from one generation to the next
While enjoying lunch of leftover macaroni cheese with bacon a few weeks ago, for just a fleeting instant, the flavour transported me back to early childhood and the Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show. In my memory it was heavily raining. After seeking shelter we ate our picnic lunch, chunky wedges of home made egg and bacon pie. This was not a refined quiche with a smooth slightly wobbly custard, but simply whole eggs and roughly chopped bacon in a crisp pie crust, enjoyed eaten cold.
After this wistful meander down memory lane I felt compelled to replicate that fair dinkum old fashioned, Aussie egg and bacon pie, just like my Mum used to make.
Years ago, I used to have a reputation for my buttery light rough puff and short crust pastries, but after being forced to give up wheat, I gave up pastry as well, somehow “white” spelt flour seemed to lack finesse and as for gluten free pastry, no thanks!
To satisfy my egg and bacon pie craving, I packed away my spelt flour prejudice and made rough puff according to my wheat flour formula. It was more fragile to handle which made it difficult to roll thinly, but really, it was manageable and made a perfectly acceptable pie crust, albeit with a slightly crumbly texture. It reminded me of the hot water pastry the English use to encase their pork pies.
My rustic looking (not tasting) egg and bacon pie was perfect for a relaxed Sunday night dinner. The wonderful flavour makes me hope that with the culinary evolution of Australian family food, unsophisticated, simple and tasty dishes like this are not lost.
For the pie filling
8-12 fresh eggs
250g short loin bacon rashers trimmed of fat and very roughly chopped
Rough Puff Pastry
250g of white spelt flour, (weighed after the bran has been sifted out)
200g chilled unsalted cultured butter but into 1 cm dice
1 heaped teaspoon sea salt crushed
2 tablespoons chilled soda water
Sift the flour and discard the bran.
Rub the butter into the flour only until it is 75% incorporated. You want small lumps of butter to remain. Add the water and mix only until the pastry forms a ball.
Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220C. Grease a 20cm pie dish.
Divide the pastry into two, one piece slightly bigger than the other.
Flour the bench, pastry and the rolling pin then roll the bigger piece of pastry until it is 2-3mm thick. Roll the pastry over the rolling pin and lift it into the greased pie dish. Gently mould the pastry to the pie dish with your fingers.
Brush the top overhanging pastry flap with milk. Crack the eggs into the pie, alternating with the bacon then lay the second piece of rolled pastry over the top. Flute the edges to seal. Decorate the pie top with pastry shapes, glaze with milk then bake at 220C for 10 minutes.
Lower the heat to 180 C and bake for a further 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Enjoy warm or at room temperature