Boxing Day Coffyns
by Baroness Sadira bint Wassouf
Last year, when we could gather together, we held a workshop to make Boxing Day Coffyns, a recipe ripped off from the Great British Baking show, and then mucked about until it bears little resemblance to the original. – rather a perfect dish for a C3R, pandemic version. Medieval pies were called coffyns and were made with stronger pastry that could be raised without a tin and filled with meat, fruit, and sometimes cheese. The pastry kept the meat moist.
And bonus: the people who came to the workshop have already tried this, so it will be easier. For directions for each step, click on the photos. If you prefer a recipe in Word, you can find it HERE.
This recipe is more like guidelines than actual “rules.”
Melt bacon fat in water and boil.
Pour hot water and fat into a well in flour mixed with salt.
Use a single chopstick or end of a wooden spoon to mix – this is boiling water and fat that is instantly cooking the flour.
Once the mixture is cool enough, knead a bit. Hot water pastry can be kneaded more than piecrust but don’t get carried away.
Mistake: I did not have enough water and the pastry was really too dry. It tasted fine and the texture in the finished product was good, but hard to roll out and some was wasted.
Drop the dough into a greased spring-form pan (if using). push it gently into the edges of the pan.
Press the dough into the pan and up the edges, flattening out as you go. There should be no pleating.
Layer your fillings into the shell until full.
Cut the lid to fit exactly inside the top of the coffyn. Fold the edges over the top and crimp. Do NOT overhang the dough as you would a pie.
You need to cut into the top crust to allow the fillings to heat properly and not break your crust. One way to do so is to use decorative cookie cutters before putting the lid on the coffyn.
The coffyn can be cooked at this point, but looks much cleaner and has a flakier top crust if you add an egg wash to the top.
Without the egg wash, your results will look like the above, giving them a lovely “rustic” look, which is nice for certain dinners you may be creating. If you are looking for a fancier finish, egg wash.