A Great Pye
- 1 pound short crust pastry
- 1 egg white, beaten until liquid
- 1 pound boned breast of chicken, pigeon or wild duck and/or saddle of hare or rabbit
- 1 pound minced beef
- 2 tablespoons shredded suet
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 hard boiled egg yolks, crumbled
- Spice mixture made of 1/4 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and mace and a pinch ground cloves
- 1 ounce stone cooking dates, chopped
- 1 ounce currants
- 2 ounces stoned prunes, soaked and drained
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 1 tablespoon rice flour or corn flour
Line a 9-inch pie plate with half of the pastry. Brush the inside with some of the egg white. Skin the pieces of the breast and other meat if necessary and parboil them gently in salted water for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and cool.
In a mixing bowl, combine the minced beef, suet, salt and pepper, the egg yolks, and half of the spice mixture. Add the rest of the spices to the dried fruit in another bowl. Slice the parboiled meat.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the beef stock to the rice flour or corn flour in small saucepan and cream them together. Stir in the remaining stock and stir over gentle heat until thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside. Cover the bottom of the lined pastry pan with half of the minced mixture. Arrange the sliced meat in a layer over the top. Scatter the chopped spiced fruit over it and cover the remaining minced meat. Pour the thickened stock over the top.
Roll out the remaining pastry into a round to make a lid for the pie. Brush the rim of the case with a little more egg white and cover with the lid. Press the edges to seal, and make escape slits for steam. Decorate with the pastry trimmings and glaze with the egg white. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving. Slice into individual pieces and serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe from The Medieval Cookbook, by Maggie Black, published by Thames and Hudson, 1992, reprinted in 1999