dish deconstructed

How to create the perfect gastropub 'gala' pie

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Chef Jack Boast: "making a pie like this is a good test of a chef"
Chef Jack Boast: "making a pie like this is a good test of a chef"
This take on the classic pork pie by Jack Boast, head chef at the Michelin star-winning Galvin brothers’ London pub HOP, earns its ‘gala’ moniker thanks to the delicate soft boiled eggs that run through its succulent pork filling. 

Ingredients:​ (For the pastry) hot water, beef dripping, rock salt and flour. (For the filling) Worcester sauce, sage, mustard seeds, pork kidneys, mincemeat and eggs. (For the jelly) Pork stock, beer and gelatine.

Menu price: ​£3-4

GP: ​Approximately 70%

Prep + cook time: ​Three hours from start to finish.

The chef: ​Jack Boast is a longstanding player in Chris and Jeff Galvin’s food empire, joining the company seven years ago and working his way up to the position of head chef at Café á Vin (which was transformed into slick city boozer HOP earlier this year). 


  • Boil water and fat together (one part each) and beat into flour (two parts) to create the hot water pastry. Fold rock salt through.
  • Mix filling ingredients and shape to fit the inside of the pie. You can also position eggs in the centre creating the ‘gala’ effect. Shape a lid for the pie and transfer to oven.
  • Create the jelly by boiling pork stock with beer (Boast uses unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell from HOP’s tanks) and a touch of gelatine.
  • Cook the pie for half an hour at 210c before lowering it to 160c for half an hour. Making sure the inside of the pie is at a suitable temperature, create a hole in the top and slowly feed the jelly into the pie.
  • Chill the finished pie well before serving.

A touch of history

Boast explains: “This is an amazing dish that took us quite a while to nail. We looked hard at traditional Melton Mowbray pork pies.

“When you look back at some of the ancient pork pies, what the pork pie is, who it is for and what it encompasses, you realise it really is a piece of history. You have to have one on your menu.”

Serving a range of finely crafted bar snacks allows staff to upsell pork pies – along with HOP’s crackling, Scotch eggs and sausage rolls – to diners who may not want a starter but can be persuaded to indulge in a traditional amuse bouche whilst they wait for their main courses, he adds.

Beer pairing

Beer sommelier Jane Peyton recommends pairing Boast's gala pie with Fuller's Montana Red rye ale.

She says: "Rye ale with a spicy caramel flavour and crisp, fruity New World hops will complement the richness of this dish and cut through the fatty texture."

Feed the beast

“Making a pie like this is a good test of a chef,” says Boast. “You can’t have it too offally but you need a bit of that element for the sage to work with.

"It’s crucial that I know on Monday when the pigs are slaughtered that I can get the freshest offal that the butcher will be able to deliver on the Tuesday so when we make the pies every Tuesday afternoon it is fresh as the daisies.”

It is equally important to master the process of feeding jelly into the pie. Whilst roughly one third of the inner jelly will set from the pork mixture inside the pie, the rest needs to be fed carefully through a small hole in the top of the pie.

“It’s where the expression ‘shut your pie hole’ comes from,” laughs Boast. “We started with a one-hole strategy. It’s quite technical – you have to allow the pie to cool to the right temperature before you pour your jelly in.

“If you pour hot jelly into a cold pie the hot jelly will seep and make your pastry soggy,” he warns. “So you have to get your jelly to the right setting temperature before it goes in.”

Once a chef has mastered the basics of bringing a pie like this together, it’s easy to adapt the recipe with different flavours and fillings.

For instance, Boast suggests creating a jelly with cider rather than beer, playing on the classic combination of pork and apple. 

Related topics: Menu Ideas

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