Sometimes when you try to describe how to do something, it just doesn’t translate well and the action must be seen to be understood. That is where I am with the description Maggie gives us of how to place the pie crust over this meat pie and further with the leaves. Hopefully it made sense to her and she was able to duplicate the pie to great success in her own kitchen. Recently, we started watching Downton Abbey and I do so wonder if Maggie Ritchey was training to work in a kitchen such as that – large with many layers of staff and propriety – or if she was just learning home economics for a large family. I will never know.
Take a rabbit, cut it up into neat joints & wipe the joints. Lay some of these into a pie dish. Sprinkle over these some pepper & salt, a little chopped parsley, then some very thin slices of bacon rolled, some more rabbit & so on until the dish is full. A squeeze of lemon juice & a tiny grate of nutmeg, enough cold water or stock to fill the dish. If light, a couple of hard boiled eggs cut in quarters may be added. Roll out the pastry, to about 1/2 an inch in thickness & turn it so as to get it to a square. Wet round the edges of the dish, cut off a strip from the pastry & lay it round the edge of the dish with the rough edge in & well lapped across. Wet this piece of pastry all round & cover it with the rest of the paste & take care to press the edges well together. Nick them round with the back of a knife & make a large hole in the centre, cut out some strips from the trimmings of pastry & make some leaves by taking a straight strip an inch & 1/2 wide, placing your knife across it & taking from it a diamond, then mark it down the centre, with the back of a knife, so as to vein it. Brush the pie over with a well beaten egg. Place in the oven & bake for about 1 3/4 hours, taking care to change the pie to a cooler part of the oven so as to thoroughly cook the meat.