This Celtic Pork Mince Tart recipe can be made year-round and can be served and eaten cold or warm. The combination of ground meat, apples or dates, and spices makes this tart well balanced and delicious.
This pork tart is a great reminder of the traditional English pork mince pies. Since it is not fully enclosed in a pastry shell, it is a little easier to make and does not look like a traditional pork mince pie.
If you are an avid watcher of the “Great British Bake Off” on Netflix or your local public access channel like my husband and I are, you might remember the famous episode where the contestants had to make a raised pie made with hot water crust pastry.
This Celtic pork mince tart does not use such a crust and is made with a simple pie crust, or short crust pastry, but it is still inspired by traditional British recipes.
You might ask what is Celtic cuisine, since we do not talk about it very often.
This cuisine is made of the foods, recipes and customs of the Celts who would have lived in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Isle of Man, Bretagne, Galicia or other lands in the European landmass.
The cuisine goes back to the basics and is known for using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
This Celtic Pork Mince Tart is a perfect example of the Celtic cuisine because it is simple and it goes back to the basics of all things that make pies so good.
What Is the History Of Pie?
The unassuming and simple pie is one of humanities most basic meals, and has a rich history that goes all the way back to the Neolithic Period (Around 9500 BC).
However, enclosing a filling inside of a shell made of flour and fat actually originated in ancient Rome.
Originally, since olive oil was harder to come by in Northern Europe, lard and butter were the fats of choice to make the crust.
People living in that region, created a pastry that could be rolled, molded, and could contain diverse fillings.
Therefore, the term “raised pies” comes from the ability to make a pastry that was harder and could be molded by hand without the need of using a special mold.
The most predominant pies in Norther Europe were meat pies. If you travelled back in time to medieval times and you walked into a pub, a meat pie would probably be on the day’s menu.
It would probably have a hard crust and you’d watch people discarding it because back then, pie crusts were not made to be eaten but to contain the meat filling.
According to my research, oftentimes pies were made using fowl and the legs would be left hanging out of the side of the dish and used as handles when serving.
I guess that is a smart idea but I cannot imagine eating a pie with feet.
The need for nutritious and long-lasting food on long expeditions, be it on water or land, demanded that meat dishes could be safely packed without rotting.
I guess you could say that crusts were medieval Tupperware (with legs) that kept food fresh.
Of course pies as we know them today in the U.S., made the cross over the ocean with the early Colonists.
Early documents show that the Colonists would season their meat heavily with dried fruit, spices.
As the colonies grew, pies became a way to showcase local ingredients.
How do you make Celtic Pork Mince Tart?
This, like many of my recipes is so easy to make.
First, you mix together the pork with the apples, the cheese, eggs, spices, and the lemon zest.
You then spoon the mixture into a pastry shell and bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees, or until the meat is cooked through.
For this recipe, if you have the time, I would recommend you make your own pie crust because it is worth it.
If you do not have the time, you can always use store bought crust. Just make sure it is made with good ingredients and it is not overly processed.
How do you make pie crust?
I use the recipe from Eric Lanlard’s “Tart It Up” book because his instructions are easy to follow and he uses simple ingredients. I also really recommend this book for any home chef. It is SO helpful.
First make all of your ingredients are very cold, and then sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Do not over mix it because you do not want the butter to get too soft.
Then, make a well in the center and you add the egg and milk. It is better if, using your fingertips, you mix everything to make a smooth dough.
Once it is pretty homogenous, turn the pastry out on to a lightly floured surface and lightly knead two or three times until it comes more together and you can form a flat disk.
Since by this point the butter has gotten very soft, cover your crust with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before using.
How do you roll pie crust?
Flour your rolling surface and rolling pin, and once your disk-shaped dough is chilled place it down on your surface and roll it out, rotating as you go.
Applying even pressure, roll the dough away from you and back. If you feel that the dough is getting sticky, apply a light dusting of flour to your hands and the dough.
Flip the dough once in a while to make sure you’re creating an even circle.
When you have rolled the dough to a little less than a quarter of an inch and about the size of your pie plate, transfer it to the pie plate.
You can carefully flip the rolled dough in half towards you, lift it over the plate, and then you set it down.
Open it so that it forms a full circle again, and covers the entire plate.
Gently press it down with your fingers so that it covers the bottom and sides snuggly.
If there is extra dough along the edge, trim the edges leaving a ½ inch border so that you are to fold the edge into a slightly thicker border.
If you want, you can crimp the edges and create patterns with your fingers, fork or through other inventive ways.
Can you freeze pie crust?
Sure! You can freeze the pie crust for up to 6 weeks for later use.
Can I use other fruit in the Celtic Pork Mince Tart?
The original recipe in the book asks for dates or apples.
I did not have dates in my pantry so I used some apples and it turned out wonderfully.
Those who have tried it with dates, have told me that the pie has a wonderful sweet flavor and you do not miss the apples.
What other spices can I use in the Celtic Pork Mince Tart?
The original recipe asks for saffron, but I did not have any in the house so I did not put it in.
If you have it, and you would like to use it, know that it will be delicious.
What cheese can I use in the Celtic Pork Mince Tart?
I used a mix of shredded cheese that had different types of cheddar, but you can also just use parmesan. It will still come out.
Let us know if you have more questions and we will add them as they come in!
If you make this Celtic Pork Mince Tart, let us know! We really like hearing from our readers.
- 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
- ½ cup chopped apples (or dates)
- ¼ cup grated cheese(Parmesan, Cheddar, or your favorite)
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 ground cardamom
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 (9 inch) pastry shell or make your own
- Ingredients for pie crust:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, chopped into pieces
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Instructions for the filling:
- In a medium bowl, mix together the ground pork with apples, cheese, eggs, spices, and the lemon zest.
- Spoon the mixture into the pastry shell and bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees, or until the meat is cooked through.
- Instructions for the pie crust:
- Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
- Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Make a well in the center and add the egg and milk. Mix everything to make a smooth dough.
- Turn the pastry out on to a lightly floured surface and lightly knead two or three times until it comes more together and form a disk.
- Cover the crust with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before using.
- Once it is ready to be used, flour your rolling surface and rolling pin.
- Place your chilled disk-shaped dough onto the floured surface and roll it out, rotating it as you go, and applying even pressure rolling away from you and back.
- Rotating the disk as you go, flip it occasionally so you have an even circle, and if your dough starts feeling sticky, apply a light dusting of flour.
- When the dough is a little less than a quarter of an inch thick, transfer it into a pie plate, and set it down so that it covers the entire plate, and using your fingers gently push it into the bottom and sides.
- If it is too big, trim the edges using scissors, but make sure you leave a ½-inch border along the edge. You want to be able to fold the dough a little so that it creates a little border that rests on the lip of the plate.
- How To assemble the tart:
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Spoon mixture into the prepared pastry shell and bake for 45 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.
- The tart can be served warm or cold.
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Amount Per Serving:Calories: 618Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 238mgSodium: 495mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 31g