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Gala Pie

Introduction & method

A well-made Gala Pie is a thing of wonder. More than just a pork pie, it has boiled egg running through the centre, and it's a very impressive thing to make. 

Gala Pie Recipe

Make the Hot Water Pastry

Cut the lard into small pieces, put it in a small saucepan with the water and simmer until the fat is all melted - try not to let it boil. Mix the salt and flour together, and then stir in half of the water/lard. Then add the rest of the liquid and stir that in as much as you can. Tip the dough out onto a clean worktop and knead it a bit until you have a smooth dough with all of the flour incorporated. Wrap in plastic film and place in the fridge to chill down to room temperature.

Make the Seasoning Mix

For this recipe we are using a fairly standard Lincolnshire sausage seasoning mix. If you have fresh sage leaves, roll them up into cigars, cut them into fine strips, and then cut the strips the other way until you have a pile of finely chopped sage. Put the salt, pepper, sage and spices into a small jar and shake vigorously to get it well mixed.

Prepare the Pork Filling

If you are mincing your own pork, remove any rind and cut the pork into chunks that will fit in your mincer. Fit the coarse plate to your mincer and push the meat through, add ing some of the seasoning as you go - you'll need about 2 tsps of seasoning for this pie. If your mince is ready-made, work the seasoning into it with your hands.

About the Eggs

Commercial Gala Pies are made using a long egg. It's a bit of an industrial process, but if you have the will you can try what I did in this video: If you don't want to do that, the more conventional way of making a Gala Pie at home is to boil some eggs, peel them, slice the ends off near the yolk and place them side by side in the filling.

Prep the Pastry

You'll need a loaf tin to make the pie in. Roll out one-third of the pastry into a rectangle that's larger than the tin and about 4mm (about a quarter of an inch) thick. Trim off the excess pastry around the rim of the tin. Make a hole in the middle using the pointy end of a funnel. This a) lets the steam escape, and b) is the place where you pour in the jelly at the end.

Roll out the remaining pastry into a large rectangle. Generously flour the inside of the loaf tin and one side of the pastry. Lower the pastry into the tin (floured side down). Stretch the pastry down into the tin - you want to line the tin completely, but you don't want any creases, folds or holes in the pastry. Trim off the excess pastry. Put the base and the lid in the fridge to rest for half an hour.

If you want to make decorations for your pie, roll out some of the spare pastry as thinly as you can. Cut out leaves, roll some thin strips into stems/tendrils, and roll some tiny bits into berries.

Assemble the Gala Pie

Gather together your pastry base, lid and decorations, plus the seasoned meat and the long egg. Take a bit over a third of the meat mixture and pressit into the base of the loaf tin. Put your long egg in the centre and pack both sides with meat. Spread the remaining meat over the top.

Moisten the rim of the case with water, press down the lid all round and work it to make a smooth seal. Raise the edgs of the pie up so they won't stick to the tin. 

Paint the lid with a mixture of beaten egg and milk. If you are decorating the lid, dip each item into the glaze, then place it where you want it.

Bake the Gala Pie

You oven needs to be pre-heated to 180°C (356°F). Place the pie inside and bake for 15 minutes. Now turn the heat down to 150°C (302°F) and continue cooking for about one and a quarter hours. After this time, remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes.

Now you can try to remove it from the tin. Carefully turn it upside down and try to lift the tin off. If it doesn't release immediately, you might need to loosen the pie with a knife around the edge.

When the pie is out, leave it to cool completely on a wire rack.

Add the Jelly

Pork pies traditionally use a jelly made by boiling a split pigs trotter with an onion, carrot and celery for about 2 hours. Alternatively, use some chicken stock. Heat it up, dissolve half a sachet of powdered gelatine in hot water and simmer them together until the gelatine is totally dissolved. Use a funnel to pour the jelly mix through the hole in the top of the pie. Leave to set in the fridge for an hour or two.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Gala Pie on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 500 grams plain (all-purpose) white flour
 250 grams lard
 200 ml hot water
 600 grams pork belly, shoulder or minced pork
 2 tsp seasoning mix
 250 ml chicken stock
 half a sachet powdered gelatine


Seasoning mix: 8 sage leaves, 3 tsp salt, 1.5 tsp white pepper, 1 tsp each mace, nutmeg and ground coriander. Mix well together in a jar. Use 2 tsps.

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 1 gala pie
Prep time: 30 minutes.
Resting time: 1 hour.
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes.
Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes.