Cooking 18th Century Meat Pies at Jas. Townsend and Son

Cooking 18th Century Meat Pies at Jas. Townsend and Son


Pies are common fare for everyone in the 18th
century. We’re going to bake a couple of pies today using different baking techniques. Our first pie is going to be a Cheshire pork
pie with pork and apples. We’re going to bake it in our oven. Our next pie will be a mock passenger pigeon
pie and we’re going to bake that in our Dutch oven. Apples have been enjoyed for centuries by
people. Apples were popular in the 18th century and today the dish we’re making is called
Cheshire pork pie with pippins. “Pippins” is a common name for apples in the 18th century. In our recipe, we’re going to be using salt
pork. This is true 18th century style salt pork, not something like you might find in
your grocery store bacon shelf, but a leaner cut hard packed in salt like we’ve discussed
in a previous video. Likewise, we’ve sliced our pippins here
and they’re ready to use in our pie. As we make our pie, what we’re going to do
is we’re going to put in a layer of pork and then we’re going to put in a layer of
apple. We’re boiling our salt pork today for about
an hour. Because we’re boiling it, we don’t need to rinse it off quite as much as we normally
would have before using it. We’re going to slice it thin and then we’re going to
season it with a little pepper. I’ve got our pie packed up here. Now it’s time to
add some spices to it. I’m going to add some salt and some pepper to this to season
it well so it’s got some flavor to it. All these things come right out of our spice
kit. A little bit more there. There, that’s good. Now we’re going to put some butter
on top that will melt down into our pie here. We’re going to add about 2 tablespoons of
water to give it a little bit of moisture. The amount of water you need to add to this
pie totally depends on the kind of apple you use. If you use a Mackintosh apple, they’ll
turn to something like apple sauce, so you don’t need to add very much water. If you
have a firmer crisper apple, you might need a little bit more water. So, for pie apples, if you ‘ve got any choice
and you’re not just picking off a local tree, if you go to a local grocery store,
you want to look for Jonathans or Winesaps, something that’s particularly a pie apple,
a tart yet sweet apple that holds together and doesn’t turn to applesauce. What you
don’t want is a red delicious apple. Red delicious apples are very 20th century, they’ve
been bred for their size and their color and not for their taste and they don’t make
a very good pie apple at all. We’re going to put our second pie crust
on here to cover this up, we’re going to trim and seal the edges. Now let’s cut some
vent holes and work on the mock pigeon pie. Passenger pigeons were one of the most populous
birds in the 18th and 19th century. There were billions of these birds on the planet.
They were almost a scourge there were so many of them. They were very popular and yet you
would find them in a lot of recipes. There were so many of these birds that there were
reports of flocks that were a mile wide and 300 miles long that would take 14 hours to
fly over. There were so many of them they would blot out the sun. Obviously we can’t
use passenger pigeons today since the last one died almost 100 years ago, so today we’re
going to use as our substitute a Cornish game hen. We’ve simmered 2 Cornish game hens with onions and then we picked the meat off and put it in the bowl. Now let’s brown up a
little bit of flour in some butter. I’m going to add some stock, let this simmer
a little bit. We’ll also season it with a little salt, pepper, and thyme. By the way, our pie plates here are thrown
by our master potter Gary Nieter right here in Indiana and they have a lead free food
safe glaze. We’re going to put our pulled meat into
a pie crust. We’re going to pour our warmed sauce on top of that, seal it up with the
other pie crust, and it’s ready to bake. There we go. We’re going to bake this mock
pigeon pie in a Dutch oven. Let’s talk about these Dutch ovens for a minute. Dutch ovens
like this are a specifically 18th century and North American improvement on a 17th century
design. The lip at the top is specifically designed to keep the coals from falling off
so the coals will stay on the top, and the legs at the bottom keep it so the air can
flow underneath and keep the coals alive underneath. We’ve got our Dutch oven preheated. I kind
of left it in the fire pit here and it’s good and warm. We have to get our pit ready
for this. We’ve got our coals underneath. It’s time to put the pie in. We need to
keep the pie off the bottom of the Dutch oven so we’re going to put a couple of S hooks
in here to space the pie pan off the bottom so the bottom doesn’t burn. We’ve got plenty of space around the outside
edge so we can reach in there without burning ourselves. Now let’s put the lid on. Deciding exactly how many coals you want to
use is a bit of a matter of judgement. Each person is going to have to get used to that.
You need to practice. I put a ring of coals around the top of the lid here leaving the
center a little bit open. Same thing at the bottom, there’s a little bit of opening
at the very center to not get it too hot. Each one of those is going to be just a little
bit different though. Let’s check out our earthen oven and see if it’s ready for the
pork pie. Okay, our oven is all baked down into coals.
Our soot is burned off so this is ready to go. You can see about how to use the oven
better in the baking bread video. Anyway, I’m going to scrape the coals out and get
this ready for the pie. I’m going to put S Hooks inside this one
also to serve as a trivet. I don’t want to burn the bottom. There we go. We’re going to have to watch
this. This one might be a little bit too hot, so we’re going to keep an eye out on it.
Let’s put the door on it though. It’s been about 10 or 15 minutes and I think
this is probably ready to go. Take a quick look, whoa! It’s ready to come out. You don’t want it to go too long. Wow, look at that, looks just about perfect. We’ll I’m sure we’ve left this set long
enough. Let’s pull it off the fire and set this aside so it can cool off enough that
I can take the pie out of the oven. I’ll take a quick gander here, set that lid aside.
There’s a lot of steam in there. Look at that. There you go. I’m going to let that cool off a minute
before we take it out. I can’t wait to cut these open and try them.
They smell really good. Mmm, these are excellent. Definitely you should
try something like this. If this isn’t a normal thing for you, step out of your normal
comfortable cooking, get into something like this. Meat pies or something that’s a little
bit different. Everybody will enjoy it. All the things you’ve seen here today you can
check out and see on our website or in our print catalog and don’t forget to follow
us on Facebook.

