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Stanforths butchers is a small business in Skipton in the heart of the Yorkshire dales.
Here it's world famous Pork pies are sold.

The following is taken from the net.

'The English technique of turning pigmeat into pork pies is so old that it is impossible to put a precise date on it, certainly the first recorded recipe for pork pies was in 1390 by the cooks at the Court of Richard II.

There are regional variations in the meat and pastry recipes but traditional pork pies are thought to originate from the Roman technique of sealing meat in a flour and oil paste to cook. This prevented the meat juices seeping away and kept the meat from drying during cooking. This developed to pork pies baked in a moulded container in noble or royal households because there was more elegance in presenting the resultant formed and decorated pie at the table, rather than the shapeless Roman cust.

The earliest recipes often called for the pork fillings to be put into 'coffyns': pastry roughly moulded into a pie shape. It was 300 years on before there was more extensive use of the word 'pye'.

The recipe for the pork filling has changed over the years; The 1390 recipe included ginger, sweet powders, sugar and raisins, while another included grated cheese with whole spices, sugar saffron and spice.

By the middle of the 15th Century, ginger cinnamon, mace, pepper, saffron and whole cloves were being used in pork pie recipes. Towards the end of the 16th Century, cold pork pie was seasoned only with sweet herbs and parsley. Recipes gradually became plainer and by the 19th Century, the pork pie was seasoned only with pepper and salt.

In the early days the pastry was not eaten; the pie crust was broken open and the contents withdrawn and sliced for eating. The pastry was thick and made from a cheap rye with little fat. It was used to benefit the succulence of the contents and to act as a method of preservation particularly when they were sent as presents. As time passed the recipes for pastry included expensive 'wheaten' flour and butter so it is clear that the pastry was now part of the pie to be enjoyed.
But not for everybody, because the pastry of your pork pie denoted your social status.

In the latter part of the 18th Century, the stock or jelly as it is now known, was added to the pork pie after baking.

The meat expands during cooking and shrinks on cooling. The addition of stock after cooking filled the airspace created and helped the pies keep longer. One Regency writer claimed that jellying would make a pie, "keep good for over 2 months".

In those days, fires were lit every day and so stock-making was a daily practice. The bones were boiled and stock was poured through a hole in the pie lid to seal the meat in its pastry case. It was an economical method of preservation. Jelly continues to this day although in more hygienic conditions, however, its purpose is to retain succulence.

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Additional Photos by Stephen Wilkinson (wilkinsonsg) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 879 W: 48 N: 1446] (8662)
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