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Friday, October 28, 2016

Mrs. Lovett's Famous Meat Pies | Sweeney Todd

Mrs. Lovett's Famous Meat Pies | Sweeney Todd
I have waited an entire month to share these little meat pies with you! Since the Fandom Foodies are celebrating the movies of Tim Burton this month, I knew that I wanted to feature a recipe inspired by the dark, tragic, macabre Sweeney Todd for this month's edition of #FridayPieDay.

I've been a major slacker on the Friday Pie Day front for the past couple of months (though I have shared a few pies on other days), but I think these little meat pies mostly make up for it.

In anticipation, I also commissioned this awesome Tim Burton style portrait from artist Lay Black on Fiverr of me in the style of Mrs. Lovett...with my kitty-cat Luna (who will not be used for pies, thank you very much). I love it so much! A big thanks goes to Katharina of Pretty Cake Machine for recommending the artist.
Heather drawn in the style of Mrs. Lovett
Sweeney Todd is a remake of the 1979 musical by the same name. Young husband, father, and barber Benjamin Barker is wrongly imprisoned by a corrupt judge who wants to steal his wife away. Fifteen years later, he returns to London bent on revenge, and going by the name Sweeney Todd.

He returns to his former place of residence in London, located above Mrs. Lovett's Pie Shop. Although his appearance had changed a lot over the years, Mrs. Lovett recognizes him, and having a bit of a thing for him, allows him to move into the vacant flat where he and his family once lived.
Mrs. Lovett's Famous Meat Pies | Sweeney Todd
Devastated by the news that his wife drank poison after being taken advantage of by the judge, he hatches a plan to kill him. Not long after that, a young sailor that was on the same boat as he was, falls in love with a girl named Johanna, after hearing her sing and seeing her lovely face in a window high above. We then learn that the awful Judge Turpin took her in as his ward after her mother drank the poison.

Sweeney Todd makes his prowess as a barber known, in hopes of luring Judge Turpin to his chair. But when a fellow barber (and con man) recognizes Todd as Barker and threatens to expose him, Todd kills him.

As Mrs. Lovett worries about how they are going to dispose of the body, an idea comes to her. Her pie shop is suffering since she can't afford meat...and cats are hard to catch (boo). Soon they are on the same wavelength, with visions of literal Shepherds pie (and priest pie, and green grocer pie, and poet pie) dancing in their heads. Sweeney Todd rigs his barber chair so that once slitting the neck of someone who won't be missed, they are tipped out into a chute leading to the basement where Mrs. Lovett grinds them up and makes them into pie.
Mrs. Lovett's Famous Meat Pies

It's man devouring man, my dear. And who are we to deny it in here?

Judge Turpin does eventually wind up in Sweeney Todd's chair, but only after Todd has hastily killed a nosy "old woman" that's been spying on the both the pie shop and the barber shop.

The story ends even more tragically than it begins, when after noticing the lifeless body of that old woman, realizes that it was actually his beloved wife. Yes, she drank poison, but it didn't kill her...just drove her a bit mad. In rage, he shoves Mrs. Lovett into the fire (because she knew and didn't tell him) before having his throat (willingly) slit by Toby, the young boy that had figured out their secret.

I did leave a few things out, including the fate of his daughter and the case you haven't seen it, I don't want to spoil it all. On that not so pleasant note—let's make meat pies.
Mrs. Lovett grinding the meat for her pies
Mrs. Lovett grinds her meat, but at one point, when Toby is eating a pie, he finds a finger tip in it—one of the things that tipped him off. So, I decided to use a combination of ground meat, slow cooked meat, and sliced hotdogs (to represent fingers). Together they add different flavor and texture elements to the finished pies.

I porked them up (because I couldn't rightly say "beefed" them up) even more by using bacon grease and pork stock. They make right nice little pies alongside a glass of ale, or even a tot of gin, both ways that Mrs. Lovett would serve them.

Check out all of the Tim Burton inspired recipes for #Burtoween at Witchy Kitchen!
yield: 21 handpiesprint recipe
Mrs. Lovett's Famous Meat Pies

Mrs. Lovett's Famous Meat Pies

prep time: 10 hour and 45 MINScook time: 50 MINStotal time: 10 hours and 95 mins
These savory little meat pies are packed with flavor and texture from pork prepared 5 ways.


  • 1 pound boneless pork butt (shoulder) or boneless babyback or country-style ribs
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 hot dogs
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
For the gravy:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups pork or ham stock
For the crust:
  • 2 whole recipes of my Oh-So-Easy Pie crust, prepared as directed, minus the sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • splash of milk


Make the filling:
  1. Rub the pork with the smoked paprika, smoked sea salt, garlic powder, marjoram, and white pepper. Place in a small (2 quart) slow cooker, put the lid on and cook on low for 10 hours. Shred the pork apart with two large forks and set aside for now.
  2. Heat the grease in a large, deep-sided skillet. Once hot, add the ground pork and cook, breaking up and stirring, until browned.
  3. Cut the hotdogs into 1/4-inch slices and add them to the skillet with the onion. Cook until the onions are have started to soften, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the reserved pork and juices, stirring until heated through and everything is well-combined. Taste and add seasoning, if necessary (but it shouldn't be since the slow cooked pork was very well seasoned).
  4. Place the cornstarch in a small bowl and with 2 teaspoons of cold water; stir until smooth. Bring stock to a boil in a small saucepot, reduce heat to a steady simmer, then whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Continue to simmer until thick and bubbly, whisking constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add to the pan with the meat and stir to combine.
  5. Preheat oven to 350° F. Using two 12-portion muffin tins, grease 21 of the wells.
Making the pies:
  1. Roll out the dough, a quarter at a time, to 1/4-inch thickness. You'll need to cut 21 4.5-inch circles and 21 3-inch circles total. Line the greased wells with the 4.5-inch circles of dough. Fill each one with a scant 1/4-cup of the pork and gravy mixture. Set a 3-inch circle of dough on top. Pinch the dough closed to seal.
  2. Beat the egg and milk together and brush some over the top of each pie. Prick each pie in the center with the tip of a paring knife, to make a steam vent.
  3. Slide into preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes, switching the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, and brushing once again with the egg wash. Allow the the pies to cool in the tin, set on a wire rack for 1 1/2 hours before lifting them out. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate them once cool and serve cold.
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