ofm top twenty: bacon and egg pie

another egg focused recipe, although hen’s rather than quail this time, not least because i accidently ordered a tray of 30 eggs rather than my usual box of 6! still, this margot henderson egg and bacon pie, which is part of the ofm top twenty, has made a decent dent in my stash as it uses 11 eggs.

the recipe is described as “an old school pie from new zealand: you are not a proper mother if you don't pack your kids off with bacon and egg pie for their sports day” so i was intrigued as my childhood eggy packed lunch, and much-loved it was, was my mum’s cheese and onion pie

so, how did i get on?

it sounds silly but rolling out the pastry to line the tray, leaving enough going up the side to contain the filling, was trickier than i expected and prompted a fair amount of huffing and puffing while sides collapsed etc! eventually it was done and i had quite  thin pastry base, despite using 2/3 of the pastry pack for this ( knowing that lattice toppings never take as much pastry as the base needs, and even then i had leftovers at the end).

the filling is layers of cooked bacon (doing it in the oven in one batch is nice and easy, make sure you pat the bacon dry of any liquid that comes off so you don’t get soggy pastry), sliced tomatoes and then eggs, which are cracked on whole. top with the lattice strips, brush with extra egg (i think you only need 1 yolk rather than two – i added the extra plus the leftover whites to my tart filling) and bake. peeking in the oven mid-way through cooking, it looked as though everything had collapsed but thankfully the end result was more as i’d hoped, rather than as i feared.

the final verdict:

would i have tried this recipe if it hadn't been part of the ofm top twenty? no – 11 eggs for a tart that serves six (i think the quoted 9-12 is only if it’s part of a bigger feast) seems excessive. i’m also only just learning not to be nervous of egg whites so i’d have been nervous about the final effect – although the flavours actually intermingle well.

would i try this recipe again in the future? i don’t know. it does work on one level – the flavours are good and balance well.  but, it’s a very thin and quite insubstantial tart, which given the amount of eggs and bacon involved seems counterintuitive. on the other (third?) hand, it looks dramatic and is a nice alternative to quiche as part of a picnic or buffet. i think my final verdict is that i wouldn’t make it as a matter of course but if i wanted a more unusual picnic or buffet dish i might be tempted.

margot henderson's bacon and egg pie (serves 9-12 as part of a buffet or picnic)

250g streaky bacon

30g butter, plus extra for greasing

flour for dusting

375g frozen puff pastry, defrosted

2 tomatoes

9 eggs

2 egg yolks ( i think 1 is enough)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

preheat the oven to 200c/gas 6. put the strips of bacon on a baking tray with a few knobs of butter and cook in the preheated oven for 5 minutes or so. take the bacon out but leave the oven on.

using a little more butter, grease a rectangular baking tray, 30cm long.

flour your work surface and roll out the pastry. cut it in half, then, using a rolling pin, roll out one half until it is large enough to line the baking tray and let the pastry come halfway up the sides of the tray – this is important to prevent the egg leaking out later.

cover the pastry with the streaky bacon – you may need to break it into strips to make sure that the pastry is evenly covered. slice the tomatoes and lay them over the bacon. crack the eggs evenly on top.

roll out the rest of the pastry, and cut it into thin strips, placing it over the eggs in a lattice pattern.

beat the egg yolks with a little salt and pepper and glaze the pastry with the mixture, using a pastry brush or your fingers.

bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden. set aside to cool slightly, then cut into pieces and serve with steinlager.