How to make the perfect pie, and recreate a stunning Victorian bake

What's the secret behind a perfect pork pie?
What's the secret behind a perfect pork pie? Credit: Heathcliff O'Malley 

At the beginning of last summer head chef Calum Franklin went rooting about in the old store rooms of The Rosewood Hotel in London, where his restaurant, Holborn Dining Room, is housed. He wasn’t expecting to find much in the basement, but, in true Potteresque Room-of-Requirement style, some vintage raised pie tins caught his eye. He took them upstairs, started baking, and the results were a cult hit, with 22,000 Instagram followers (including many top chefs and food writers) salivating over his photographs of elaborately decorated pies. 

The pies look like the illustrations in Mrs Beeton, with their lavish, painstaking embellishments. Franklin is that kind of cook. He doesn’t have a water bath (the modern chef’s favourite shortcut) in his kitchen, and the microwave is rarely used. When I visited him earlier this week to find out the secret to perfect pie-making, he was busy rolling out pastry...

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