This amazing three tiered pie has dinner sorted.
For the hot water crust pastry, place the lard, butter and water in a saucepan and melt together gently over a low heat. Sift the flour into a bowl, make a well in the centre and break the eggs into it. Cut the eggs in with a knife and then pour the water/lard/butter mixture in. Stir the mixture as you pour. Bring the dough together, add more flour if needed. Knead the dough lightly until smooth, cover in cling film and rest in the fridge for an hour.
For the fruit fillings: Quince: peel and quarter the quinces. Take out the core and cut each quarter into three. Place into acidulated water (squeeze some lemon into a bowl of water) to stop the quince from discoulouring. Place the wine, port, Pedro Ximenez, sugar, quince paste and balsamic into a saucepan over a medium heat and stir to combine and melt the quince paste. Once combined add the quince (drain the lemon water first) and poach the quince over a low heat for about 30-45 minutes or until the quince is soft. Once soft drain the quince and leave to cool (you should totally keep the poaching liquid, reduce it and use it as a spread next time you eat cheese!).
Apple: peel and quarter the apples. Take out the core and cut each quarter into three. Place into acidulated water (squeeze some lemon into a bowl of water) to stop the apple from discoulouring. Melt the butter in a saucepan; add the drained apples, dried apples, cider, verjuice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Sautees until the apples start to soften and the liquid has evaporated.
Fig: Dice the figs and place in a small saucepan with the Sherry, Pedro Ximenez and Vino Cotto. Stir over a low heat until the figs have softened and soaked up all the liquid – this won’t take long so watch it.
For the pork filling, fry the bacon until the fat has mostly rendered, then drain and cool completely (I put it in the freezer to make sure it was completely cold as you cannot put even slightly warm meat with raw meat). Then combine the diced pork shoulder with the bacon, the diced pork loin, mince and the sausage meat taken out of the casings, add the seasonings and mix together – hands are the only thing to use to do this.
To assemble the pies, preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out the pastry and line each of the three tins (5”, 7” and 9” loose bottom tins or spring form tins). You can assemble them all at the same time or because the largest pie will take the longest to cook, make it first and start baking while you prepare the other two. Place a layer of pork in each one just under a third. Then a layer of fruit (fig in the large tin, quince in the medium and apple in the smallest). Add another layer of pork, then another layer of fruit then top with pork (you should be at the top of the tins by now). Roll out another sheet of pastry for the top, cut a hole in the centre of each piece, brush the sides of the pastry in the tin and lay the pastry over the top of the filled pie tin. Cut the pastry around the edges of the tin and then crimp to seal the top and sides together.
To decorate the edge of each pie, roll out a piece of your pastry into a long rectangle. Cut three strips about 1.5cm wide and plait the three strips together. Brush the top edge of your pie with egg wash and place the plait around the top edge of the pie.
Bake at 180°C for about half an hour, then turn down the temperature to 160°C and bake for another 3/4hr for the small pie, 1 ¾ hours for the medium pie and 2 hours for the large pie. (use a digital thermometer inserted into the middle of each pie to check that you have cooked the meat through. I took the meat to 75°C which made sure my pastry was also cooked through).
Decorations: cut leaf shapes from the leftover pastry and baste with egg wash mixed with the different food colourings – be as artistic as you like. Roll balls of pastry and press cloves into them to make apples, baste with the coloured egg wash. You can also weave some pastry and press over a dariole mould to make a basket for the apples. Bake until the pastry is crisp.
Stack the pies and decorate with leaves, apples and place your little basket filled with apples and leaves on top. You can use a brush dipped in glucose to make the leaves stick to the sides if you want to go that far.
The Great Australian Bake Off Companion cookbook is published by Hachette Australia, RRP $39.99
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