Pulled Pork and Pumpkin Pies perfect for Halloween
It was a bright and beautiful autumn day, perfect for a walk and picnic in the forest. I made these delicious pulled pork and pumpkin pies, packed my metal lunch box and made sweet tea in a flask. Armed with wellington boots, we set off for Hatfield forest to have a picnic and search for chestnuts.
As it was such a lovely day every man, child and dog was out foraging round the trunks of the big old chestnut trees in search of the seasons delicacies. It almost became competitive as more and more people arrived; at one stage I counted 12 people all with bowed backs, kicking the brown crisp leaves.These activities would have appeared funny to a disinterested outsider.
Once we found enough chestnuts it was time to sit down and enjoy a pulled pork pie and a cup of sweet tea.
These pies are outstandingly delicious and incredibly fragrant. I was developing this idea in my head for a few weeks and kept on saying I would like to cook pulled pork. I found that if Mr.P does not really understand something he just dismisses the idea and it’s up to me to prove that my crazy idea would work. Well it was such a success that he payed me a compliment with “honey these pies are seriously good” I smiled as I know finally my crazy idea and 5 hours of cooking the shoulder has paid off. The cinnamon, sugar and smoked paprika works wonders and penetrates the fatty but meaty shoulder of pork, it also helped that I had a very fine piece of free range British pork shoulder. I made a dry spice rub of cinnamon, smoked paprika, light brown sugar, ginger, garlic, coriander seeds and Maldon sea salt,which was rubbed into the boneless pork shoulder and left if to marinade over night.
Early the following morning I cooked the marinated shoulder in the oven at 150°C for 5 hours suspended over apple juice, covered with foil. The meat steamed and slowly roasted at the same time, once cooked I pulled off the soft meat strands with two forks and mixed the reduced porky apple pan juices back into the flaked meat. This made the base of pulled pork pies.
While the pies were cooking in the oven I cut a pumpkin in half, wrapped it in foil laced with butter and nutmeg. The pumpkin cooked in the same oven for the final 40 minutes of the pork’s cooking time. The pumpkin was so incredibly delicious, buttery and silky all at the same time. It was so soft all I needed to do was mash the soft pumpkin flesh with a fork. I thought it was very beneficial as I did not need to waste time peeling the pumpkin and potentially loose a finger or two.
These pies where such a success that I’m definitely going to make them again for Halloween this year. Mr.P did get a bit over excited and cut witches cats and spooky pumpkins out of the left over pastry trimmings, there will always a inner child…tut…tut…have to let him get on with it sometimes!
- 1.4kg boneless shoulder of pork
- 70g light brown sugar
- 3tsp Maldon sea salt
- 1tsp smoked paprika
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3tsp Coleman's English mustard powder
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Large pinch of chili powder
- 3tsp coriander seeds
- 1 clove of garlic
- 20g freshly grated ginger
- 700ml apple juice
- 250ml cold water
Place the pork onto a chopping board.
Make the spice mix: use a spice grinder or pestle and mortar or Thermomix to grind the sugar, salt, smoked paprika, cinnamon stick, mustard powder, pepper, chili powder, coriander seeds, garlic and fresh ginger to a powder.
Rub the dry spice rub into the meat, let the meat marinade over night in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Place a cooling rack into a oven roasting tray, use one where the rack preferably fits inside.
Place the marinated pork with the fat side up onto the cooling rack and then pour the apple juice and water into the tray, cover the whole tray with foil (rub a bit of butter on the foil to prevent it sticking to the meat).
Place the pork in the preheated oven for 4hour 30 minutes.
Remove the pork from the tray and return the pork without the liquid on a separate tray to the oven at 180°C for 30 minutes to crisp the fat, watch that it does not burn.Keep the liquid.
Let the pork rest for 20 minutes, take two forks and pull the pork flesh into strands.
In a large mixing bowl mix the pulled pork with the cooking liquid, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Three quarters fill the prepared pastry moulds with the pulled pork mixture, try and get some of the juice into the meat to keep it moist.
Top the pulled pork pies with the prepared buttery pumpkin mash.
Bake the pies in the preheated oven at 180°C for 30 minutes, let the pies rest for 5 minutes before gently removing them from the moulds and enjoy!
- 500g plain flour
- 220g unsalted butter, chilled
- 120ml cold water
- Pinch of salt
Weight the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, use a cheese grater to grate the chilled butter into the flour, use the coarse side, with your fingers rub the butter into the flour until it represents coarse breadcrumbs.
Add the cold water and use a knife to cut the water into the flour and butter mix, push the dough together, do not knead or over work the pastry as it will become grey and stretchy.
Leg the pastry rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
On a lightly floured work surface roll the pastry out about 3- 4mm thick and use a 16cm in diameter plate to cut 10 disks, place them in the fridge to rest for 10 minutes.
Grease 10 x 8cm tall pudding moulds and line them with the pastry disks, trim the excess pastry off to the rim.
Let them rest in the fridge whilst finishing off the filling.
Buttery Oven Baked Pumpkin Mash
- 1 medium whole organic culinary pumpkin
- 50g unsalted butter
- 2tsp light brown sugar
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Maldon sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 150°C, I baked the pumpkin for the last 40 minutes of the meat cooking time in the same oven, bottom shelf.
Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds.Wash the seeds, mix with salt and dry them in a cool oven until crispy, use as a snack or garnish.
Place the two pumpkin halves on one large piece of foil on a baking tray.
Divide the butter between the two pumpkin halves, scatter one teaspoon of sugar on each pumpkin half and season generously with the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Close the foil parcel to cover the pumpkin completely.
Place the pumpkin in the preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Once the pork is out of the oven turn the heat to 180°C and open the foil parcels return the pumpkins to the oven, top shelf and continue cooking for 15 minutes to caramelise the edges.
Let the pumpkins cool for 5 minutes then use a fork to mash the pumpkins in their skins, make sure you scrape all the flesh out, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Makes 10 pies
Food Fanatics Tips
If your not keen on pumpkin substitute the pumpkin with buttery potato mash. You can also make crustless pies by pressing the meat into a large oven dish and covering the meat with the mash of your choice.