Introduction: Pie-Eyed Meat Pie: Drunken Pulled Pork

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In old timey days, two bottles of cider was enough to make one completely pie-eyed.  Well, in this recipe, it won't even take one!  This delicious "pie-eyed" pastry is stuffed with "drunken" pulled pork which is slow roasted in hard apple cider.  We're upping the old timey ante by turning the classic British meat pie on its head, by substituting the traditional round shell for a tantalizing EYE shape, whose interior is porked out with our cider roasted meat.  This Eye of Pi looks great and tastes even better, especially when garnished with the delicious hard cider au jus as a dipping sauce!

Be warned: The construction of this pastry is very futsy and not for the faint of heart.  But if you've got some time to spare as well as a death wish, this pie is for you!  Some extra hard cider for the belly during construction is highly recommended!

-Original recipe from

Step 1: Necessary Ingredients and Materials

Pulled Pork
  • 1 3-4 lb pork shoulder or Boston Butt (which is a shoulder cut)
  • 12 oz. (1 1/2 c.) hard cider

Dry Rub for Pulled Pork
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs kosher or other coarse salt
  • 1 Tbs Paprika
  • 1Tbs Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry mustard

Pie Pastry
  • 3 c. flour
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c. pork lard (from pulled pork)
  • 1/2 c. + 2 Tbs Butter, cold
  • 1/2 c. ice cold water
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
Pie Decorating
  • Black food dye
  • Green food dye
  • Red food dye
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Roasting Pan
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Spring Form Pan
  • Aluminum foil
  • parchment paper
  • 3-4 c. uncooked rice
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • food processor
  • rolling pin
  • pastry brushes

Step 2: Apply Dry Rub to Pork Shoulder

Dry Rub
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs kosher or other coarse salt
  • 1 Tbs Paprika
  • 1Tbs Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.  Rub dry ingredients all over pork roast.  Rub it deep into all cracks and folds.  Wrap roast in plastic wrap and chill 4-12 hours.  Preferably overnight. 

Step 3: Roast Pork

Preheat oven to 275-300 degrees F.  Remove plastic wrap and place pork in a roaster.   Place roaster with pork in oven and roast for 3-4 hours, until pork begins to easily come apart with a fork.  Crack the crusted surface of the pork and pour 12 oz. of hard cider over roast.  Cover with aluminum foil and return to oven for 30 more minutes.

Step 4: Compress Pulled Pork

A classic British meat pie has a very dense filling, so once the pork is cooked and pulled apart, we want to compress it so it will make a nice compact portion for the inside of our pie. 

After the 30 minutes of roasting with the cider, remove pork from oven and cool to room temp.  Remove pork from roasting pan and place in bowl.  Using a fork, pull pork apart.  Be careful, pork will still be hot on the inside.  The pork should be very moist and supple.  Squeeze the pork together with your fingers and form into a ball. 

Using a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap the pork ball as tight as you can to further compress.  Place under some weights, a few plates work nicely and chill for a few hours, or overnight.

Using a spatula, gently spoon the cider au jus into a container and chill.  Once the liquid is chilled, the lard will solidify at the surface.  We will reserve the pork lard for the pastry and the au jus as a serving sauce.

Step 5: Create Eye Mould

While the pork is roasting and compressing, we'll create our eye design and mold.  Outline base of a spring form pan on a sheet of paper.  Card stock is nice, as its thicker.  I used an old manila folder.  Using a stock image of an eye drawing, draw an eye within the circle of the spring form pan.  This will be a guide for your eye pie. 

Now its time to make the walls of our eye mold.  Place the eye drawing at the base of your spring form pan.  Fold sheets of aluminum foil and using your eye guide, place aluminum around edges of eye.  Fold foil together until you have an eye shaped mold.

Once we have the eye mold walls made, we can assemble the mold.  Begin by wrapping the circular base and the walls with aluminum foil.  Wrap each individually.  Place spring form base into pan walls and clip spring form base in place.  Place the aluminum mold walls into the center of the pan.  Fill the edges between the mold and the walls of the pan with a few cups of rice.  The rice will give stability to the pie while it bakes. 

Place a sheet of parchment over your original eye design and outline outside of eye.  Cut and place at the bottom of the foil mold.  Cut sheets of parchment and line the walls.  The parchment will keep the pie from sticking to any of the aluminum foil.


Step 6: Make Pie Pastry

Pie Dough:

3 c. flour
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 c. pork lard (from pulled pork)
1/2 c. + 2 Tbs Butter, cold
1/2 c. (8 Tbs)  ice cold water
1 tsp cider vinegar

Usually I will make this recipe with just butter, but since we have the lard from the pork, we should use it!  Lard makes an even flakier crust then butter and it adds a nice taste to the crust as well!

Once your au jus is chilled, the lard should have risen to the top and solidified.  You can now easily remove the lard.  Scrape off and pat away any au jus still on the lard using paper towel.  The dark au jus could stain our pastry. 

In a food processor, mix all dry ingredients.  Add butter and lard, pulse until well mixed. 

Ice down 1/2 c. cold water and add cider vinegar.  While pulsing, slowly pour in icy liquid mixture until dough is chunky.

Remove from food processor and pat into a dough ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

Step 7: Assemble Eye of Pi

After dough has chilled, remove from the refrigerator.  Cut 2/3 of dough.  Place 1/3 of dough back in the fridge.  On a floured surface, roll out dough in a rectangle big enough for the base and walls of the mold.  In order for this pie to be self standing, after its baked, the dough has to be rolled out thick, about 1/4" thick.

Place the dough in the base of the mold and pat it down into all the edges and crannies.  You want a bit of an overhang on top so you can secure the top dough cover when you get it into place. 

Remove your compressed pulled pork ball from the refrigerator.  Remove plastic wrap.  Place meat into pie.  Form meat ball to fit the pie opening.  Pour 1/4 c. of au jus over the pork.

Remove remaining 1/3 of dough from fridge.  Roll out 1/4" thick.  Using your original eye design template, cut out dough topper. Reserve dough scraps for decorating eye.  Place dough topper into pie mold.  Brush egg yolk over edges of pie topper and roll edges of eye dough into place. 

Step 8: Decorate Eye

Cut apart your original eye template into the parts, eye lashes, tear duct, iris, pupil, etc..  Roll out remaining dough scraps, and cut out eye parts.  Since this is a Pi day celebration, we're going to make the pupil Pi shapped!  How clever.

Dilute a few drops of food coloring into a few drops of water.  Using a pastry brush, brush appropriate colors onto eye parts, i.e. black onto eye lashes and pupil, green (or whatever eye color you like) for the iris and red for the tear duct.

Brush undersides of eye parts with egg yolk and set into place on your eye. 

Step 9: Bake Eye of Pi

Preheat oven to 325.

Before putting pie into the oven, drip a 1 tsp of water into each of the rice wells and mix.  This will keep any kernels from popping. 

Place pie into oven and bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove and brush top of eye with egg wash.  Bake for another 20 minutes. 

Now its the moment of truth.  Its time to remove the mold and see if this pie will stand on its own.  Remove pie from the oven.  Place the spring form pan into a large bowl or pan.  Remove spring form sides and remove rice.  Cut off aluminum foil mold and peel off parchment sides. Turn oven up to 400 degrees F.  Brush sides and top with egg yolk.  Put the pie on the spring form base onto a baking tray and put back into oven.  Bake until sides are nicely golden, another 30 minutes or so.

Step 10: Reap the Reward of Your Labor!

Remove from oven and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from spring form pan base and parchment bottom.  Serve warm.  Garnish with drizzled cider au jus. Enjoy the glorious eye pie for a little while, but not too long.  Eat this up before it gets cold!

Serve with Hard Cider of course and get pie-eyed!  Now that's a hell-of-a-pie.  Happy Pi Day! 
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