Leeks are a fabulous vegetable that is part of the onion family, popular in Ancient Egypt, Rome and Mesopotamia. They’re one of the National emblems of Wales, and it turns out they make a darn good pie. I’ve been going for sweet the last few Sundays, but baking can also be savoury!
This week’s recipe comes from the 1963 of the British compilation cookbook Farmhouse Fare, which contains all recipes that had been published in the earlier editions of the book, which was so popular in England that it sold out each time it was printed in 1935, 1946 and 1947. Containing recipes from farmhouse kitchens across the UK, former editor Mary Day wrote that “there could be no more eloquent tribute to the traditional cookery of our own country”.
Kiwi leeks are enormous, but not as large as the quantity requested in the recipe – naively, I thought one big leek would be enough, but that only was a pound’s worth. In sheer laziness I added a big onion to the pot to boil, as they are from the same family. I also doubled the amount of egg and cream, making something not quite what Mrs Tremayne did, but a delicious pie nonetheless that’s perfect for lunch or a light supper.
I did make a seconf version of the leek pie following the recipe, but it actually was’t as good as the version in the book – a little too leeky, and not as complex. This is the version I recommend:
- 400-500 g Leek
- 200g onion
- 225g cream
- 100g sweet-cure bacon
- 4 large eggs
Chop the leeks into half-rounds about 2cm wide, and roughly chop the onion. Boil until tender, which will take less than 5 minutes. Drain the veg, and leave it to cool. Whisk together the cream and eggs, add the chopped bacon and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Once the leek is cool enough to touch, mix it in with the egg mixture in a pie dish. Top with some shortcrust pastry – I used this recipe from the BBC – brush with milk, and bake at 180° Celsius for about half an hour to 40 minutes.
The pie will puff up during baking, bulging and bronze in the oven. Leave it to cool a little before serving. We also found it was excellent for lunch or even as a hurried breakfast in the days that followed, and was particularly good with a dollop of chutney on the side.