A WIGAN chef has been commissioned to create the world’s most expensive pie - to celebrate the forthcoming royal wedding.
The upper crust pastry - complete with William and Catherine’s initials carefully inscribed in gold leaf on the top - costs the best part of £3,000 and includes some of the planet’s dearest ingredients.
It goes on sale today and acclaimed pastry expert Tom Bridge, who has worked with Hollands Pies on the regal project, declares himself well satisfied with a meal fit for a future king and queen.
In fact Tom, who is development chef for Hollands’ owners Northern Foods and author of Pie Society, said the real trouble was knowing what to leave out.
He said: “Because it is a royal occasion we really wanted to put some swan in it but then discovered we could have been prosecuted for that. So instead we went for beautifully tender Wagyu beef at £85 a portion.
“We considered for a while some game - perhaps with something Prince Philip, as former President of the World Wildlife Fund, had bagged while out shooting. But in the end we opted for some really high quality oysters instead.
“For added flavour Maria Yuste from Hollands and I decided that there had to be the best mushrooms - Matsutake at £500 a portion - along with black and white Umbrian truffles which weigh in at £1,700.
“We thought about champagne and caviar to add a bit of extra class but in the end opted out because their flavours would have been lost. Perhaps we should have got some of Prince Charles’s Ducy Originals products in there too - but it’s too late now.
“The rest of the ingredients are relatively cheap so that shop customers can afford to buy one. And it is well worth while - it tastes sensational!”
Tom Bridge’s Royal Wedding pie
Game Pie Ingredients (so far)
450g/1lb Wagyu beef fillet £85.00
250g Matsutake mushrooms £ 500
50g Umbrian Black & White Truffle £1700
12 Whitstable Oysters
4 packets of Gold leaf £300
Game & Pork bones
1 pig’s foot
1 large onion, peeled
1 bay leaf
2 sage leaves
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of marjoram
Make the stock by putting all the ingredients into a large pan and boil and simmer for 2 hours or more until the stock as reduced to 300ml/half pint.
Let it cool and skim off all the fat. Check the seasoning and allow the stock to cool. Pour the stock through a fine non-metallic sieve and place to one side.
Hot water pastry
150g/5 oz lard
200ml/7 fl oz hot water
350g/12 oz plain flour, seasoned with 1/2tsp salt
1 large free range egg yolk
Put the lard and water into a saucepan and heat gently until the lard has melted. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and beat in the seasoned flour to form soft dough. Beat the egg yolk into the dough, cover the dough with a damp cloth and rest the dough in a warm place for 15 minutes, do not allow the dough to cool. Roll out the pastry and pat two-thirds of the pastry into a lightly greased pie mould or cake tin about 18cm (7 inches) in diameter with hinge sides and a detachable base. Evenly distributed to make the pie shape. Reserve the rest of the hot water pastry for the top.
Place the pie case onto a baking tray and put in the seasoned pork filling. Top with the pastry lid, firmly crimping the edges, being very careful not to break the pie case. Make a hole in the centre of the lid to allow the steam out during the cooking process. Bake in the lower part of the oven for 2 hours at Gas 2. Electric 150c / 300f.
10 minutes before the cooking time, egg glaze the pie and return to the oven.
Turn the oven off without opening the oven and leave the pie in the oven to dry naturally for 1 hour.
Reheat the jelly until just warm and pour into the hole of the pie, as much stock as the pie will hold.
Let the pie cool and wrap in cling film, refrigerate for at least 1 day. Take one slice from the pie and hide before finishing the ploughman’s lunch or letting the Hubby devour your hard work.
For the filling:
2 1/2 lb, 1 kg game meat (Use 700g venison and then top up with small game) 450g / 1lb Wagyu beef fillet 500g Matsutake mushrooms 5fl oz, 150 ml Champagne
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 level tsp dried thyme
butter, for greasing,
1 lb, 450g hard back pork fat
1 lb, 450g lean pork
1 1/4 level tsp ground ginger
1 1/4 level tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 clove of garlic crushed
2-3 level teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
8 oz, 225g thin, unsmoked bacon rashers
salt and pepper to season
6 oz Umbrian white truffle
You really need a sprung, 18cm, 7inch deep cake tin for the baking as this will make it very easy to release the pie partway through the cooking.
Making and cooking it
Marinating the meat:
1.Trim the game meat from the bones and cube, keeping bones and scraps for the stock.
2.Pour in the Champagne and brandy with the thyme and some salt and pepper. Cover and leave to marinade in a cool place overnight.
3.Making the stock:
4.Place the game bones and scraps into a deep pan; add enough cold water to cover. Add the spices and herbs for the jellied stock, together with the carrot and the onion stuck with cloves. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours. Skim the surface of the stock now and again.
5.Strain the stock through a sieve into a clean saucepan and boil rapidly until the liquid has reduced to 1 pint, 570ml. Taste and season with salt and lemon juice as needed.
6.Remove the stock from the heat and whisk in the packet of gelatine. Cover and leave to chill overnight. Day 2:
1.Skim the surface of the stock. It should have set and all the bits will make a thin layer at the top, scrape these off with a spoon.
To make the hot-water pastry:
1. Mix the flour and the salt in a ceramic or metal bowl.
2.Melt the lard in the liquid, bring to the boil and pour into the bowl of flour. Beat quickly to form dough. Lightly pinch together with one hand. Kneed until smooth. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes.
3.To make the pork filling:
4.Finely mince the pork fat and lean pork. (A food processor will do this job in seconds.) 5.Add the garlic, spices, parsley and a seasoning of salt and pepper mix well and divide into four equal parts.
6.Shape each quarter into a flat round, slightly smaller than the diameter of the cake tin. (I used small tea plates as a mould, which worked really well.) To make the pie:
1.Having rested the pastry, divide into 2/3rds, and 1/3rd. The 1/3rd will make the pie lid, rewrap it and set aside.
2.Roll out the pastry and line the sprung cake tin which has been lightly greased. The pastry needs to be taller than the sides of the cake tin by 1/4 inch, 0.5 cm. Make sure that there are no thin areas or your pie could leak!
3.Line the inside of the pie crust with the bacon rashers, trim to just below the edge of the cake tin.
4.Place a round of the minced pork mixture in, cover with a layer of marinade meat (Use about 1/3rd.) Add another layer of pork and so on finishing with a pork layer, topped with oysters and white and black truffle, sprinkled in champagne.
5.Roll out the remaining pastry to make the lid. Glaze the inside of the pastry base and lay on the lid. Pinch the edges of the pie crust together well to give a good join. Cut a hole in the centre to let out the steam. (This will also be used to add the stock so make it about 1cm square.) Use any remaining pastry to cut out leaves or diamonds to decorate the crust. Stick these on with a little egg then glaze the top of the pie with the rest of the egg.
To cook the pie:
1.Lay a sheet of foil over the pie to prevent the top from burning. Bake at 220 C, Gas 7 for 15-20 minutes, remove the foil and then bake at 180 C, Gas 4 for 1 hour or until tender when tested through the steam hole with a skewer.
2.Remove from the oven and carefully spring open the sides of the cake tin. Brush the sides of the pie with the remaining egg. Return to pie to the oven and bake for 30 minutes more. Remove and cool slightly.
3.Pour the cold stock through the steam hole, a little at a time. Using a funnel makes this easier. If the cold stock has set, then warm it a little until it becomes liquid again.
4.Leave the pie to cool completely and top up with stock if necessary, to fill the pastry shell. Once completely cold, wrap well and chill in the fridge until needed.
5.Coat with Gold leaf with the Initials W.C. andfinally, your pie is ready to eat.