Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Hedgehog Pies

Yes it's that time of year folks when the hedgehogs are nice and plump ready for their hibernation.


For this recipe you will need 4 fresh hedgehogs finely minced, 1 packet of readymade puff pastry, 2 small onions finely chopped and some smoked rindless streaky bacon coarsley chopped. Avoid using roadkill hedgehogs as you never know their freshness and they are only normally good for pizza toppings.


Mix all the ingredients together and season well with salt & pepper to taste.


The smoked bacon will replicate the taste of hedgehogs being baked in clay and cooked on an open roadside fire around a Vardo (gypsy horse drawn caravan). The onions along with the fat from the bacon will help keep the pie moist.


Using a 3oz ratchet ice-cream scoop, place your first ball of meat left of centre on your rolled out pastry, then with your 1oz ratchet scoop place another along side that one.

You will find hedgehogs in cattle grids, the ones where people havn't bothered to put in a small plank in the corner to act as a ladder to help them escape if they have fallen inside, also you will find them in leaf litter in gardens especially where a bonfire is likely to be lit. Don't let a good meal go to waste, check your bonfire hasn't got a plump hedgehog hibernating underneath the wood pile.


If you happen to find a starving hedgehog in a cattle grid, avoid giving it bread & milk to fatten up for your pie, the reason for this is; the enzymes in the milk will accumulate in the hedgehog's tummy where it is unable to process it through it's body system, The hedgehog will eventually die and slowly if constantly given milk, remember our aim is to fatten them and not kill them whilst they are thin.


For a good pie filling, fatten your hedgehogs on tinned cat food, cooked rice and normal household food scraps, avoid using any poisonous slug pellets in your garden, allow your hedgehog to feast on the slugs as this saves money on buying any unwanted cat food.  

Tie a few duck or goose feathers together and use as a pastry brush by applying some egg wash around the edges of your pastry to aid them to seal together. These must be feathers from a waterfowl as feathers from other birds such as pheasants for example do not have the same structure nor the waterproofing required when washing your feather pastry brush after use.


Fold over your pastry from right to left, ensuring you enclose the hedgehog mince inside.




Just aid the seal by crimping the pastry with a table fork.


Using a pizza wheel, trim any excess pastry and place to one side for later.


Having trimmed your pastry, create the eyes and nose of the hedgehog by inserting some raisins into the face area of the pie and make some indentation with a knife to make the ears.


With a pair of scissors and starting just behind the ears whilst working backwards, make small cuts into the pastry to create spikes.


Place the finished hedgehog pies into a baking tray and egg wash before baking at 180c for approximately 20 - 25mins or until golden brown.


Once baked allow to cool on a trivet or cooling rack, albeit I have to say they taste damn good warm.


If you can bare to wait until they cool down, you can enjoy them with a fresh brew of tea at around elevenses.


Just remember guys when you are next out there driving in the dark, slow down a little to avoid those fattened hedgehogs crossing the road, we don't want to spoil a good pie now, do we ?

Oh by the way! If you are wondering what I did with all those pastry off-cuts, well I unfolded the pastry so the egg wash was facing upwards and I grated some cheddar cheese over them and baked them in the oven whilst it was warming up ready to take the pies.



These cheese savouries were as enjoyable as the hedgehog pies themselves, two great savoury pastries to relish this Autumn & Winter.

1 comment:

  1. You're so funny! Your hedgehogs are adorable. But if you read my Albondigas Soup post from a couple weeks ago, you will know that as a child I could not have been convinced to eat one of these darling little pies!

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