Something about this time of year— it seems like I’m all about comfort food. Recently I came across the ultimate in comfort food— bacon and egg pie. I mean, really, it’s got bacon, need I say more? Oh wait, it’s also a pie. No, not a quiche, a pie. With two crusts. My mother sent me an online article about her friend, Alison Holst, a famous New Zealand chef who’s penned something like 100 cookbooks and is New Zealand’s version of Julia Child. She’s even got Julia’s stature, voice and also warmth. Alison visited here a few years back and she is just lovely. So this article was how she came to make bacon and egg pies and it gave her recipe.
Now, if you’ve lived in (or even visited) England or a former British colony, you may have learned to love meat pies, fish and chips, sausage rolls and other foods that most foodies would turn their noses up at. But me, I love them all. They are comfort food and bring back such wonderful memories. Like when I lived in Wellington I used to go to brunch at the Brooklyn Deli (named for the area of Wellington not New York) and luurved their bacon and egg pie. Reading about the article made me remember those days. And it made me want a bacon and egg pie, so I printed the recipe and brought it to the kitchen.
I couldn’t believe it took me so many years to make this. The crust was super easy to make in the food processor. I made the crust and put the potatoes on the stove (on med-low) then dashed off to pick up my eldest from his school’s Kindness Klub (where they help raise money for charities, help fill food pantries, or create gifts for soldiers, etc). When I returned I rolled out the dough (which was chilling in the fridge while I ran to the school), cooked the bacon, sautéed the leeks and finished assembling the pie. (Leeks are my addition.)
Alison Holst’s Bacon and Egg Pie
1 1/4 cups of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 stick butter, chopped into pieces
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 cup cold milk
4-6 strips of lightly cooked bacon, chopped (nitrate and nitrite-free)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1-2 cups chopped cooked potatoes
6 large eggs
1 leek sliced, well rinsed and lightly sautéed (optional)
salt and pepper to taste (careful since bacon is salty)
Preheat oven to 390F. In food processor mix together the flour, baking powder, and cold butter until butter is at least pea-sized. Add vinegar to milk then drizzle both into top of processor while on. When it becomes one ball, stop and place in fridge to chill for 10 minutes. After, divide in two and roll out on well floured surface. Place bottom crust into pie plate. Spread with half to three quarters of the chopped bacon, peas, leeks and potato. Mix eggs in bowl with a fork until the yolks are broken, but the eggs look streaky. Pour about half the eggs over the mixture in the bowl, then add the remaining bacon, peas and potatoes, and dribble the rest of the egg over the top.
Moisten the edge of the pastry in the plate, then place the second pastry sheet on top of the filling, trimming the edges if necessary. Crimp the edges if you like. Make a slit in the top and brush the top with milk. Bake at 390F/200C for about 40 minutes.
Now, what really surprised me was my kids’ reactions. My eldest, of course, loved it. But my middle son said he hated it but still ate most of it. And my youngest refused to try it without coaxing and actually putting a tiny forkful to his mouth. He actually asked if he could just have his salad and skip the pie. Bacon. I reminded him that it was in there. Oh well, maybe you have to learn to like comfort foods or maybe what’s a comfort to you is poison to someone else. I even had some Wattie’s Tomato Sauce with mine (the NZ version of ketchup) like I was back at “varsity”. To me it’ll still remain a favorite. Now to tackle creating a mince pie— as long as I don’t start putting back the freshman fifteen.