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 little less than a pound (4-5 medium size) of unpeeled baby red potatoes (or you can substitute or combine with peeled sweet potatoes). After cooked, drain, and let them cool.
In a frying pan or iron skillet, gently heat up olive oil and a spoon of good salted butter until golden brown, and then… Add: one large or two small onions, chopped up; 4-5 garlic gloves minced. When they have lightly browned, add a spoon of onion marmalade (we have found Stonewall Kitchen makes a delicious one in a jar).
In the meantime:
Slice very thin or shred some good white cheddar cheese. Chop up ¼ cup of fresh parsley.
Now cut up potatoes in small chunks.
Layer Potatoes, Onion Mixture, and Parsley in pastry shell. Place some slices of cheese on top.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees 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.
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.