The Homity Pie Story:
We discovered this most satisfying dish in the Treasurer’s House Café in York, England. We’ve recently learned that the recipe was the creation of English Girl Guides (the Girl Scouts of England) who came up with the recipe during World War II rationing. They might not have used butter in their pastry, as butter was rationed to just half a stick per person every four weeks. Cheese was rationed at 2-8 oz per person every four weeks. When we eat homity pie in our Los Angeles kitchen, it immediately takes us back to the cozy basement café at the Treasurer’s House, which sits in the shadows of York Minster. My ancestors, Francis and Sarah Elwess, who were farmers, emigrated from Yorkshire to the United States in 1857.
Homity Pie Recipe
Place a whole-wheat pastry (see recipe below) in the bottom of a pastry pan
Boil a pound of unpeeled baby red potatoes (or can substitute or combine with peeled sweet potatoes)
After cooked, let cool
In a frying pan or iron skillet, gently heat up olive oil and a spoon of good salted butter until golden brown, then
one large or two small onions, chopped up
4-5 garlic gloves minced
When lightly browned, add a spoon of onion marmalade (I use Stonewall Kitchen’s Roasted Onion Garlic Jam)
In the meantime:
Slice very thin or shred some good white cheddar cheese. We use half a package of Collier’s (a Welsh cheddar)
Chop up ¼ cup of fresh parsley
Now cut up potatoes in small chunks
Once onion and garlic mixture is nicely browned, Layer Potatoes, Onion Mixture, and Parsley in pastry shell
Place slices of cheese on top.
Bake at 400 degress for 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degress and bake for 30 minutes longer, until pastry and cheese are golden brown.
Let cool a bit and then serve in slices. It is also delicious served cold in lunchboxes.
P.S. Recently, I added about a cup of cooked lentils to the potato mixture and it was delicious.
Whole –wheat pastry:
1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (a few spoons of ground flaxseed adds delicious flavor & texture)
pinch of salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened
4 tablespoons or so of cold water
Use food processor or pastry blender to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal or very tiny peas. Sprinkle water over the flour and mix lightly with a fork, using only enough water to allow you to gently form pastry into a ball. You can wrap the ball in parchment or baggy and store in the refrigerator while you prepare the other ingredients. Or you may store for a few days until you are ready to assemble your pie. You will then roll out the pastry onto a floured surface (we like to roll pastry out on parchment paper). Then place in a tart pan to await the delicious filling.