Gelatin
1-1/2 c water

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