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Monday 31 May 2010

Pie of the Month - May

I swore when making this here pie that I would never attempt pastry again.

No, that's not a positive way in to this, but it is the truth. I think that making pastry on a baking hot day is anyway only mere steps away from full-blown madness, but I had to otherwise we'd have no pie for May. In addition to the heat, the phone would NOT STOP ringing. Sales calls. Recorded messages. The lot. I thought I was going to have to kill myself when I came back after the last call I bothered to answer (stopping to wipe my hands and de-flour and butter myself, as I had done for each and every one of the other calls) to find that my second batch of pastry (for the pie lid) had dried out in the heat and would not roll out.

Stress pie!

But I didn't. I just ran out to the Co-Op and bought a sheet of puff pastry. I wasn't about to make more of my own shortcrust - far too frustrated for that.

Anyway, this month's pie is a butter pie, special delicacy of the North West of England. Not the bit that I am actually from, but the bit slightly further up where my family had the greengrocers. It's a butter pie!

Butter pie is basically just buttered potatoes and onions baked in pastry. Yup. That's it. I know how that sounds, but just think about how good tortilla is for it's simple savoury goodness, and you're there.

Wikipedia tells us that:

The butter pie is thought to have been created for workers from Lancashire's Catholic community, to consume on days (mainly Friday) when meat could not be eaten. To older generations, they are sometimes known as 'Catholic pies' or 'Friday pies'.

I have never heard them called either of those things, but thankfully, I am not yet a member of 'the older generation'. I've also never seen them served 'on a barm cake', but that would be something special!

Yeah, I've gone white trash now. I keep Trex in the fridge...

I made this recipe up, and I think anyone making a butter pie would just use whatever quantities fit their dishes. I think if I made it again though, I wouldn't bother making the pastry, as although it's traditional to make it with shortcrust, the puff was lovely. And obviously, nobody ever makes that themselves.

Apologies for the poor quality photos. I was stressed in the kitchen for this!

Ee up duck, let's gerron wit' recipe.

Butter Pie

You will need:

shortcrust pastry made with half butter/half Trex or lard (for a short crust, aptly enough), or use bought puff pastry
1 onion
salt and pepper

  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks. Boil until just soft; drain.
  2. Fry the chopped onion in plenty of butter. Go slowly, and don't let it brown.
  3. Line a pie dish with pastry.
  4. Layer the potatoes and onions in the lined pie dish. Add LOTS of salt and pepper, and dot with more butter. Be generous.
  5. Use the leftover pastry to make a pie lid. Bake in a 200°C oven until browned and piping hot throughout. Mine took about 45 minutes.
  6. Serve hot or cold, in generous slices.


  1. If that ever happens to you again (dried out dough) spritz it with water on both sides. Let it sit a minute then kind of scootch it into itself, wrap it in plastic, put it in the fridge for 10 minutes and you'll be good to go. Just roll it out normally.

  2. WHERE oh WHERE is this magical co-op you speak of?! a co-op that actually has something in stock when you need it? preposterous suggestion!! i refuse to believe that you went to a co-op and actually came out of it with the thing that you went in for.

    (^hates her local co-op for never being well-stocked.)

    niiiiiiice pie! definitely going to try this one. :-D

  3. Lovely! Can't wait to bake one of my own – unfortunately the weather s already very hot here in Italy, so I'll have to wait until autumn...

  4. Nyom nyom, it was lovely the day after. Heated up and covered in ketchup. Classy I know.
    R x

  5. Nifty - I assure you, this was the only time that Co-Op has ever provided, and in fairness, I wanted shortcrust, not puff. I hate Co-Op too. Poorly stocked, and staff that have no idea about customer service!

  6. Love this, but love your Northern accent better. Haha, takes me back to my roots! Although, every day is a meatless day for me. This looks nomm regardless of the pastry. When it comes to pastry (unless it's specifically one I know how to make- Like samosa pastry) I keep well away. Store bought is my saviour.

  7. Hey Peter....this pie looks so delicuous!!!!! I will try it!!!


That's what he said.

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