This hot water crust hand raised chicken and ham pie is full of warming familiar flavours – from thickly sliced ham to fragrant ground nutmeg, lovely mellow pistachios and sour cranberries, it’s unmistakeably British. This recipe is quite involved, as you will have to make your own pastry, but the steps are incredibly easy to follow and you’ll really impress if you serve this homemade pie up to all your closest friends and family.
Go to the extra effort and make this chicken and ham pie – it’s got the most buttery pastry and the filling is incredibly comforting and it feels incredibly special. It’s ideal for Christmas as it’s incredibly special and it’s usually a time when we have a little more time to make something a bit more elaborate like this pie. The trick with this is to get your filling ready before you make the pastry, as it needs to be handled while warm and pliable.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 25g butter
- 1tbsp chopped rosemary
- 1tsp ground nutmeg
- 400g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 500g cooked ham, thickly sliced
- 50g shelled pistachio nuts, chopped
- 50g fresh cranberries
- 50g dried cranberries
- 3tbsp lemon thyme
- 350g chicken breast fillets, cut into long, 1cm-thick slices
- For the pastry:
- 375g plain white flour
- 375g strong white flour
- 140g butter
- 175g lard
- 1 egg, for glazing
- For the jelly:
- 3 leaves gelatine
- 350ml hot strong chicken stock
- You will need:
- A deep, loose-based or springform cake tin, around 20x10cm, greased and the base and sides lined with baking parchment
Soften the onion in the butter with the rosemary and nutmeg, then set aside to cool. Whizz the chicken thighs and 300g of the ham in a food processor until minced. Put into a large bowl and add the onion, pistachios, cranberries and thyme. Season well.
To make the pastry, mix together the flours and 2tsp salt in a large bowl, then make a well in the centre. Put the butter and lard into a small pan with 200ml water and very gently melt. Turn up the heat and, when just bubbling, pour into the well and mix together with a flat-bladed knife.
When you can handle it, knead the dough so it all comes together. Pull off a piece big enough to make the lid with a little overlap and set aside, covered with clingfilm. Hot water crust is tricky to roll into a big piece so roll it into a large disc, big enough to cover the base of the tin.
Work the pastry up the sides using your knuckles to push it into the corners of the tin. You can work the pastry hard – it won’t make it tough. Push it over the sides to make a lip.
Evenly cover the base with half the remaining sliced ham, followed by half the chicken breasts and half the mince mixture, pressing firmly to pack. Repeat with the remaining ham and chicken, then a rounded dome of mince. Roll the reserved dough to a circle large enough to easily cover the pie. Brush the edge of the pie with some beaten egg and top with the pastry lid. Press to seal the edges before trimming the excess. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal.
Make a small hole in the middle for a pie funnel if you have one, or a large piping nozzle works just as well. Brush the top of the pie with more beaten egg, decorate with any trimmings then glaze.
Heat oven to 180C fan, gas 6. Bake the pie for 1 hour. Very carefully remove the pie from its tin, brush the top and side with more egg and bake for another 30 minutes until browned and crisp. Leave to cool completely before putting in the fridge.
To make the jelly, soak the gelatine in cold water for 5-10 minutes until soft. Squeeze out any excess water, then dissolve in the hot stock. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes, then slowly pour it into the pie through the small hole (you could use a funnel or small jug) until full – you may not need all the stock. Chill the pie for a few hours.
If there are any cracks once you’ve baked the pie, fill them with softened butter then put the pie back in the fridge for the butter to harden before you pour in the jelly. You can scrape off the butter once the jelly has set