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Homity Pie

Introduction & method

During the Second World War, food, and especially meat, was rationed in the UK. People were encouraged to grow their own vegetables in their gardens or allotments, and homity pie is a recipe that emerged at that time. The veggies - leeks, potatoes, onions - are very easy to grow in the British climate. After the war, homity pie kind of faded away, but re-emerged as a staple on the menu of Cranks Vegetarian Restaurant in London in the Sixties. It's a really tasty dish, and quite easy to make. 

Homity Pie Recipe

Make the Pastry

We'll be using a wholemeal shortcrust pastry for this. All you need to do is mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl, and rub in the butter with your fingertips. The mixture should look like breadcrumbs - don't make them too fine. Stir in half the water and when that's incorporated, add the rest. When the dough comes together, wrap it in plastic film and pop it in the fridge to rest for at least 20 minutes.

Prep the Filling

Peel and slice your potatoes. The slices should be about 8mm (one third of an inch) thick. If your potatoes are large, you'll want to cut them down - your slices of potato should be about bite-sized. Pop then into a pan of boiling water and simmer for 5-10 minutes until they are soft but not falling apart. Drain them and let them sit in a bowl of cold water until you need them. Chop the onions and leeks quite small and sauté them together in oil and butter until they are softened and browned a bit. Now add the drained potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Grate the cheese and add half of it to the pan along with a splash of milk and the parsley and thyme. Cook it for a few minutes, taste it, and add salt if necessary. Remove from heat.

Make the Pastry Case

The pastry case needs to be blind-baked (i.e. cooked without any filling) to avoid getting a soggy bottom. Preheat your oven to 170°C (338°F) for a fan/convection oven, 190°C (374°F) conventional, gas 5. You'll need a flan dish, ideally with a removable bottom. Mine is 23cm (9 inches) diameter. Sprinkle the inside generously with flour. Sprinkle flour on your worktop and rolling pin and roll out the pastry into a thin disc. Roll the pastry around your rolling pin, then unroll it over the flan dish. Use a blob of spare dough to press the pastry into the edges of the tin. Trim off excess pastry, but leave a margin of about 12mm (half an inch) all round. Scrunch up a sheet of greaseproof paper and line the pastry with it. Now you need to fill it with something that will weigh the pastry down - dried beans are good, but I keep a jar of rice especially for this purpose. Put the pastry into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Take it out, remove the paper and rice or beans, and stab the bottom of the pastry case all over with a fork. Put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Take it out of the oven, trim the edge of the pastry tight against the rim of the dish and let it cool in the tin for a few minutes before you add the filling.

Assemble and Bake the Pie

Preheat the oven to 200°C (392°F) for a fan/convection oven, 220°C (428°F) conventional, gas 7. Spread the filling in an even layer in the pastry case and sprinkle the remaining cheese on it. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and when it's cool enough to handle, remove the pie from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool. Homity pie can be eaten hot or cold.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Homity Pie on YouTube.

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Ingredients & Info

 250 grams wholemeal flour
 125 grams butter
 100 ml water
 a pinch of salt
 450 grams potato
 1 leek
 1 medium onion
 125 grams mature cheddar
 a splash of milk
 1 tsp parsley
 half a tsp thyme


A large knob of butter and the same amount of oil for sautéeing.

US Customary/Imperial

Serves 4 -6
Prep time: 20 minutes.
Pastry resting time: 20 minutes.
Cooking time: 50 minutes.
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes.