In his online summer series Joseph Beaumont revisits some of his favourite recipes and provides hints and tips plus suggestions for the odd tipple to make them even more enjoyable.
As a child I loved family picnics. Every so often we’d set off in the old blue Dodge – four kids in the back and not a seatbelt between us – to a destination that was different every time but not a million miles from home.
On one such occasion, when my sister was about 15 months old, Mum was setting out the food on the tartan rug when the curly-haired one suddenly upped and tottered across the egg and bacon pie. We could only gape as her dainty feet dented the plat du jour.
Beaming, she turned and did it again. Well, we demolished that pie, including the dimpled bits.
Besides using shortcrust pastry rather than puff, my mother always sprinkled the bottom layer of bacon with fresh thyme and broke the eggs whole. More thyme mingled with the last lot of bacon, adding flavour to the pastry top.
She also used a shallow tin, resulting in a pie that resembled a sandwich with a thick, luscious filling. In my book, that’s ten out of ten.
*Serve warm or cold for brunch and lunch, or straight from the oven for dinner.
*For a more “layered” pie, pierce the yolks after slipping the eggs into the pastry case.
*Chilling the pastry in the refrigerator beforehand helps avoid shrinkage during cooking.
*As well as thyme, eggs and bacon love parsley and chives, so use them instead if you like.
In picnic mode I would opt for dryish cider. Pleasantly rustic and fruity, it’s the “apple and pork” thing.
If serving the pie at a brunch or lunch, rosé is a good choice. This traditional summer-lunch wine goes splendidly with non-spicy pork and ham dishes.
Most whites – except a flinty chablis – will do fine. Gewurtztraminer or riesling are particularly suitable.
EGG AND BACON PIE
1 pkt savoury shortcrust pastry
8 rashers streaky bacon, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg for wash
Set oven to 190 degrees Celsius and place a baking sheet centre oven.
While oven is heating, line a 22cm loose-bottomed flan tin with rolled out pastry and chill for 20 minutes.
Roll out enough pastry to make a lid and chill likewise.
Lightly fry bacon. Scatter two-thirds of it over the base, then half the thyme.
Break eggs, one by one, into a cup and carefully slip them over the bacon.
Season and add rest of thyme.
Add remaining bacon and cover with pastry lid.
Let pastry settle over the eggs, seal the edges with finger and thumb then trim with a knife.
Whisk single egg with a pinch of salt and brush over pie top.
Prick top here and there (but not over yolks) with a fork.
Place tin on heated baking tray and bake for 35-40 minutes or until top is a rich gold.
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