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Lancashire Butter Pie

Introduction & method

These pies have been made in Lancashire (especially Preston/Chorley/Wigan) for centuries as a response to the ban on meat-eating on Fridays by the Catholic church. The pies were known as Friday pies or Catholic pies. If you want to make vegetarian versions of this, omit the lard from the pastry and add more butter.

Lancashire Butter Pie Recipe

Make the Pastry

Butter pies use a simple shortcrust pastry. Mix the salt into the flour. Cut the fats into small pieces and rub them into the flour with your fingertips. When you have a mixture that looks like breadcrumbs, mix in some cold water, a few tablespoons at a time. Be very careful not to add too much water - you only want enough so that it brings the dough together in a ball. Cover the pastry and rest in the fridge for half an hour.

Prep the Fillings

Peel the potatoes and cut them into slices about 5-6mm thick (quarter of an inch). Place the potato slices into a pot of boiling salted water - let them cook for about 10 minutes until just tender. Don't overcook them, they should hold their shape. Drain them and set them aside to cool. Top, tail and peel the onion. Cut it in half vertically (pole to pole, not equatorially). Slice into half-moons 3-4mm thick (just over one-eighth of an inch). Melt 100 grams of the butter in a frying pan. Gently cook the onion - you want it nice and soft, but not browned - this will take 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Assemble and Bake the Pies

Preheat your oven to 160°C (32°F) for a fan oven, 180°C (356°F) for a conventional one, gas 4. If making individual pies, you want dishes about 10cm (4 inches) diameter. Roll out just under half of the pastry on a floured worktop and use a pie dish to cut 4 discs of pastry to be the lids. Roll the pastry trimmings together with the remaining pastry, cut it into quarters and press each quarter into a pie dish. Make sure you have plenty of flour on the side of the pastry that's in contact with the dish.Fill each dish with layers of potato, onion, salt and pepper and flakes of butter - you should be able to do 2 sets of those layers and then a final layer of potato on top. Moisten the edge of the pie base with cold water. Cut a teardrop-shaped hole in the pastry lid and press it down onto the base. Press the lid down all around with your thumbs, then press around the edge with the tines of a fork. Paint the tops all over with beaten egg. Bake the pies for 30-35 minutes until the tops are golden-brown.

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


Ingredients & Info

 225 grams plain (all-purpose) flour
 50 grams butter
 50 grams lard
 1 tsp salt
 a few tbsp water
 3 large potatoes
 1 large onion
 150 grams butter
 to taste salt & white pepper


1 beaten egg to glaze the pies

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 4 individual pies
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 40 minutes.
Total time: 50 minutes.