Pork Pie History Lesson
History of the Pork Pie
A case of unintended consequences.
In the 1700s, Britain passed laws converting common land into the private property of large landowners. From this sprang a thriving dairy industry and, therefore, cheese making.
A waste product of cheese making is whey, which turns out to be a yummy addition to the diet of pigs. So, a pork industry developed and the good people ofound ingenious ways of preparing the meat. Hence—ta da—the pork pie.
Originally baked in a clay pot covered with a rough pastry, the pork pie evolved to resemble a ‘parcel’ of pastry wrapped around a pork filling. This allowed the pie to be carried whilst at work (agricultural workers, grooms, and hunt servants would often carry them), and the pastry case was discarded before eating.
One of the oldest and most famous Pork Pie recipes we were able to discover was from Hannah Glasse's influential 1747 recipe collection included a recipe for a Pork Pie having a filling of layers of pork loin and apple, slightly sweetened with sugar, and filled with half a pint of white wine. By the 19th century sweetened fruit and meat combinations had become less common, and the raised crust pork pie took its modern form.