Saturday, 9 January 2010

Auld Alliance Pies

The "auld alliance", o ye who do not yet know, is an alliance between France and Scotland against poor old England, always so opposed and complained about. And France and Scotland have influenced each other, not just politically, but foodily.

French food and Scottish food met once more in the part of Canada known as Quebec. The newer Scottish influence on French-Canadian cooking can be seen in the addition of oatmeal in the classic Quebec pork pie recipe found in Julian Armstrong's A Taste of Quebec.

But there's a new Scottish twist to my favourite tourtiere: a hot-water pastry crust from a book I've been handed called Floyd on Britain and Ireland. And then there's my muffin tin. Lacking proper pie tins to make the small pies eaten as snacks all over Scotland, I've been making pies in a 12-muffin muffin tin.

These little pies are perfect for either a dinner party or a buffet. I prefer them at the French-Canadian temperature: blazing hot. But Scots are used to eating pork pies cold. Try them both ways and decide which way you like best!

Auld Alliance Pies


1 pound or so (500-600 g) ground pork
3/4 cup (175 mL) cold water
1/2 cup (125 mL) finely chopped onion
1/4 cup (50 mL) finely chopped celery (optional)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried savoury
1/4 tsp (1 mL) dried rosemary or throw in a two inch sprig of fres
1/4 tsp (1 mL) nutmeg
Pinch cinnamon
Salt (optional)
1/4 cup (50 mL) rolled oats

Pastry Crust

1 lb (500 g) flour
1 tsp (4 mL) salt
7 oz (200 g) lard
7.5 oz (225 mL) milk and water mixed together in equal proportions

1. In a large, heavy frying pan, combine pork with cold water and heat to boiling.
2. Add onion, celery, pepper, bay leaf, savoury, dried rosemary (if not using fresh), nutmeg and cinnamon.
3. Cook, covered, over medium low heat for 1 1/4 hours, adding more water if it all boils away.
4. At halfway point, add salt, oatmeal and sprig of fresh rosemary, if using. Take out bay leaf.
5. Take off heat when done and leave to cool a bit. Take out fresh rosemary sprig, if you used it. Don't worry if some of the blades have fallen off. Yummy yum!

6. Melt lard in milk & water mix over low heat until near boiling.
7. Mix flour and salt in a big mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
8. Pour melted lard mix into the well and mix quickly. It might smell bad but keep on mixing.
9. Take small ball of dough, flatten it and put it in the muffin tin. Do this 12 times, and don't use all the pastry! Stretch the pastry around to make a proper cup shape.
10. Full the pastry-lined muffin tins with pork mixture. Stuff the pork mixture right in!
11. Take smaller ball of dough, flatten it and make it a lid for one of the pies. Do this 12 times. Crimp all the edges together, using a bit of water if necessary.
12. Poke a hole in the tops of all the pies.
13. Put pies in preheated 350 F (180 C) oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
14. Eat hot or cool on wire rack.

Enjoy! This is not a Single's recipe as much as a Single-with-many-friends recipe!


berenike said...

Now you've thoroughly intimidated me.

(security word - ooveness)

Seraphic said...

Oh dear, why? It's simple. Just make the filling and then the pastry. Then line tins with pastry, poke in filling, cover with lids, stick in oven. Couldn't be simpler!

Anonymous said...

French Canada doesn't always prefer its pork pies hot. My father, who is as good a representative of old FC as you could hope to find, prefers them cold, for breakfast.

And btw, once upon a time the distinction now made between French Canada and Quebec would have been incomprehensible to most FCs.


Seraphic said...

Yeah, but that was before the separatistes (souvrenistes, whatever) showed themselves more than willing to throw the rest of the FCs under the bus.

Me, I love Franco-Ontariens. I looooooooooove you guys! I mean, significant numbers of you still go to Mass, which means Hot French Guys Who Go to Mass!!!!

Not that this is such a big issue anymore for me personally, you understand.