Bacon and egg pie

b7e-pieThere are some Kiwi culinary classics, and the bacon and egg pie is one of them – no picnic would be complete without one, and many a hurried parent has whipped one up for dinner, knowing it’s one of those dishes which will please everyone.

The Edmonds Sure to Rise Cookery Book first featured a bacon and egg pie recipe 1955, featuring core ingredients – flaky pastry, bacon, eggs, onion, salt and pepper. In the 90’s, the book changed the recipe, adding mixed vegetables and chutney. Many kiwis have a firm view on how a bacon and egg pie should be cooked and will not be persuaded otherwise; strictly bacon and egg, pastry on top and bottom, with vegetables or a hint of cheese.

Eggs are the building block for so many meals – you can make your pie low carb by omitting the pastry (why??), add leftovers like roasted vegetables or make individuals to pack into lunch boxes.

Food historian Helen Leach says bacon and egg pie has been popular pie in New Zealand for more than a century.

“The first published recipe for bacon and egg pie I could find in my collection of New Zealand cookbooks featured in a fundraising cook book – the 1928 version of The Wanganui Cookery Book. Apart from the use of short pastry, the ingredients and method of assembly were almost the same as in the first Edmonds’ version – except Edmonds added grated onion.”

The bacon and egg pie recipe has a much longer history beyond New Zealand. Leach has found an Egg and Bacon Pie recipe in an English cookbook first published the year that Captain Cook reached New Zealand – 1769.

“This 18th century book was written by Elizabeth Raffald, and called The Experienced English Housekeeper. It had reached its ninth edition by 1784 and remained in print until 1834. The book’s popularity would have helped to spread the recipe widely.”

Elizabeth Raffald’s recipe was called Egg and Bacon Pie to eat cold.” Somewhere along the way the title of the recipe has changed to ‘bacon and egg’ pie.

Elizabeth Raffald’s Egg and Bacon Pie – Best Served Cold (From The Experienced English Housekeeper, first published in 1769)

Steep a few thin slices of bacon all night in water, to take out the salt.

Lay your bacon in the dish.

Beat eight eggs, with a pint of thick cream, put in a little pepper and salt, and pour it on the bacon, lay over it a good cold pastry, bake it a day before you want it in a moderate oven.