It’s British Pie Week this week, so we wanted to find the most unusual pie in London. Enter the Berners Tavern, with a bit of pure table-side theatre.
Brits love pies, fact. From the pasties of Cornwall to the Cockney’s pie and mash, to the Scotch pies north of the border, pies are part of Britain’s food DNA. The Berners Tavern in Fitzrovia adds to that with a stunning pork pie which must be the longest in London.
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What makes it special is that the diner is served a slice of the pie table-side, from a beautiful custom-made trolley. It comes with a selection of pickled vegetables, mustard and English piccalilli. The pie was created by Head Chef, Phil Carmichael, and takes two days to create. ‘We actually spent four months developing the recipe, and it’s all about using the highest quality meat and finest produce, and patience too. We use free-range pork supplied by Dingley Dell in Suffolk, which is fundamental to the taste and quality of the dish.’
They also let the flavour of their pork mince develop over two days, using a mixture of herbs including mace, garlic and sage. Once the filling is ready, it’s placed in a hot water crust pastry to give the pie a strong crust with a classic texture. ‘The accompanying selection of pickled onion, carrots and fennel cut through the dishes’ richness too,’ added Phil.
But why a trolley?
‘We had always wanted to put a beautifully traditional British pie on the menu, and we needed to marry it with the elegance of Berners Tavern. Andrew Clarke is an exceptionally talented carpenter, and uses British oak, elm and cedar to create specialist items from our stake boards to napkin holders. We asked him to craft a trolley that was both practical and pleasing to the eye in order to create a sense of table-side drama and excitement that Berners Tavern diners expect and deserve.’
How to make the Berners Tavern’s huge pork pie
400g/14oz Pork shoulder finely minced
400g/14oz Pork shoulder coarsely minced
325g/14oz Smoked pork belly small dice
325g/14oz Smoked pork belly finely minced
200g/7oz Pork loin small dice
¼ tsp Ground mace
1 tsp Ground nutmeg
½ bunch Chopped sage
30g/1oz Chopped garlic
Pink salt to taste
Ground white pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and allow to marinate
For the pie crust
1100g/40oz Plain flour
2 Eggs beaten
1. Bring the water and lard up to the boil and pour into the flour, mix until dough comes together and add eggs. Knead for 5 mins.
2. Roll out into sheets 5mm thick and allow to cool.
1. Line the pie mould with the pastry and fill with the pie mix.
2. Top the terrine with a pastry lid and make two holes at either end of the lid. Place pie funnels into the holes and egg wash.
3. Place into 170ºC (340ºF) oven.
4. When cooked (approx 1.5 hours) remove and allow to chill before placing in fridge.
5. Remove the pie funnels the next day and fill the terrine with melted pork jelly until it over flows from the mould. Allow to set and repeat if necessary.
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