Sam’s historical recipe corner: Homity pie

It's pastry week on tonight's Great British Bake OffHere, we take a step back in time and recreate a delightful historical pastry-based recipe for you to try at home...


In every issue of BBC History Magazine, picture editor Sam Nott brings you a recipe from the past. In this article, Sam recreates homity pie – a hearty, vegetarian dish popular during the Second World War.


We don’t know where the name for homity pie originates from but the dish was popular with land girls during the Second World War. As well as unrationed items, the recipe also includes rationed foods like cheese, eggs and butter – the original recipe would have used these frugally. Nowadays we don’t have to be so sparing with the cheese and butter, which only make it even tastier.


• 4–5 medium potatoes

• 2–3 medium leeks

• 1 eating-apple, cored and chopped into small cubes

• 2 cloves garlic (chopped finely)

• 1 egg

• 3oz butter or margarine, plus more for frying

• 6oz cheese 

• fresh or dried thyme 

• salt and pepper (to taste)

• shortcrust pastry made with 6oz flour and 3oz butter or margarine


1) Make the shortcrust pastry using plain flour and 3oz butter/margarine. Rub the latter into the flour to make breadcrumbs and bind together with some water to make a pliable dough.

2) Roll the dough into a greased pie dish and blind bake in the oven at 200°C/gas mark 6, for about 10 mins.

3) Chop potatoes into small cubes (skins on) and simmer in boiling water until tender.

4) Fry chopped leeks and garlic in butter/margarine until tender. Add apple and thyme.

5) Drain potatoes and add to leeks. Stir in one whisked egg, more butter/margarine and 2oz of grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

6) Fill the pie dish with the mixture and add 4oz of grated cheese on top.

7) Cook in an oven at 220°C/gas mark 7 until the top is browned.

8) Leave to cool before eating.

Difficulty: 3/10

BBC History Magazine verdict: “Wholesome and delicious”.

Recipe courtesy of The 1940’s Experiment.


This article was first published in the March 2015 issue of BBC History Magazine