This tasty Spiced Pork Pie-lets dish is served as part of a post-midnight Christmas Eve feast and is a hearty pie of pork spiced with cloves, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg wrapped in a buttery, flaky pastry shell.
According to the recipe from Cook’s Country magazine, a tourtiére “is always a double-crusted pie with warm spices, but many of the other details are up for debate,” such as whether or not to use a potato, a meat mixture of beef and pork or just pork and unlimited crust options.
This Spiced Pork Pie-lets recipe appealed to us on various levels. It was a savory pie that wasn’t of the usual pot pie variety. Personally, I am absolutely smitten with “warm spices” such as nutmeg and cinnamon (which I sometimes add to my morning coffees) — which aren’t overly popular cooking spices during spring. And of course, that whole living dangerously in the kitchen by baking something out of season to celebrate the season.
Changes I Made To My Spiced Pork Pie-lets Recipe:
While I followed the recipe, I made a few changes. Okay, one crucial one. Since it is just myself and sometimes a friend of a family member visits, I halved the recipe and divided the filling into four ramekins and only did the top crust — think personal pot pies. It really just becomes more about the shell and less about the innards.
A Lesson I Learned:
Be sure to watch the onions while browning in the Dutch oven. Brown to burnt is a very short time frame. Luckily our corner market carries onions, and we were able to start over with only a bit of a hiccup.
Captivating Spiced Pork Pie-lets
TO MAKE THE FILLING:
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 pounds ground pork
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium onions chopped fine
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 12 ounces russet potatoes peeled and shredded (about 1/2 a potato)
TO MAKE THE CRUST:
- ½ cup sour cream chilled
- 1 large egg lightly beaten (if halving the recipe, use the full egg. It makes for a tasty crust.)
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (or 12 1/2 ounces)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
TO MAKE THE EGG WASH:
- 1 large egg yolk lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons of water
FOR THE FILLING:
- Dissolve 1¼ teaspoon salt and baking soda in water in a medium bowl. Add pork and knead with your hands until thoroughly combined. Set aside until needed, at least 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and 1 teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth and potatoes, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring often, until potatoes are tender and the rubber spatula leaves a trail when dragged across the bottom of the pot, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add pork to pot, breaking up pieces with a spoon, and cook until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Transfer filling to 13 by 9-inch baking dish and refrigerate, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until completely cool, about 1 hour. (Cooled filling can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 24 hours before assembling the pie.)
FOR THE CRUST:
- Combine sour cream and egg in a bowl. Process flour and salt in a food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Add butter and pulse until only pea-size pieces remain, about 10 pulses. Add half of the sour cream mixture and pulse until combined, about 5 pulses. Add remaining sour cream mixture and pulse until dough begins to form, about 10 pulses.
- Transfer the mixture to a lightly floured counter and knead briefly until dough comes together. Divide dough in half and form each half into a 6-inch disk. Wrap disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Let chilled dough sit on the counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes, before rolling.
- Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450°F. Roll 1 disk of dough into a 12‑inch circle on a lightly floured counter. Loosely roll dough around a rolling pin and gently unroll it onto a 9‑inch pie plate, letting excess dough hang over the edge. Ease dough into the plate by gently lifting the edge of the dough with your hand while pressing it into the plate bottom with your other hand. Wrap dough-lined pie plate loosely in plastic and refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes. Trim overhang to ½ inch beyond the lip of the pie plate.
- Pour filling into a dough-lined pie plate. Roll another disk of dough into a 12‑inch circle on a lightly floured counter. Loosely roll dough around a rolling pin and gently unroll it onto the filling. Trim overhang to ½ inch beyond the lip of the pie plate. Pinch the edges of the top and bottom crusts firmly together. Tuck overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with the edge of the pie plate. Crimp dough evenly around the edge of the pie plate using your fingers. (If the dough gets too soft to work with, refrigerate the pie for 10 minutes, then continue.)
- Cut four 1-inch slits on top of the dough. Brush the surface with egg wash. Bake until the edges are light brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue to bake until the crust is deep golden brown and liquid bubbles up through vents, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Let the pie cool on a wire rack for 2 hours before serving.
Wrapped dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, let the dough thaw completely on the counter before rolling. Assembled pie (without egg wash) can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before brushing with egg wash and baking. PLAN AHEAD:
Both the pie dough and the filling need to chill for an hour or more before the pie can be assembled and baked. If time is short, use store-bought dough. Shred the potatoes in the large holes of a box grater just before cooking. Don’t soak the shreds in water, or their starch will wash away, and the filling won’t thicken properly. To cool the filling quickly, chill it in a large baking dish. Eat the pie when it’s just slightly warm.