91 thoughts on “Cooking 18th Century Meat Pies at Jas. Townsend and Son”

  1. I'd love to bake a pork and apple pie, but I'd be SO KEEN to add chilli, ginger, fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, and some onion.

  2. Every one of your videos is so well done and informative. I'm always starving after I watch too! Thanks Townsends!

  3. This is an example of why Youtube is so good, there is something for everyone. This dude obviously loves to make pies. I like to eat pies

  4. It must be fun to get into costume and cook up a good meal. That's so cool and it looks good! I would have never thought of putting apples in lol

  5. ok.. two interesting meat pies.. I can see the apples with the pork.. but nothing buy gravy? or sauce with the bird? no potato's or carrots? so it's not like a modern day 'pot pie'? Nice..

  6. I dont know why I find it weird to add fruits to meat ( ´・‿・`) but the way you made the first pie made me really want to try it out for my self. I'll definetly try baking it someday. (っ ॑꒳ ॑c)

  7. Yet another well produced, utterly charming video. You do an amazing job of bringing 18th century cooking to life. Well done!

  8. I dunno who has time to make pies.
    Is the meat fed natural diet?
    Probably not. So the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio will go off the chart again.

  9. Hey what a coincidence, after I finish reading the merry adventures of Robin Hood, the chapter one told something about meat pie.. hehehe…

  10. i never knew they had cameras in the 18th century to see a real life cookery show must be the time machine or something lol

  11. So you say "right here in Indiana"

    That's funny. Didn't know you were so local. I hail from La Porte.

    Glad I'm not the only 18th century enthusiast here.

  12. So far the pork pie is the best pie I've ever had. Love your videos! We're working our way through to cook each one.

  13. Willow Twig apples were a type of apple picked near the end of the season in Wv placed in apple barns (Big barns filled with Ice) and used as pie apples until the beginning of the next harvest season. It was one of they few ways that allowed fresh apples to be available year round

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