Made with a regional cheese, this humble and homely Lancashire cheese and onion plate pie, is full of flavour and comfort.
What can be better homecooked food than a pie? Even a simple pie like this Lancashire cheese and potato pie, knocks socks off any ready bought pie and this one is packed with flavour from the delicious lancashire cheese, it's cheap and economical too so makes a great mid-week meal.
I recently saw a discussion online about what makes a pie a pie. The original poster asking is it a pie if it doesn't have a pastry base and lid? Should it be called pot pie if it only has a pastry lid?
Then again there are dishes such as lemon meringue or banoffee pie that are called pie and well aren't in the sense of what most people think are pies at least here in the UK.
I know when I think of pie the first thing that pops into my mind is a dish with a sweet or savoury filling between two layers of pastry. Only after that do the other forms of pie spring to mind.
I find deep pies can be quite tricky to make with a pastry top and bottom although I do have a couple of old enamel pie dishes that produce quite a good result. They also take rather a lot of filling.
A plate pie is a great compromise. The shallower depth of a pie plate makes it easier to line with pastry. Don't worry, there is still plenty of filling between the pastry layers.
As the name suggests it is a pie that has been made in a pie plate. It can be any ovenproof plate so long as it has a bit of a bowl and is not completely flat. Pyrex casserole lids can make a great pie plate.
Cheese and onion pie is a classic English pie. You can use different cheeses - cheddar is a popular choice but I have found that the cooked onions are just divine when teamed with a lovely tangy and crumbly cheese such as Lancashire.
As someone who loves to shop and buy local produce whenever I can, If you like this pie then I encourage you to also try making it with a cheese local to you.
A few potatoes complete the filling for this traditional pie.
Traditionally savoury shortcrust pastry is made with with a 50/50 mixture of butter and lard. The lard gives the pastry a lovely crumbly short texture. But if you want this to be vegetarian you will need to either use all butter or a white vegetable fat in place of the lard.
And if time is short (excuse the pun then you could always use a shop-bought, ready-made shortcrust pastry).
Either way, this traditional pie is just perfect for colder days when comfort food is the order of the day.
For tips on making short crust pastry read How to Make Short Crust Pastry .
More Vegetarian Pie Recipes To Try
Lancashire Cheese and Onion Plate Pie Step by step
Lancashire Cheese and Onion Plate Pie
For the Filling
- 200 g (7oz) potatoes (about 2 medium potataoes)
- 1-2 red onions
- knob of butter
- 2 tsp olive or rapeseed oil
- 175 g (6oz) Lancashire cheese
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Pastry
- 225 g (8oz) plain flour plus extra for rolling
- 50 g (2oz) butter chilled cut into cubes
- 50 g (2oz) lard or white vegetable fat cut into cubes
- 3 - 5 tbsp cold water
- milk for glazing
- 20cm (8in) pie plate
- Rolling Pin
- Peel 200g (7oz) potatoes and cut into 2cm (1in) cubes. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil. Salt the water and cook the potatoes gently for about 10 minutes or until there is no resistance when a sharp knife is inserted. Strain the potatoes and set aside to cool.
- Thinly slice 1-2 red onions. Place a knob of butter and 2 tsp of oil into the frying pan and set over a medium heat. Add the sliced onions to the frying pan. Reduce the heat and cook the onions slowly until translucent and soft about 15 minutes. Once cooked tip onto a sheet of kitchen roll to absorb the excess oil.
- Meanwhile, make the pastry. Place the 225g (8oz)flour, 50g (2oz) butter and 50g (2oz) lard or vegetable fat into bowl and rub in the fat with your finger tips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
- Make a well in the centre and add the water, a little at a time. Using a rounded pallet knife, or similar, cut through the mixture to make a dough. You may not need all of the water. Bring the dough together with your hands and shape into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap in cling film and place into the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
- Preheat the oven to 200℃ (180℃ fan)/400°F/gas mark 6.
- Cut the pastry into two equal pieces and roll out one piece and use to line the base of the pie plate. Roll out the remaining pastry for the pie lid.
- Combine the cooked potatoes with the onions and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Grate 175g (6oz) Lancashire cheese and place half of the grated cheese into the pastry case. Add the potato and onion mixture. Top with the remaining cheese.
- Using a pastry brush, paint the edge of the pastry with a little milk. Use a rolling pin to lift the rolled out pastry and lay over the filled pie plate. gently press the edges together to seal and trim away the excess pastry. Brush the top with a little milk and cut a small slit in the middle to allow steam to escape.
- Bake the pie in the oven and bake for 30 - 35 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and a beautiful golden colour. You may need to rotate the pie halfway through the bake. Remove from the oven once cooked and allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting into it and serving.