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Homage to the Humble Homity Pie

Potatoes in any size, shape or form are part of our family’s staple diet. Perhaps it’s a genetic thing when you are part Irish. So, when a fellow friend and baker this week put her Homity pie making skills to the test, it was a no brainer that this was what I was going to cook for all you Esse lovers.

I grew up on Homity pies. They were a mandatory part of the picnic on our road trips across England to Ireland every summer.

We used to call our mum ‘Mrs Organic,’ as she cooked her way through the Cranks Cookbook, desperately trying to give us a wholesome diet without too many tears and tantrums.

At the time we hated wholemeal pastry, lentils, spinach, mushrooms, courgettes, fish and grains. These days I am fighting the same battles with my children, knowing that they will thank me later in life when they eat everything.


Serves 6

Shortcrust Pastry made with wholemeal flour

180g/6oz flour

90g / 3oz butter

1 tablespoon water

Pastry needs to be rolled and chilled in the tin.

Then bake blind at 180 for 10 minutes and without the baking beans for another 5 minutes. I am a great believer in baking blind even if it doesn’t mention it in a recipe. I hate soggy bottoms.

3 potatoes, peeled, halved and boiled

30g butter

3-4 tbsp milk or cream (I used 2 tbsp crème fraiche and 2 tablespoons milk)

450g / 1lb onions finely chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

2 tbsp chopped parsley or mix parsley, chives and thyme (I scattered thyme on top of the tomatoes)

120g of hard cheese (I mixed Cheddar, Comte and Gruyere)

Salt, pepper and two ripe tomatoes sliced for top of tart

Roll pastry thinly and line large tart case or 6 small ones. Bake Blind for 10 mins, then another 5 mins without beans.

Finely chop the onions and garlic and saute in the olive oil slowly in a frying pan on a low heat. If they need a little water towards the end to keep softening add a tablespoon. Boil the potatoes until cooked. Drain and leave to steam for a little. Mash them with the butter and milk / crème fraiche. Add the onions and herbs and half of the grated cheese to the mashed potatoes. Season well.

Leave to mash to cool to tepid. Pop into the tart case and smooth. Sprinkle on the remainder of the cheese. Top with the sliced tomatoes and thyme. Bake for 20 minutes until gratineed and bubbling. Leave to cool and serve with a green salad, or wrap and take on your picnic.

POTATO PETE was one of the cartoon characters encouraging people to eat potatoes during the War. His recipes appeared on many recipe leaflets and in WWII cookbooks. Research shows that children get more vitamin C, B1 and B6, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Potassium from potatoes than from a bunch of superfood vegetables. Potatoes are grown on home turf, encouraging the people to use homegrown vegetables in the Dig For Victory campaign that


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