Friday 20 May 2016

Homity Pie (potato, onion and cheese pie)

When I landed in London for the first time 20 years ago, I remember the joy of the wholesome vegetarian meals offered at Cranks Covent Garden restaurant.  I can only remember eating the sausage rolls there but I wanted to eat it all.  As a vegetarian, it was a wonderful place to discover.  It still pains me to think that this Covent Garden shop is no longer there, even if I too have not been in London for a long time.

Homity pie is one of those classic old-school 1970s vegetarian recipes I have always meant to try.  Choclette mentioned it in her memories of Cranks recently.  Suddenly I had a hankering.  And there were potatoes needing to be used.  Plus one last lonely egg and some gouda cheese in the fridge.

Lately life has been busy and I haven't been cooking or cleaning as much as I would like.  If I have spare time it is one or the other.  Usually cooking takes priority.  So I was pleased when baking these pies (and a cake) that a visiting neighbour commented on how cosy the house was.  It made me think perhaps I can get away with a bit more mess if the house has the homely smells of cooking.

I kept the pies simple so they might appeal to Sylvia.  No seeds or smoked paprika or herbs.   Sylvia has not been terribly adventurous in her eating with all the upheaval earlier this year.  But as things calm down, I am pushing her to try new foods a bit more.  Firstly was a homity pie.  Just a few mouthfuls.  She picked it apart until there was a mess on her plate and not much eaten.  She had a meltdown over the onion.  I was tempted to finish her dinner there and then.  But I breathed deeply and took her to her room to calm.  When she came back she ate most of half a small pie.  It did help having cake for dessert!  She has also eaten small amounts of roast pumpkin and kale salad this week!

I used vegan margarine but happened to have an egg to use for the shortcrust pastry.  However as I don't always have eggs in the house I had a look for an egg-free alternative.  The best vegan shortcrust pastry I found on my blog was this one but I think I would just try the one below with 3 tablespoons aquafaba instead of the egg.  In fact if you did this and used biocheese or daiya instead of gouda, you could easily veganise this recipe.

I don't make a lot of pastry and tarts.  So it was the first time I used some cute heart shaped tart tins I bought last year.  I was also able to use some smaller tins that had belonged to my grandmother.  The pies were a bit small for one serve with a kale salad but two seemed a lot.  Probably another salad would have done the trick.  That would be in the spirit of Cranks. 

Update: Quite a few people in the comments said they had not heard of or had Homity Pie.  I checked Wikipedia where it says that Cranks actually popularised the pie.

I am sending these pies to Meat Free Mondays, FoodYearLinkUp (for UK National Vegetarian Week which is this week) and Treat Petite (picnic food).

More Savoury Pies on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Eccles cakes with leeks, spinach and blue cheese (v)
Festive Mushroom Pie  
Samosa Pie (v)
Spaghetti pie (v)
Spinach and ricotta pie with filo roses
Stargazy Pie (v)
Will's farmhouse (mini) pies

Homity Pie 
Adapted from Cranks and The Hairy Bikers
Serves 4-8

125g/4oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling
125g/4oz wholemeal flour
150g/5oz butter
1 free-range egg, beaten

400g potatoes (about 4-5 small), chopped
3 tbsp oil
450g onions (about 6 small), chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100g cheese, grated (I used gouda)
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp ground pepper, or to taste

Make pastry.  Rub butter into flours and then mix in egg.  This is so much easier in the food processor.  Knead briefly to form a round, wrap in clingfilm and refridgerate for about 30 minutes.

Make the filling.  Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes or until cooked.  Gently fry the onions in oil for about 30 minutes until quite soft.  Stir in garlic and remove from heat.  Mix with potatoes, half the cheese, salt and pepper.  Don't worry if some potatoes collapse but they don't need to be mashed.  Check and adjust seasonings.  Set aside to cool while lining the tins with pastry.

Assemble pies.   I used 8 pie dishes and divided the dough among them.  Then I pushed it into the tins.  (I greased four of the old tins but did not grease the four larger non stick tins.)  Divide the filling among the tin and sprinkle with remaining grated cheese.  Bake at 220 C for 20 minutes.  Eat hot, warm or room temperature.

On the stereo:
In the Wee Small Hours: Frank Sinatra


  1. HI Johanna:)
    I have never heard of this pie before but it sure does have the makings of tasty goodness!

    Children do seem to get all out of whack when their surroundings change. I'm sure Sylvia will soon be back into the groove of things. It's great that she came back after calming down to eat at least half the pie.

    I really don't know how you keep up with all that you do. It is always nice when kind words are given when someone enters your home and finds you baking:) You even went a step further and made individual cute pies. I would probably "dump" everything into one pastry shell and hope for the best, lol...

    Thank you so much for sharing, Johanna...

    1. Thanks Louise - people always say how good routine is for kids but it is just startling how much easier life is with sylvia now things have settled down - the individual pies seemed easier to serve than messy slices of a big pie - though I think sometimes it is one large one

  2. It must be quite trying with Sylvia's food habits. I wonder what the trick is with kids and eating? Although I think if anyone had that figured out then they would be a genius! :)

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I am reading a book that had a great line that those whose kids sleep easily think they have done everything right and if everyone did it that would be fine but really all kids are different. The reality is that different things work for different kids and sometimes getting kids to eat well seems 99% perseverance and 1% luch :-)

  3. I just bought a big bag of baby potatoes on a whim this afternoon. Now I know exactly what I'm going to do with them!

  4. When I read your post title I remembered hearing of homity pie but didn't remember what went in it. Thanks for reminding me - I don't think I've ever had it but it clearly is one of those classic vegetarian dishes that I'd heard of if not eaten.

    1. Thanks Kari - I get homity pie and hunza pie confused - love the cute names but they don't help remember what is in them

  5. I have actually never tried a homity pie, which is quite embarassing for me, but these look absolutely lovely. They will go on my long to-do list.

    1. Thanks VegHog - I think it is a common combination so we have probably all had it in some form if not in homity pie

  6. I have never heard of homity pie but it sounds quite nice. Glad that Sylvia tried some in the end.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - it is the sort of thing I would see in old fashioned veg cafes and cookbooks but not sure I have had one before

  7. This sounds really yummy, definitely something I'd enjoy. I love your heart tins too, I've been really tempted to get some, but I've resisted so far as my kitchen is already overflowing with bits and pieces!

    Thanks for joining #FoodYearLinkup I hope to see you there again soon xx

    1. Thanks Charlotte - I probably didn't need the heart tins as I do so few pies but sometimes shopping with kids just encourages whimsical purchases :-)

  8. This sounds lovely, perfect for colder weather. I admit to having heard of homity pie but had no idea of the contents so thank you for enlightening me.

    1. Thanks Lisa - I had thought it had spinach in it so was not that clear on the contents either

  9. These sound so tasty, cheese and onion is my favourite pie filling and I'm loving the addition of potato too. Thanks for entering into Treat Petite!

    1. Thanks Kat - it is comfort in a pie isn't it!

  10. Homity Pie is one of my all time favourites. I agree it is so yum. I have been making it for about 25 years and put a GF version on the blog a couple of years ago. I always like to make it with left over baked potatoes. The skin crisps up nicely and adds a lovely extra texture! x


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