We learn pie making with Calum Franklin at Holborn Dining Room
It seems more or less widely accepted now that Calum Franklin, Executive Chef at Holborn Dining Room, is the unofficial king of pies in London. Just a quick look at his Instagram feed should give you plenty of reasons why he deserves the crown (just don't look when hungry). So when we were invited to a pie-making class from the master himself (pork pie making, specifically), we jumped at the chance.
Here's how we got on...
Here's the man himself. Today we're getting ready to make a pork pie. We're recommended to use Gilchester's unbleached white flour - it's what they use to make their own pork pies and comes with a strong recommendation from Calum (they also use it at Coombeshead Farm).
Our gear - including the Holborn Dining Room apron, which is very nice indeed. You'll be taking one of these home with you if you join a class.
First up - after mixing the flour with herb-infused water - we're left with a slab of pastry (handily that part is done in advance but we get shown how to replicate). Then you have to wrap your pastry around the provided dolly. This is actually not as hard as you'd expect. Watch the man in action above (maybe a little sped up...).
Once your little pie container is complete - in goes the meat. Again, this is handily prepared in advance but contains a mix of pork, including shoulder, leg, lardo and more. The lardo is a great addition.
Next up, widen the top brim of your pie, wet the top and slap on the lid to seal it all off. You want a little bit of room at the top for the jelly - we really should have left a little more than we did, but we are told that the meat will shrink ever so slightly in the cooking process.
The comes the crimping. Essentially we're told that this is where you can really put your own stamp on the look of the pie. However, we were spending so much time photographing Calum at work that we weren't quite paying attention. Hence...
...this is how it turned out. Not terrible, but we're left with the thought that this could have been done so much better. But there's always next time. After this, the whole thing gets a thorough egg-wash and is then put in the oven.
And this is the final pie! Which we're really rather pleased with. Once it's out of the oven and cooled comes the time to add the jelly. The jelly is mixed with pork stock which gives it a gravy-like texture when you eat it. This is a good thing.
Cutting into it, you can see how we've poured the jelly in through the top and deep into the pie (we had to carefully create a couple more air holes with a skewer to achieve this). And at the end of it - it was a bloody good pork pie.
After the class, with a wooden dolly to take home and use on our own creations, we do actually feel that we could make our own pork pie - watch our Instagram feed for more details.
The class comes highly recommended. We got a bite-sized version - making just the pork pie - but in the full 2.5-hour class, you'll be making a sweet and savoury pie. If you know someone who loves pies - this is a no-brainer of a present for them.
More about Holborn Dining Room Pie Masterclass
Where is it? 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN
When are the courses? There are 1-2 courses a month, the next two available dates are 2 and 30 March (and 16 Feb, 16 Mar for the Beef Wellington class). See all the dates here.