A pie for the ages! Connect to the ‘paysage’ of France as you make rillettes, and medieval England with the sturdy hot water crust.

This slow work, with pause taken in between for wine and rest, produces meltingly savory results.

Rillettes are delicious all on their own— you will have extra when making this recipe. They can be prepared up to 2 weeks in advance of making the pies.

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Makes 10

You will need:
For the rillettes:
2 lbs pastured boneless pork shoulder
12 oz pork belly
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons allspice berries
2 bay leaves
3 teaspoons black peppercorns
3 sprigs fresh thyme
5 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1⁄2 cup rendered leaf lard
2 cups water

For the crust:
6 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup rendered leaf lard
11⁄2 cups filtered water

For the filling:
1⁄4 cup dry sherry
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄8 to 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, to your taste
good pinch kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Grind allspice, coriander, and peppercorns in a spice grinder or by using a mortar and pestle. Add salt and stir to combine, and rub mixture onto all sides of meat, placed in a roasting pan.
  3. Add bay leaves, thyme, garlic, lard, and water, cover securely in foil, and roast for 2 1⁄2 hours or until fall-apart tender.
  4. Transfer meat to a large mixing bowl and shred with 2 forks once it has cooled a bit.
  5. Pack shredded meat tightly into small jars or crocks, pour the remaining fat from pan through a fine mesh sieve to cover each, and chill until cool enough to seal. You will have extra rillettes in this recipe to enjoy slathered onto toast, to serve with eggs, etc. Keeps for 1 month if submerged under the layer of fat.
  6. Combine all filling ingredients and half the prepared rillettes in a bowl and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings and set aside.
  7. Cut 10 14”x2” lengths of parchment to secure dough once pies have been formed, and 10 lengths of kitchen twine to easily wrap and tie around a small mason jar.
  8. Stir together flour and salt in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
  9. Warm the lard and water in a small saucepan, until fat dissolves and the mixture is almost boiling.
  10. Pour hot fat into the well and work our into fat using a wooden spoon. Once combined, knead in the bowl until a dough forms.
  11. Separate a generous third of the dough to make the lids, keeping it warm by wrapping in foil and setting dough on a plate placed over a pan of hot water.
  12. Divide the remaining dough into 10 portions, keeping the rest warm as you did the reserved amount for the lids while you shape the first pie.
  13. To make the 3” pies, use a small mason jar as the mold on which to shape and stretch the dough, after rolling to about a 4” diameter. Work dough while it is warm so that it conforms more readily to molding. Patch any tears with scraps and seal by burnishing with the back of your ngernail.
  14. Turning the mold as you work, press dough to thin it and even it out, making an even edge all the way around. The sides should be about 2” tall once you are done. Use a sharp knife to even the edge as needed and reserve the scraps.
  15. To release the pastry, gently twist-pull to free it from the jar. Set pastry upright on baking sheet and wrap with a parchment sleeve. Secure snugly with kitchen twine, and set aside as you make the rest.
  16. Once the pies are made and secured, fill each with the rillettes and seasonings mixture, packing the filling in as you go.
  17. To make the lids, measure the diameter of 1 pie and cut a circle which extends to its outer edge.
  18. Lightly brush pie edge with water, place lid, and press to seal.
  19. To make an ornamental detail for the lid, re-roll scraps and use a cookie cutter to pierce shapes to fit. Brush egg wash onto the lid, press the ornamental cutout to secure, then brush it with egg wash too.
  20. Pierce pastry using a skewer or fork tines to create a steam vent, then chill for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
  21. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  22. Brush pie tops with egg wash again, then bake for 25 minutes or until tops are golden.
  23. Remove from oven to snip kitchen twine and remove parchment sleeves, paint sides with egg wash, and replace in oven, lowering heat to 350°F and bake until deeply golden.
  24. Transfer to a wire rack to cool until just warm, or cool completely and refrigerate.


These meat pies can be enjoyed warm or room temperature, and are excellent dabbed in grainy mustard.

A pie for the ages! Connect to the ‘paysage’ of France as you make rillettes, and medieval England with the sturdy hot water crust.
Photography by Food+styling+photography by Melina Hammer

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