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'I can't resist pork pies, I eat them secretly so my wife doesn't catch me' author Michael Morpurgo revealed to the Daily Mail. And he’s not alone in his passion for the traditional meat pie. Last year the Brits spent an astounding £150 million on the evocative 200 year old pastry pie which has started brawls, battled legal recognition, endured soggy sporting events and even had a hat named after it.
What is it?
The simple British pork pie has a roughly chopped pork and pork jelly interior sealed inside a crumbly melt in your mouth hot water crust pastry. They're normally eaten cold or at room temperature as a satisfying and convenient snack.
Brits have been chomping on the hand held snack since the early 18th Century where it was originally used as easily portable fodder by labourers working in the fields. That is until the green eyed aristocracy developed a taste for meaty treat when the portable pie's recipe was modified and transported from its native Midland's home, Melton Mowbray into London's elite.
These days the true Melton Mowbray pork pie recipe and production is legally protected having been allocated PGI status by the European Union. The recipe, baking technique and region of production are all tightly controlled to ensure authenticity.
Pork pies can be purchased pretty much anywhere in the UK, from the luxury London food store, Fortnum and Mason, farmers markets and gastro pubs to supermarkets and motorway service stations. And if you're really big fan you can even have wedding pork pies.
Take them in your pocket, on picnics, to sporting events or even down the local with a pint of bitter or cider and enjoy a slice of history.
This fascinating video follows the pies' rags to riches story:
Ready Steady Bake
British baking legends Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood show us how to bake a pork pie in three easy steps. First the pastry, then the filling and the final bake. Have a go, it's easier than you think and there's nothing more satisfying than a homemade pie.
1) Making the Hot Water Crust Pastry
This unique pastry is made with plain flour, strong flour, hot water, butter and lard, giving a hard strong finish suitable for heavy fillings and once baked results in a crumbly, flaky texture.
2) Preparing the filling for pork pies
Streaky bacon, hand sliced Pork loin, onion, parsley and seasoning form the filling.
3) Putting the finishing touches to the pie
These pies come with the extra addition of hard boiled quails eggs put inside the pork filling. Golden brown baked pies have hot stock and gelatine poured throught the lid to fill the interior cavity between the pork and the pastry and chilled overnight to set the gelatin.