Picnic days: Bacon and Egg Pie
Not so the traditional Kiwi Bacon and Egg Pie. For me, it’s a summertime classic that I always associate with warm, balmy days, the perfect thing for packing and taking on a long tramp (walk) in the Nelson Lakes or eating as a grab-and-go picnic lunch at the bach (holiday home). Or maybe it’s just that we’re always there in the glorious sunshine of a South Island summer.
This is a protein-packed meal in a slice: first sprinkle a layer of grated cheese on a shortcrust base, top with rashers of bacon and whole eggs – making sure you don’t break the yolks – add a scattering of chives, slices of ripe tomato and finish off with some more pastry.
The fact that it is a dry-ish pie makes it easier to transport to your special picnic location. In NZ, it is often eaten with tomato ketchup but my pick – whether the picnic is to be outdoor or in – would be some homemade chutney or pickle. If you’re orientated towards an at-home picnic, you could always have some salad leaves on the side although my Kiwi feels that the tomatoes and chives could be counted as vegetables enough.
In an attempt to capture a little of that summer feeling, if not the weather itself, here’s my latest attempt at mastering this Kiwi classic, with the best of Irish ingredients: some sweet, nutty Hegarty’s cheddar, slices of free range streaky bacon from Woodside Farm, chives picked by Little Missy and a few days’ worth of homegrown eggs from our hens. Picnic food gives me a picnic feeling – even if I end up having to eat it indoors.
Bacon and Egg Pie
This is a two stage process so make it easy on yourself and make the pastry a day ahead.
If you have access to fresh, un-hydrogenated lard (Oldfarm have just started packaging theirs in neat little tubs) you can use a mixture of lard and butter for the pastry. The amount of water that you’ll need seems to vary from day to day: the last time I made this, I used 110mls.
350g plain flour
175g cold butter, cut into small cubes
A squeeze of lemon juice
Between 60mls and 120mls chilled water
Combine the salt and flour in a large mixing bowl. Rub in the butter until it looks like rough breadcrumbs. Squeeze the lemon juice into the water, add about half to the bowl and mix gently. Add more water as necessary so that the pastry comes together.
Empty on to a floured work surface and gather together into a flat disc. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest for at least an hour, or overnight, in the fridge.
75g grated mature cheddar cheese
200g streaky bacon rashers, each cut into three pieces
Two handfuls of finely chopped chives
2 large tomatoes, preferably vine-ripened, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper, sea salt
Beaten egg for glazing
Preheat the oven to 210°C (200°C fanbake) and place a baking sheet on a shelf in the middle of the oven. Divide the pastry into two pieces, approximately 1 x 400g and 1 x 200g.
Roll out larger piece and use to line a 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Strew an even layer of cheese on the base, followed by the rashers. Carefully break each egg into the pastry case, trying to avoid breaking the yolks. Scatter with chives, top with tomato slices and season well.
Roll out the remainder of the pastry to carefully cover the pie, using the beaten egg to seal and glaze.
Cook on the hot baking sheet in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes until the pie is golden and cooked through. Allow to stand and cool for at least 30 minutes before removing the base.
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A bit cheeky: Beef Cheek, Mushroom and Red Wine Pie
Red wine instead of Guinness: Beef and Red Wine Pie
Eat Local Challenge: Spanakopita
Pies in New Zealand: Chicken and Mushroom Pie
The Boyfriend’s birthday dinner: Beef and Chorizo Pie