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History Cookbook: Raised Game Pie

This recipe is in categories Victorians, Main courses, Party food, Picnic
About this recipe
Healthiness : (434 votes)
Difficulty:  5 out of 5 difficulty
Comments: This is a complicated recipe and has many steps. The cooking takes place over two days and you need to be well organised. It is a labour intensive dish, which requires checking and sorting at regular intervals. The result is spectacular and well worth the hard work.
Preparation Time: Preparation is needed over 2 days, 3-4 hours day 1, 2-3 hours day 2.
Cooking Time: 2 1/2 hours
Number of servings: Serves 12
Serving suggestions: Serve as part of a buffet or sliced at a picnic. It is delicious with salads and pickles.

This is a good example of the kind of labour intensive dish which became popular in wealthy households in the Victorian and Edwardian periods.

Wealthy homes kept servants and very often a professional cook. Complicated and tricky dishes were a good way of displaying both the skill of your cook and, more importantly, the luxury of your table. Elaborate pies, ice-creams, set jellies and highly decorated cakes could all form part of a wealthy table. Tables were laid with fresh flowers, candles, silver cutlery and crystal glasses. A meal was often served in several courses, with side dishes to accompany a main dish.

This pie has a very rich flavour and uses a large amount of meat. Lower class recipes pad out any meat with vegetables or a suet/batter pudding to make any meat go further. Game was usually only part of a wealthy table, as it was hunted on the estate or grounds of a property rather than bought at a butcher's shop.


For the filling:

  • 2 1/2 lb (1 kg) game meat (use 700g venison and then top up with small game)
  • 5fl oz (150 ml) tawny port ( I used red grape juice, slightly sweetened)
  • 2 tablespoons brandy 
  • 1/2 level tsp dried thyme
  • butter, for greasing, 
  • 1 lb (450 g) hard back pork fat
  • 1 lb (450 g) lean pork
  • 1 1/4 level tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 level tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 2-3 level teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 8 oz (225 g) thin, unsmoked bacon rashers
  • salt and pepper to season 

You really need a sprung, 18cm, 7inch deep cake tin for the baking, as this will make it very easy to release the pie partway through the cooking.

For the jellied stock:

  • 4 allspice berries
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 level teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion stuck with 4 cloves
  • lemon juice
  • 0.4 oz (11g) sachet powdered gelatine
  • salt

For the hot-water crust pastry:

  • 1lb 8oz (700 g) plain flour( preferably wholemeal)
  • 3 level tsp (15 ml)  salt
  •  6oz (150 g) lard
  •  1/4 pt (300ml) milk or milk and water
  • a beaten egg to glaze
  • Weighing scales
  • Measuring jug
  • Mixing bowl
  • Teaspoon
  • Tablespoon
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Bowl
  • Deep pan
  • Sieve
  • Whisk or fork
  • Food processor (optional)
  • Rolling pin
  • Chopping board
  • Food brush
  • Funnel
  • Foil
  • Skewer
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

Day 1:

Marinading the meat:

  1. Trim the game meat from the bones and cube, keeping bones and scaps for the stock.
  2. Pour over the port and brandy or red grape juice, with the thyme and some salt and pepper
  3. Cover and leave to marinade in a cool place overnight

Making the stock:

  1. Place the game bones and scraps into a deep pan, add enough cold water to cover
  2. Add the spices and herbs for the jellied stock, together with the carrot and the onion stuck with cloves
  3. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours
  4. Skim the surface of the stock now and again
  5. Strain the stock through a sieve into a clean saucepan and boil rapidly until the liquid has reduced to 1 pint (570 ml)
  6. Taste and season with salt and lemon juice as needed
  7. Remove the stock from the heat and whisk in the packet of gelatine
  8. Cover and leave to chill overnight

Day 2:

  1. Skim the surface of the stock. It should have set and all the bits will make a thin layer at the top, scrape these off with a spoon.

To make the hot-water pastry:

  1. Mix the flour and the salt in a ceramic or metal bowl
  2. Melt the lard in the liquid, bring to the boil and pour into the bowl of flour
  3. Beat quickly to form a dough. Lightly pinch together with one hand, kneed until smooth
  4. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes

To make the pork filling:

  1. Finely mince the pork fat and lean pork. ( A food processor will do this job in seconds)
  2. Add the garlic, spices, parsley and a seasoning of salt and pepper, mix well and divide into four equal parts
  3. Shape each quarter into a flat round, slightly smaller than the diameter of the cake tin. (I used small tea plates as a mold, which worked really well) 

To make the pie:

  1. Having rested the pastry, divide into 2/3rds, 1/3rd. The 1/3rd will make the pie lid, rewrap it and set aside.
  2. Roll out the pastry and line the sprung cake tin which has been lightly greased. The pastry needs to be taller than the sides of the cake tin by 1/4 inch (0.5 cm). Make sure that there are no thin areas or your pie could leak!
  3. Line the inside of the pie crust with the bacon rashers, trim to just below the edge of the cake tin.
  4. Place a round of the minced pork mixture in, cover with a layer of marinaded meat (use about 1/3rd). Add another layer of pork and so on finishing with a pork layer
  5. Roll out the remaining pastry to make the lid
  6. Glaze the inside of the pastry base and lay on the lid. Pinch the edges of the pie crust together well to give a good join
  7. Cut a hole in the centre to let out the steam. (This will also be used to add the stock so make it about 1cm square)
  8. Use any remaining pastry to cut out leaves or diamonds to decorate the crust. Stick these on with a little egg then glaze the top of the pie with the rest of the egg.

To cook the pie:

  1. Lay a sheet of foil over the pie to prevent the top from burning.
  2. Bake at 220 C (Gas 7) for 15-20 minutes
  3. Remove the foil and then bake at 180 C (Gas 4) for 1 hour or until tender when tested through the steam hole with a skewer
  4. Remove from the oven and carefully spring open the sides of the cake tin
  5. Brush the sides of the pie with the remaining egg
  6. Return to pie to the oven and bake for 30 minutes more
  7. Remove and cool slightly.
  8. Pour the cold stock through the steam hole, a little at a time. ( A funnel makes this easier.) If the cold stock has set, then warm it a little until it becomes liquid again
  9. Leave the pie to cool completely and top up with stock if necessary, to fill the pastry shell
  10. Once completely cold, wrap well and chill in the fridge until needed
  11. Finally, your pie is ready to eat
Raised Game Pie - print view  Raised Game Pie - print view

If you tried this recipe and liked it, tell us about it
There are 8 comments for this recipe.
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Name: Frank Madigan 9th March 2017
How long does the pie stay fresh?"
Can it be frozen?
Is it ever served warm or hot?
Name: Really Good 22nd September 2016
amazing best thing i ever ate 5 star
Name: Josie 6th June 2012
I really like this site! The recipes look son tasty! Mmm pork pie
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