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Venison Pie with Sour Cream Pastry and Plum Fruit Paté

Errieda du Toit’s Venison Pie with Sour Cream Pastry and Plum Fruit Paté

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This venison pie is steeped in heritage and history and pulls out all the stops for a perfect family meal.

  • Serves: 6-8 |
    6-8 servings
  • Difficulty:

  • Prep Time : 49:0 hours |
  • Cook Time : 3:0 hours
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Plum & Black Pepper Fruit Paté

1 kg black plums
1 cinnamon stick
10 peppercorns, half of it cracked
4 sage leaves
400 g white sugar

Meat

2 kg shoulder of venison, cut in 25 mm cubes
1 C (250 ml) buttermilk
500 g lamb shanks
25 ml oil
1 L water
1 onion, studded with cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp (5 ml) ground coriander
1 tsp (5 ml) black peppercorns
6 juniper berries
1 Tbsp (15 ml) salt

Sauce

2 onions, chopped
2 Tbsp (30 ml) oil
1 C (250 ml) red wine
½ C (125 ml) grape vinegar
1 Tbsp (15 ml) mustard powder
2 Tbsp (30 ml) corn flour, mixed with a few spoons of water
salt and black pepper
4 pickling onions, each studded with a clove

Sour Cream Pastry

300 g butter
750 ml cake flour
300 ml sour cream
7,5 ml salt

Plum & Black Pepper Fruit Paté

Wash the plums and cut in half. Add the plums, spices, herbs and 400 ml water to a non-reactive heavy bottom pot. Bring to the boil over medium heat, lower the heat, cover and simmer till the fruit is soft, about 20 minutes. Just watch that it doesn’t catch, adding a bit of water if needed.

Remove the pits and aromatics. Cool slightly. Push the fruit through a sieve with the back of a wooden spoon to form a puree.

Wash the pot, add the puree and simmer over low heat till reduced by half, 25-30 minutes. Stir in the sugar, simmer over low heat till the sugar is dissolved, stirring all the time.

Once the sugar is dissolved, simmer over medium heat till well-thickened, scraping the bottom of the pan with a heat proof spatula or wooden spoon to prevent scorching. It’s wise to wear long sleeves as the mixture bubbles and spits!

To test for readiness, run a wooden spoon across the base of the pan – if it leaves a gap for a few seconds, it’s ready. This can take 40 – 60 minutes.

Pour into a suitable lightly oiled form – like a small loaf pan if you want to cut the fruit pate in cubes or use small jelly moulds. Allow to set at room, preferably overnight.  Cut into cubes or turn out onto a plate. Serve with the venison pie.

Hint: The pectin level of fruit may differ – if the pate doesn’t set overnight, either set with gelatin or a packet of plum-flavour jelly – or simply serve it in a jam jar.

Meat 

*Recommendation: a pressure cooker is ideal, reducing the cooking time by half.

Place meat in a non-reactive container and cover with the buttermilk. Marinade in the fridge for 2 days. Pat dry with kitchen towel.

Heat oil in a heavy-bottom pot, brown the lamb shanks on all sides. Take out and set aside. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, return the shanks to the pot and add the venison. Cover and simmer until the meat falls off the bone, giving it a stir now and then. *If using a pressure cooker, cook for 45 minutes.

Leave to cool, pull the meat from the bone and cut into smaller pieces. Retain the liquid – you will need 500 ml (add water if necessary).

Sauce

Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion until golden brown. Add the wine and vinegar, cook at high heat until reduced to 60 ml.

Add the 500 ml meat cooking liquid and mustard, thicken with the cornflour paste and season to taste. Cool the sauce and add to the meat.

Sour Cream Pastry

Cream the butter in a food processor until soft. Add the flour, sour cream and salt and mix at medium speed till it forms a soft dough. Flatten slightly, wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge until well-chilled.

Making the pie

Preheat the oven to 220 °C.

Evenly roll out the pastry on a floured surface. You can now put your signature on the crust – either cut it in long strips and arrange on top of the meat in a weave pattern or turn the pie dish upside down and cut out the shape – leaving a fairly wide border.  A good idea is to decorate the top with a fork pattern. Any left-over pastry can be used for decorative patterns.

Butter the pie dish and fill with the meat. Use the pastry to cover the top of the pie.

Brush the top with egg wash. Bake for 30- 40 minutes until the crust is nicely puffed up and golden brown.