Okay, Colonials: enough with this fruit pie nonsense! Us Brits invented the pie-idea and firmly believe that any pie that doesn't feature something that once went "oink" is not
a pie: it's a tart, or a ... clafoutis, or a boysenberry or something.
There's perhaps only one thing better than a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, and that is Grosvenor Pie (which I've seen on the site, but now can't find.) A long rectangular pie made with hot-water-crust pastry, veal and ham, a layer of hard-boiled eggs down the middle, and the whole thing filled with clarified aspic jelly. Here we go:
It's an all-weekend project, so might as well make two while you're at it: they would keep for about a month in the fridge, but will vanish long before that. A 1" slab of cold pie, some Coleman's mustard, a little salt, and a pint of bitter is a right-proper British pub lunch, perhaps only surpassed by two slabs, four pints, and an equally-deadbeat co-worker.
Here's a decent Grosvenor Pie recipe
that's only missing three things: veal, aspic, and proper care. The aspic is key. I much prefer to cut the meat bigger so there are interstices the aspic can fill, and I also like to paint the crust interior with a couple of coats of warm aspic and allow it to set before filling the pie, rendering the crust hopefully waterproof.
If you make pastry, but have never made hot-water-crust pastry, it's basically everything you've learned never to do. Make a roux with the flour and lard, then add boiling water and knead with plastic gloves on? The result is dense, stodgy, and utterly essential to this pie.
How many people still make aspic from scratch? It's got a kinda ... Agatha Christie taint attached to it, dunnit? It's glorious, but almost extinct. Modern recipes call for ordinary stock set with gelatin: pah! The real thing uses chicken feet and pigs' trotters and smoked knuckles, and sets at room temperature without added gelatin. Here's a real recipe from Hungary
that is better than mine (ears and snouts? Duh!) but would nonetheless improve with addition of some chopped chicken feet and a couple of chicken backs. Paint the assembled pie with a heavy cream/egg-yolk wash for a bright glaze, bake, and while still warm from the oven, remove from pie-tin, wrap tightly in plastic wrap in case of leaks, return to pie-tin, pour warmed aspic through the top-holes, giving the pie a shoogle and a shake from time to time to get the air-pockets out, until brim-full of aspic. Refrigerate overnight in the plastic wrap, and grab your Coleman's mustard.
A closing question: commercial versions of this pie use hard-boiled egg-tubes that have the same-width yolk running down the middle. They're made by breaking eggs into a cylindrical centrifuge and boiling until set. I've racked my brain for years to find a way to recreate that, because here I get glorious eggs from perhaps the happiest chickens in the world. Here's the standard solution, which lacks the asthetics: