I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: picnics are all about food you can pick up and eat with your fingers. And that, ladies and jellybeans, means pies. Well, not always, but you’d be mad not to. Unless you’re gluten intolerant, in which case there’s nothing for you here. LOOK AWAY NOW.
If, however, buttery crispy flaky golden deliciousness holds no fears for you, check this out.
The recipe is from Annabel Langbein’s Free Range Cook, in which she says her hubby proposed after she fed him this very pie. I’m not sure it’d make me drop to one knee, but it was indeed good. It even got the thumbs up from four-year-old Alice, despite her suspicion at the “green bits”.
This does all the things you want picnic food to do: it tastes good; you can ditch the plates and cutlery; and it travels well – so it still looks damned impressive when it’s been carried about a wildlife sanctuary for three hours in the bottom of your bag.
Even better, you don’t need even have to make the pastry; a packet of the frozen stuff is just fine. This gladdens my heart because I’m a crappy pastry maker. My hands are too warm. But that’s all right. Because it means they’re great for bread. And lessens the necessity for extra layers in winter, or having to carry a hot baked potato around in my pocket all day.
Bacon and Egg Pie
3 sheets (450g) ready-rolled savoury shortcrust pastry
250g streaky bacon, cut into 2cm pieces
2 medium potatoes, peeled, cooked and thinly sliced
3 tbsp soft herbs (eg parsley, basil, chives or spring onion tops), chopped
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 200C. Place a flat baking tray in the oven to heat – the pie will sit on this, and the heat will help it to crisp.
Cut a piece of baking paper to fit a 40 x 30cm baking dish or roasting pan. It should cover the base and reach about 3-4cm up the sides.
Remove the baking paper from the baking dish or roasting pan and lay it flat on your bench. Dust it with a little flour and lay 2 pastry sheets on top. Join the pastry sheets by pressing them together firmly with a small overlap. Roll out the pastry to thinly cover the paper. Lift the paper with the pastry and lay into the baking dish or roasting pan, covering the base and 3-4cm up the sides.
Sprinkle the bacon over the pastry. Top with the slices of potato and sprinkle with the herbs. Break 8 whole eggs over the top.
In a mixing bowl, lightly whisk the remaining 6 eggs with the milk, salt and pepper. Pour this evenly over the whole eggs.
Roll out the remaining sheet of pastry very thinly and cut it into narrow strips. Arrange the strips in a lattice pattern on top of the pie, trimming off any excess.
Place the prepared pie on top of the heated baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes until the pastry is starting to puff and turn golden. Reduce the heat to 180C and bake until the pastry is golden and cooked through on the base (this should take a further 35-40 minutes).
*If you like the look of this, visit the Annabel Langbein website for all sorts of yumminess, recipes and video treats.