Pork pie filling500 gmpork sausages, skins removed 10 gmfresh black truffle, finely chopped1 tspthyme leaves, finely chopped1egg, lightly beaten with ½ cup milkJellied truffle aspic375 ml (1½ cup) chicken stock125 ml (½ cup) dry sherry8 (15gm) leaves gelatine (gold strength), softened in cold water10 gmfresh black truffle, finely choppedPastry60 ml (¼ cup) milk125 gm lard, coarsely chopped (see note)450 gm (3 cups)plain flour, siftedWatercress and beetroot salad2 bunches (about 2 cups) baby golden beetroot, trimmed½ bunch (about 150gm) watercress, washed and stems trimmed1small white onion, thinly sliced60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil1 tbspwhite wine vinegar
For jellied truffle aspic, heat chicken stock and dry sherry in a saucepan over medium heat until warmed, then transfer to a bowl. Squeeze excess water from gelatine and add to stock, whisking to dissolve gelatine. Add truffle, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground white pepper. Transfer to a jug and cool.
For pastry, combine milk, lard and 150ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Place flour and 2 tsp sea salt in a food processor and with motor running, slowly add hot milk mixture, in a thin stream, and process until a smooth dough forms. Cool dough for 2-3 minutes, then place in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover and stand in a cool place for 20 minutes. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly for 5 minutes.
Halve dough and roll out one half to 5mm thick. Using a 10cm-diameter round pastry cutter, cut out 4 rounds, reserving scraps. Repeat with remaining pastry, so you have 8 rounds altogether. Press pastry rounds into 8 lightly greased holes of a 12-hole, ½-cup capacity muffin pan.
Preheat oven to 200C. Combine sausage meat, truffle and thyme in a bowl and season to taste, then divide sausage mixture among the pastry-lined holes. Roll out reserved scraps to 5mm thick and, using an 8cm-diameter round cutter, cut out 8 rounds, then, using a 2cm-diameter round cutter, cut out a hole in the centre of each round. Place rounds over the pies, pressing edges with fingers to seal, and trim excess pastry. Brush tops of pies with eggwash and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 180C and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until pastry is golden. Remove from oven, allow to cool a little, then pour jellied truffle aspic into the holes of pies. Cool completely, then chill in refrigerator. Pies will keep refrigerated, in an airtight container, for up to a week.
For salad, cook beetroot in boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes, drain, then peel and halve and place in a bowl with watercress and onion. Whisk olive oil and vinegar in a bowl to combine and season to taste. Drizzle over beetroot mixture and toss gently to combine. To serve, bring pies to room temperature and serve with salad.
Note Lard (rendered pig fat) is available from
Where to buy truffles
You can buy Australian truffles direct from the producers - ask
for Al Blakers, of Manjimup Truffles, at the Five Acre Nursery, (08
9771 2258), or get in touch with fellow West Australians The Wine
& Truffle Company (www.wineandtruffle.com.au), or Duncan Garvey at
Tasmania's Perigord truffles (www.perigord.com.au). Otherwise Simon Johnson
stores around the country have WA truffles in stock, as does
Brisbane's Black Pearl Epicure, and other smaller premium
retailers. If the idea of entering into a truffle co-op appeals but
you can't find like-minded fellows, ask suppliers and delis; some -
such as Sydney's Black Bull Butchery, in Potts Point - organise
their own co-ops, and sell to their customers by the gram.