Gluten-Free Stilton and Port Pork Pie (The Portman Pie)

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Published on: July 25, 2013

I’ll be honest, I had my doubts that a proper gluten-free pork pie could be done.  I don’t really do pies and I’d never used a hotwater crust so the thought of doing a gluten-free one seemed like a step too far.  But I was asked to try it out and I figured the worst that could happen is that the crust ends up as little more than a fancy way to hold a pork pie filling.  The commercially made Gluten-free pies, the few that I have had (OK – one), have a pretty awful taste and the texture of the crust doesn’t seem right.  I was sure I could do something about the taste, but less sure if I could fix the texture.

I started out by searching for a gluten-free hotwater crust recipe and the best one I could find called for a mixture of rice flour and cornflour (along with the usual hot water and lard).  A friend at work suggested swapping the cornflour for cornmeal as a hotwater crust should have a good crunch to it, I opted to grind some polenta and mix it with the rice flour.  The result is a fairly close approximation of a “real” hotwater crust, although the downside of using lightly ground polenta is that you get a slightly gritty texture – it adds the crunch but it’s a bit too noticeable.

I was surprised by how easy it is to make a pork pie.  If I hadn’t opted for a gluten-free crust I could have put it together very quickly.  With a typical hotwater crust you work it while it is still hot/warm, before it can cool and turn solid.  The gluten-free crust that I use here is much harder to work with, you need to let it cool in the fridge, roughly shape it and then let it set for a few hours.  Finally you can then take it out of the fridge, put in the meat (and anything else you fancy) and quickly arrange it into its final shape with a lid.  The problem I had, was I took the dough out, worked it, shaped it and then realised it wasn’t going to hold its shape unless it stayed cold.  I found moulding the dough into a bowl the size of the final pie and leaving it in the fridge overnight, allowed me to quickly finish the final shape of the pie without it getting too warm and falling apart.

This pork pie has a few stages.  First you must mince and marinade the pork.  Then you make the hotwater crust and allow it to set.  Then you place the meat in the pie and shape it, before baking it and allowing it to cool again.  Finally you make the jelly and fill in the gaps of the pie.  The whole process could be done in 2 days or in my case 4 days.

I’m not 100% convinced by the Port jelly, maybe I should have kept it more simple; just sugar, water and port but I put in some bay, spices, lime zest and orange blossom water.  It turned out a little too much like mulled wine but it goes quite well with the pork and it would be nice at Christmas – it depends if you like mulled wine or not!  The pork meat filling itself is made fresh from 3 different cuts, belly, shoulder and smoked bacon.  I’ve used my meat grinder to roughly mince the pork (pork pie meat shouldn’t be too finely minced) but it is possible to mince the pork enough with just a knife or two.  Some people add rusk or breadcrumbs to their pork filling in order to reduce the shrinkage when cooked – if you want to skip making a jelly and just have a crust filled with meat, it’s an option but I feel all pork pies need a bit of jelly!

Special thanks to Lee for the polenta/cornmeal idea, Chris for all the fresh Bay and Donna for suggesting I do a gluten-free pork pie (not that there was anything in it for her).



For the Pork filling:

300g Pork Belly

200g Pork Shoulder

100g Smoked Bacon (good quality)

100g Stilton

15g Pink Salt

1 tbsp English Mustard

1 tbsp Port


For the hotwater crust:

250g Rice Flour

250g Polenta / Cornmeal

175ml Water

100g Beef Lard

75g Butter

1 Large Egg

1 tsp Xantham Gum

1 tsp Soy Lecithin

Pinch of Salt


For the Jelly:

200ml Ruby Port

100ml Water

50g Granulated Sugar

1-2 Fresh Bay leaves

1/2 tsp Mace

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Orange Blossom Water

Lime Zest

Juice of half a small lime




1.  Either finely chop all the meat or mince them in a meat grinder (large mince), mix well, then mince/chop again or until throughly mixed.

2.  Add the mustard, port and salt and mix well.

3.  Place in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave the mixture in the fridge.


Hotwater Crust:

1.  Start by grinding the cornmeal or polenta to a finer grain – not too fine!  It shouldn’t a flour.

2.  Add the butter and lard to the water and bring to the boil (I used my Thermomix 90C, SP3, 5mins), heat until completely melted.

3.  Immediately add the rice flour, cornmeal, salt, egg, xantham gum and soy lecithin and stir well (THX SP6, 2mins)

4.  Pour out the dough and leave until cool enough to touch.

5.  Take a 3rd of the dough and set aside, roll out the rest to about 3cm thick.

6.  Now place the rolled out to in a bowl roughly the size you want your pie to be, press into the bowl and leave in the fridge to set overnight.

7.  Roll out the remaining 3rd of the dough to form a lid for the pie and leave in the fridge to set (do not place it on top of the base as it will stick).



1.  Pre-heat your oven to 180C.

2.  Take the dough out of the fridge and quickly finalise its shape.

3.  Place the mince meat mix into the pie base and press down firmly.

4.  Add a layer of sliced Stilton to the top of the meat.

5.  Place the pie lid on top and crimp.  Make one big hole in the centre of the pie and two or four smaller holes nearer the edges of the pie.

6.  Place the pie in the oven for 1 hour at 180C.  Then reduce the heat to 160C for another 1-2 hours until cooked and slightly golden.  If you have a thermometer, the center of the pie should be at least 71C.

7.  Allow to cool and place in the fridge covered in clingfilm for a few hours or over night.



1.  Add the port, water and sugar to a small pan and bring to a simmer.

2.  Add the spices, bay leaves, lime zest and juice and reduce by half.

3.  Remove from the heat, strain and then add the orange blossom water.

4.  Add the gelatine (enough to set 200ml of liquid) and mix well.

5.  Pour the liquid into the pork pie via the holes in the lid.  Allow to cool and set then serve.




–  The pink salt doesn’t have to be curing salt but the pie will keep a little longer if you use it.  Ordinary sea salt will do if you don’t have any.

–  The Stilton can be combined with the pork mince just before baking, I found putting the Stilton on top that it melted and covered the holes for the steam to escape, causing the crust to crack slightly.

–  Don’t over work this dough, it has to be cold to hold its shape.  If it gets to warm put it back in the fridge to harden.

–  Don’t roll the dough too thin, it’s quite stretchy but it will tear.  If it does tear, just patch it with some excess dough, it’s almost like clay.


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