Tiny Pastry Mice Hand Pies with Pulled Pork and Raisins

Stuffed with a sweet and savory filling of pulled pork and raisins, these adorable little pastry mice hand pies come straight from the pages of Dana Claire’s debut fantasy novel, The Reclaimed Kingdom.

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Pewter platter of tiny pastry mice hand pies.
Four pastry mice hand pies on a pewter platter from above.
Pastry Mouse Hand Pie cut open, showing the pulled pork filling.

Tiny Pastry Mice Hand Pies

These adorable little hand pies come straight from the pages of Dana Claire’s debut fantasy novel The Reclaimed Kingdom. It’s no surprise that they were one of the heroine’s favorite snacks! Made with a sweet and savory pulled pork filling, these pastry mice hand pies are a delight for any occasion in need of a little whimsy – whether its a royal banquet or an extra special lunch. Using a pressure cooker with a saute function, the filling comes together with only a handful of ingredients, and then the drippings are boiled down into a thick sauce of vinegar, tomato paste, and black currant jam. Dotted with raisins, the end result is a sweet and savory pulled pork filling that goes perfectly with the buttery pie crust.

If you told me I would figure these guys out on my second recipe test, I wouldn’t have believed you. But honestly, it’s the truth. Once I found the right pie dough recipe, it all came together beautifully. With a little care and a special mold, I promise you can do it too. Read on to learn how!

Sterling silver platters were placed on the ends of each long table, piled high with roasted hens on beds of imported wild rice. There were dark breads and flatbreads and hot gravies and sweet sauces to dip them in. I was delighted to see one of my childhood favorites: tiny pastries full of shredded boar, carefully shaped like little mice.

DANA CLAIRE, The Reclaimed Kingdom (2021)

The Reclaimed Kingdom: The Legend is True. The Fear is Real.

The first in a new series, The Reclaimed Kingdom is an action-packed YA fantasy novel full of romance, adventure, and powerful magic set in a unique world akin to 16th century Europe. This coming-of-age story follows the seventeen-year-old heroine Dru in her quest to save the kingdom she loves. The tale is a playful mix that combines elements of the Robin Hood legend with the tribulations of Snow White, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with author Dana Claire on building the world and its inhabitants. This recipe is a tribute to all the hard work that lead to the book’s launch, and a toast to many more projects to come!


Historically Inspired Pulled Pork & Raisin Filling

For this fictional food recipe, I turned to historic cookbooks from Europe in and around the Late Middle Ages. Medieval kitchens are well known for their playful pastry creations, and royal tables often had pies shaped like birds and all sorts of other creatures.

Meat fillings in this period often have a heavy sweet component, especially when used in pastries and hand pies. Fruit and jam components make sense, so I mixed the pulled boar (pork, for the convenience of this recipe) with raisins, and created a currant-jam and vinegar based barbeque sauce from the drippings. While the process of cooking the pork in a pressure cooker is very modern, I can assure the flavors are inspired by classic profiles of the era.


Close up of a hand pie with bottles behind.
Tablescape with a pewter platter of hand pies, cutting board, brass goblets, and bottles on dark wood.

Using a Pie Mold with Homemade Dough

The adorable mice shapes are achieved with a six-cavity silicone mold, so you’ll need one of these to achieve the pictured result. Don’t feel like ordering another kitchen item? No sweat. The base recipe is easily converted to a traditional hand pie format using a run of the mill muffin pan. Not as cute, but just as tasty, I promise. For help with constructing more traditional mini hand pies, check out these recipes for Beef, Bacon & Cheese Hand Pies and Apricot Rosemary Chicken Hand Pies.

