Thronesmas Eve 2016: Purple Wedding Pork Pies

Thronesmas Eve MMXVI

Alas, another season of Game of Thrones has come to a close.

What a whirlwind! I would mention my favorite moments such as when Daenerys spoiler, Arya takes on another (spoiler), and we find out that (Spoiler McSpoiler) is actually (spoilerific spoiler of spoilersville). That’s right folks, if George R.R. Martin can hold onto (crazy mega-spoiler) for over twenty years, I can wait a few more months/posts until you’ve caught up on the prime reason you subscribe to HBO.

Ya’ll have stayed with me this long for our Thronesgiving series premier feast recap. For our season finale potluck, or as my friends call “Thronesmas Eve”, I decided to go back a little bit.

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How far back? Back to the third book in the series, Storm of Swords, and a little event forever known as the Purple Wedding. The nuptials of King Joffrey and Queens Margaery hosted no less than seventy-seven courses including “trout cooked in a crust of crushed almonds”, “honey-ginger partridge”, and today’s recipe: “pastry coffyns filled with pork, pine nuts, and eggs.”

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I know; I was also picturing pie crust in the shape of the last bed you’ll ever lie in, and it’s true that medieval pies tended to be more square than round, but that’s not what the name was actually referring to. Coffin, or coffyn, was a name for a container in general. The pastry culinary application bears little resemblance to the mouth-melting, flaky crust we see today. If anything, it served as a baking vessel with its stiff and sturdy dough that could be easily given (once emptied) at the end of the feast to the poor — or to the dogs, depending on which queen’s orders the kitchen staff chose to follow.

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I ended up adapting the basic medieval crust recipe from the official Game of Thrones Cookbook: A Feast of Ice and Fire by Inn at the Crossroads. Pastry is generally easier to work with when it’s cold. If you’re plagued by warm hands and hot weather like I am here in Georgia, I would recommend you put your rolling pin in the freezer before making this dish. The best way to eat this pie is to scoop the innards out directly from the center so you can use the shell for any soup or stew you might want serve later in your feast or potluck.

For the filling, I ended up adapting another medieval recipe for a “Tarte Owt of Lente” from Gentyll manly Cokere, circa 1500:

Take neshe chese and pare hit and grynd hit yn A morter and breke egges and do ther to and then put yn buttur and creme and mell all well to gethur put not to moche butter ther yn if the chese be fatte make A coffyn of dowe and close hit a bove with dowe and collor hit a bove with the yolkes of eggs and bake hit well and serue hit furth.

This dish, as the name implies, was a pie full of things you are not allowed to eat during Lent: cheese, cream, and eggs. It’s also from around the same era as Joffrey Lannister’s real-life counterpart, Edward of Lancaster (1453-1471). To complement the pine nuts, I used Kerrygold Irish Cheddar for its own inherent nuttiness. Like many of my Game of Thrones themed recipes, this one also uses the spice blend poudre forte.

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For the pork portion of this dish, I placed about two-three pounds of pork shoulder in my electric pressure cooker, covered it with water, and cooked it on high for 75 minutes. You can also do the same with a crock pot on high for four hours. Make sure to remove and discard the excess fat and gristle as you shred it afterwards. You only need 1 cup of shredded pork for a single batch of coffyns. I was using what was leftover for salads, lettuce wraps, soup, breakfast burritos for days afterwards. Also if you reserve the cooking liquid, you can use it for stock and make ramen, soups, and even risotto afterwards. Unlike a certain golden-haired queen, I prefer to not let perfectly good ingredients go to waste.

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So without much further ado, here’s a decadent dish to gorge yourself on until you turn purple. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Keep an eye on your wine, though, or this may not be the only coffyn you will bury your appetite in!

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Purple Wedding Pork Coffyns

Serves 6
Equipment: Pastry cutter (optional), plastic wrap or ziplock bag, mortar and pestle or coffee mug and mixing bowl, rolling pin, jumbo 6-cup cupcake pan, baking spray, pastry brush, oven, aluminum foil.

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • pinch saffron (optional)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Filling:

  • 1 cup cooked and shredded pork
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 150g Kerrygold Cheddar, shredded
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon poudre forte
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • large pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions:

  1. Bring water for crust to a boil in a saucepan or kettle and pour into a dish or measuring cup with the saffron. Allow to steep for a few minutes and place in the refrigerator to chill.
  2. Whisk together flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix into the flour with a pastry cutter or your hands until it’s fully incorporated and in crumb-sized clumps. Place the vessel of saffron water in the freezer for about 3-5 minutes until ice cold. Stir egg yolks into the flour mix, and then the saffron water gradually until everything sticks together. Wrap the the dough in plastic wrap, or place in ziplock bag and chill in the refrigerator while making filling.
  3. In a small dish, pour apple cider vinegar over pork and let sit. Break cheese and butter into a paste using a mortar and pestle (or the bottom a coffee mug in a mixing bowl. Stir in cream, egg, salt, poudre forte, and finally the pork. Fold in the pine nuts, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill. Coat cupcake pan with baking spray and let sit.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Roll pastry dough on floured surface. Cut six, six-inch rounds and six, four-inch rounds using a saucer or round patterns as a guide. Roll the rounds two inches larger in diameter. Line the cups of the pan with the larger rounds and and fill each one with the pork and cheese mix.
  5. Top the pies with the upper crust, fold over and crimp the edges, and cut vents with a sharp knife. Brush egg wash onto the crust and bake for 20 minutes. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, and bake another 10 minutes.
  6. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes before popping the pies from the pan and serving.

The Gluttonous Geek

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