Rose Prince's Baking Club: potato, cheese and bacon pie

Date:04-09-2013 07:58:04 read:4

Rose Prince's Baking Club: potato, cheese and bacon pie

Our weekly column shows you the path to beautiful bread and perfect pastry. Today: a potato, cheese and bacon pie perfect for packing into lunch boxes.

Under wraps: pies are a tasty option instead of a packed lunch  Photo: Andrew Crowley

Just say “lunch box” and you’ll hear a sigh so deep it feels like I’ve exhaled from my boots upwards. If only, if only I had my time again I’d never, ever have indulged my children with a packed lunch. I know school food is not great, but it isn’t quite the tripe I was fed at school. Instead we sent our children to school with a picnic because they didn’t like the soggy chips or the dinner lady, or both.

But how to make a packed lunch better? Take out the biscuit and the child you collect that afternoon is a vampire, drained of blood sugars. Put humus in the sandwich and the peer group snigger about girls’ blouses. In short, my children’s most progressive years were fuelled by white carbs.

But these days I have a much better idea: a pie that can be eaten cold. Pasties and steak pie sadly cannot go in the box since they are nasty when cold; but a form of potato pie can. Such pies rank as galettes, enclosed with a layer of thin pastry. I fill them with (mainly) potato and a cheese that melts and cools well; try Cheshire or Emmental. You can add interchangeable ingredients to keep it interesting, such as bacon, roast tomato, sweet potato or squash.

Make a whole pie on Sunday and cut wedges each morning. Freeze uncooked pies so you can bake them for a new batch midweek. You can even put different additional ingredients in half or one-third of the pie.

Potato, cheese and bacon pie – the lunch box special

Makes 6-8 servings


One 30x30cm baking sheet

For the pastry

375g/13oz plain flour

250g/9oz slightly salted butter, cold from the fridge

150ml/5fl oz/ ¼ pint cold water

For the filling

1kg/2lb 2oz new potatoes, boiled in their skins

Six rashers rindless smoked bacon*

200g/7oz grated Emmental, Gruyère or Cheshire cheese

1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt and 2 tsp cold water

*Use dry cured bacon as it contains less salt

First make the pastry: put the flour in a bowl and grate the cold butter into it. Mix, then add the water and knead lightly on the work top until you have a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Slice the potatoes ½cm/¼in thick, and set to one side. Cook the bacon under the grill, or over a low heat, until crisp then drain on a cloth and chop into small pieces.

To assemble the pie, cut the pastry in half and reserve one piece for a second pie – it will keep two days in the fridge or two weeks in the freezer. Cut the second piece in half and roll into two rounds about 28cm/11in in diameter. The pastry will be thin, about ¼cm.

Place one of the pastry circles on a baking sheet or tin lined with baking parchment. Place a layer of potato on it leaving a good 2cm-3cm border, if not in a tin, around the edge. Then scatter a layer of cheese and chopped bacon. Top with another layer of potato, cheese and bacon and so on.

Paint the edges with egg wash, then lay the second circle of pastry on top. Press the edges together firmly and trim them. Make a hole in the centre of the top pie crust. Paint the whole thing with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes until the pastry is really golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on the tin. Allow to cool completely then cut slices. I like to store this pie in a cool rather than a cold place – in an airtight box.

Your letters

Rita Woodward points out something I was not aware of, that is important to people intolerant and especially allergic to gluten/wheat. “Unfortunately [in gluten-free baking] not just the flour needs to be gluten free but all the other ingredients, for instance baking powder,” she writes. You never know where gluten hides, she informed the Baking Club; it can be found in some glacé cherries and also in cake decorations. Rita Greer, our Baking Clubber, is the author of a book, due out in Sept, Simply Gluten Free (Souvenir, £9.99.)

You can see Rose on Sunday, Sept 8, at 11am, at Lyme Regis food festival in Dorset (Sept 7-8). The festival is run by popular local chef Mark Hix; all proceeds go to the RNLI. Book a ticket via Food Rocks.

    Ever For Health Copy Rights 2013