I regret to inform you that store-bought pie dough isn’t going to cut it if you want the tiny mouse shapes. Trust me, I tried, and I wish I could tell you otherwise. In order to fill the mold properly, you’ll need to make your pie dough from scratch with real butter. My go-to pie dough recipe comes courtesy of Gesine Bullock-Prado, which I can tell you works out perfectly. Its all about filling the molds just right, particularly the ears.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  • Using one-fourth of the total amount of pie dough at a time and leaving the rest to chill in the fridge, roll out the dough so that it is 1/4th-1/8th inch thick. Slice off a small strip with a sharp knife and lay it into the mold across both ears. Use you fingers to stuff the dough into the ear cavities so that both are completely full, connected by a “band” of thin dough between.
  • Cut the rest of the rolled dough into strips and line the inside of each mold, making sure the strips are long enough to overlap the sides. Don’t be gentle – press the layers down so that they fill all of the crevices and the dough joins smoothly.
  • Now, take about a tablespoon of the chilled filling and press that gently into the little pocket you’ve left open. Fold the strips of dough over the filling and pinch the edges to seal the seams.
  • Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F, then remove from the oven. The pastry will only be partially cooked through. Let the silicone mold cool enough to handle, then flip it over onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Carefully work the under-baked mouse from the mold, peeling the silicone back while you pull the head and ears out. If an ear comes loose, the dough will still be malleable enough that you can press it back on while keeping its shape.
  • Brush the uncovered mice with an egg wash – not only will it give them a nice golden color as they bake, it will also act like edible glue, holding everything together.
  • Bake the rest of the way through, for another 15-20 minutes.
Mouse mold with raw dough layered inside.

Pastry Mice Hand Pies with Pulled Pork

Stuffed with a sweet and savory filling of pulled pork and raisins, these adorable little pastry mice hand pies come straight from the pages of Dana Claire’s debut fantasy novel, The Reclaimed Kingdom.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Chill Time 1 hr
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, British
Servings 6 servings of 4 hand pies each

Ingredients
  

Pulled Pork Filling

  • 1 ½ – 2 pound boneless pork butt, cut into five or so manageable chunks
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup black currant jam
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 Batches All-Butter Pie Crust (enough for 2 double crusted pies), chilled
  • Egg Wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon water)
  • Optional: Sea salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, to decorate

Instructions
 

Make the Spice Rub:

  • Mix together 1 tablespoon brown sugar with the cumin, pepper, salt, cinnamon, and coriander.
  • Rub this mixture all over each of the chunks of pork butt so that each is completely coated on all sides.

Sear and Cook the Pork:

  • Heat the olive oil in the bowl of an Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker) set to the saute setting. Sear the pork chunks on all sides, about 5 minutes total (sear in batches if needed). This will caramelize the sugar and lend tastier flavors to the finished filling.
  • Turn off the saute setting and add the currant jam, cider vinegar, tomato paste, and water to the pot insert. Secure the lid and Pressure Cook on High for 30 minutes, then quick release the pressure.
  • Remove the chunks of pork to a plate, and turn the Instant Pot back to the saute setting. Simmer the resulting drippings and sauce until its reduced by half, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Shred the pork with forks when its cool enough to handle and set aside.

Mix and Chill the Filling:

  • Transfer the shredded pork to a container and mix in 1 cup of the reduced sauce and the raisins. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before using it to fill the pastries.
  • Chill the remaining sauce for serving or another use (it’s a great barbeque sauce!).

Fill the Pastry Mold:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Using one-fourth of the total amount of pie dough at a time, roll out the dough so that it is 1/4th-1/8th inch thick. Slice off a small strip with a sharp knife and lay it over the ears of the silicone mouse mold. Use you fingers to stuff the dough into the ear cavities so that both are completely full, connected by a “band” of thin dough between.
  • Cut the rest of the rolled dough into strips and line the inside of the mold, making sure the strips are long enough to overlap the sides. Don’t be gentle – press the layers down so that they fill all of the crevices and the dough joins smoothly.
  • Now, take about a tablespoon of the chilled filling and press that gently into the little pocket you’ve left open. Fold the strips of dough over the filling and pinch together to seal the seams.

Bake the Hand Pies

  • Bake for 20 minutes then remove from the oven. The pastry will only be partially cooked through. Let the silicone mold cool enough to handle, then flip it over onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Carefully work the under-baked mouse from the mold, peeling the silicone back while you pull the head and ears out. If an ear comes loose, the dough will still be malleable enough that you can press it back on while keeping its shape.
  • Brush the uncovered mice with an egg wash – not only will it give them a nice golden color as they bake, it will also act like edible glue, holding everything together.
  • Bake the rest of the way through, another 15-20 minutes minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 4 minutes. Plate and enjoy, serving the extra sauce on the side if you wish.
Keyword currant, hand pie, instant pot, pastry, pie, pork, raisin
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Tiny Pastry Mice Hand Pies with Pulled Pork and RaisinsTiny Pastry Mice Hand Pies with Pulled Pork and RaisinsTiny Pastry Mice Hand Pies with Pulled Pork and Raisins

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