Pulled Pork and Pumpkin Pies
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    Serves 6 as a main course
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If you have a passion for good pies, this recipe should be right up your street as these are exceptionally delicious. Marinating the pork shoulder overnight using cinnamon, sugar and smoked paprika gives the meat an incredible fragrance, and by cooking it slowly in a low oven for about 4 and half hours, it remains beautifully tender and the porky goodness is locked in. The pies are topped with buttery mashed pumpkin that is cooked in the oven alongside the meat. It takes time to make these tasty pies, but it’s time well spent.

You will need to start this recipe the day before you want to serve it, to allow time for the pork to marinate.

I like making these pies for Halloween, they are fun and fitting for the occasion.photo of Pulled Pork and Pumpkin Piesphoto of Pulled Pork and Pumpkin Pies

Ingredients & Method

For the pulled pork pies

  • 80g soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • a large pinch of crushed dried chillies
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 20g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 shoulder of pork (about 1.2kg with bone), deboned and fat left on
  • 700ml fresh unsweetened apple juice
  • 250ml cold water
  • 500g Shortcrust Pastry
  • freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

For the pumpkin mash

  • 1 pumpkin (900g–1kg total weight)
  • freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons soft light brown sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • sea salt, to taste

First, make the marinade for the pulled pork pies. Use a pestle and mortar to grind together the dark brown sugar, salt, smoked paprika, cinnamon stick, mustard powder, crushed dried chillies, coriander seeds, garlic, root ginger and some black pepper, to form a spreadable paste. Spread the spice paste all over the pork shoulder, rubbing it in well with your hands. Place the pork in a dish, cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight (about 12 hours).

The next day, finish making the pulled pork pies. Preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas Mark 2. Place the marinated pork, fat-side up, on a wire rack positioned over a roasting tin, then pour the apple juice and water into the tin and loosely cover the whole thing with a tent of foil (it’s a good idea to rub a little butter on the inside of the foil to prevent it from sticking to the meat). Cook in the oven for about 41/2 hours or until cooked and tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the pumpkin mash. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove and discard the seeds. Place the pumpkin halves on a large piece of foil. Season the cut sides with salt and pepper and nutmeg, then sprinkle over the light brown sugar. Divide the butter in half and place one half in the centre of each pumpkin half. Fold the edges of the foil over the top and seal together to make a parcel, then transfer to a baking tray. Roast the pumpkin in the same oven as the pork for the last 50 minutes of the pork’s cooking time, or until the pumpkin is soft.photo of Pulled Pork and Pumpkin Pies

Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes, then use a spoon to scrape out all the flesh from the skin into a bowl, and mash the flesh well with a fork until smooth (discard the skin). Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, then set aside and keep warm.

Remove the pork from the oven and then increase the oven temperature to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Remove the foil, then pour the pork’s cooking liquid into a bowl and set aside. Transfer the pork to a clean baking tray and return to the oven for about 30 minutes or until the fat has turned golden brown and the meat is succulent, moist and flaky. Remove from the oven and leave the pork to rest for 20 minutes, then, using 2 forks, finely flake the cooked meat into a bowl.photo of Pulled Pork and Pumpkin Pies

Meanwhile, lightly grease six 10 x 8cm round moulds (each mould about 300ml volume) – I find small pudding basins work best. Roll out the shortcrust pastry on a lightly floured work surface to 3–4mm thickness and cut out six 16cm rounds, then use them to line the prepared moulds. Leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until needed.

To finish the pies, combine the pulled pork meat with its reserved cooking liquid and taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Spoon the pork mixture into the pastry-lined moulds, filling each mould about three-quarters full. Spoon the warm mashed pumpkin on top of the pulled pork mixture, dividing it equally between the moulds.

Bake the pies in the oven for 25–30 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through and the pumpkin tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the pies rest in the moulds for 10 minutes, before carefully turning them out on to serving plates (you may need to loosen them around the edges with a butter knife). Serve immediately with buttered new potatoes and steamed seasonal greens.

Cook’s Notes

If you’re not a fan of pumpkin, replace the pumpkin mash with a buttery potato mash instead.

You could make a single crustless pie, if you prefer. Place the pulled pork mixture in a 30 x 21 x 8cm ovenproof dish, cover the pork mixture with the warm mash of your choice, then bake as directed – you will need to increase the baking time to 35–40 minutes for a single pie.