The other day I recalled eating something like this decades ago – probably in the 1960s. I suppose you could call it ‘Full English Pie’ and maybe serve it hot with baked beans. It seems fine served at any temperature – hot, warm or cold. I think I recall eating it on family picnics. Serves 4 to 6:
- Shortcrust pastry (made with 100g butter and 200g plain flour)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 small onion (finely chopped)
- 4 large tomatoes
- Boiling water
- 4 sprigs of thyme (stems removed and chopped (or a pinch of dried thyme))
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 450g sausagemeat (I used Waitrose Gourmet Pork Sausagemeat)
- 3 large eggs
- 4 rashers of streaky bacon (each cut into 4 shorter pieces)
- Black pepper
- A little cold water
- A little double cream (for brushing the top of the pie, prior to baking)
Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Stir in the onion and cook very gently for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile skin the tomatoes by scoring each one with a cross at its base, and steeping in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and cover in cold water. The skins should then have split and can easily be removed.
Quarter the skinned tomatoes and cut out any part of the green stems. Scrape out the seeds and place these on a sieve over a jug. When all the seeds have been removed, rub the seeds and the juice that surrounds them through the sieve. Then add the juice to the cooked onions together with the maple syrup and the thyme. Bring the mixture to the boil and carry on heating so that most of the liquid evaporates. Turn the onion mixture into a dish to cool.
Cut each tomato quarter lengthwise into about 5 slices, and set aside.
Roll out 2/3rds of the pastry to line an ovenproof pie dish or tin (I used a tin with a 20cm diameter base which got wider towards the top). Trim the pastry (so that it covers the rim of the pie dish) and knead the trimmings into the remaining 1/3rd (of the unused pastry). Place the lined pie dish and remaining pastry in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
Heat the oven to 200C (Gas Mark 6).
Knead together the sausagemeat and the onion mixture and place in the base of the pastry case, making 3 depressions to hold the eggs. Break an egg into each depression and season with black pepper. Cover the eggs and sausagemeat with the bacon pieces. Arrange the tomato slices on top of the bacon.
Roll out the remaining pastry (to cover the top of the pie). Dampen the pastry lying over the rim of the pie dish with cold water. Place the pastry on top of the pie, and ‘knock together’ edges with a knife. I also made a pattern round the edge with a fork and scored the top with a sharp knife.
Finally paint the top of the pie with a thin film of double cream and bake for 15 minutes. Then turn down the temperate to 160C (Gas Mark 3) and bake for a further hour or until the pastry if golden brown and begins to shrink away from the edges of the pie dish.
If serving hot, allow the pie to cool slightly – say for 10 minutes before serving. Otherwise cool and store in the fridge.