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Historical recipe: Second World War staple Homity pie

  • Difficulty 3/10

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.

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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.

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Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 6oz flour
  • 3oz butter or margarine

For the filling

  • 4–5 medium potatoes
  • 2–3 medium leeks
  • 1 eating-apple, cored and chopped into small cubes
  • 6oz cheese
  • 3oz butter or margarine, plus more for frying
  • Fresh or dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 egg

Method

  • Step 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.

  • Step 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.

  • Step 3

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

  • Step 4

    Chop the leeks and fry them along with the garlic in butter/margarine until tender. Add the apple and thyme.

  • Step 5

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

  • Step 6

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

  • Step 7

    Bake at 220°C/gas mark 7 until the top is browned.

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