Shropshire Fidget Pie is, I have to admit, something I became aware of only a few years ago. It seems it went out of fashion for some time. The interest in eating local food has revived its fortunes and I finally got to taste a fidget pie a couple of months ago at our local National Trust property. The National Trust cafes tend to serve superb local food and this one serves food that is harvested on site from the walled garden and the farm. Fortunately for me one of the cooks at this property is also a family friend so when I saw her just before Christmas I grilled her for the recipe. She told me what made up the filling.
Anyway, as a true Salopian I thought it was about time I made a Fidget Pie. (For those unaware, a Salopian is someone born in Shropshire. The county was previously known as Salop, goodness knows why they felt the need to change the name). Some of you might be aware that I am very proud to be a Salopian and a Midlander so to cook something that hails from the county makes me very pleased.
Our friend’s advice and a search around the internet has led to this version. It is a combination of several recipes. At the National Trust they make it in a pasty shape but it is also made like a pork pie in some recipes or as a topped pie as I have in this version.
It was a total success. Mr OC was a bit dubious when he heard what was in a Fidget Pie, but he was certainly won over tonight. The combination of cider and apples really deliver a tasty punch. This is a pie that comes highly recommended by me and Mr OC.
For the pastry:
8 oz plain white flour
4 oz cold butter
4 tbsp cold water
For the filling:
1 bramley apple, cored, peeled and sliced
2-3 potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
250g (10oz) ham or gammon
1 tsp brown sugar
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried sage or 4-5 fresh leaves finely chopped
2 tsp cornflour
150 ml (¼ pint) double cream
300ml (½ pint) cider
Beaten egg for brushing over the top of the pie.
Start by making the pastry. Put the flour and cold butter into a food processor and whizz until it is the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the water (you may need more or less) and whizz until it forms a ball. Put the pastry into a plastic food bag or wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
For the filling, boil the potatoes for 3 minutes and then add the onions to the water and boil for another 2- 3 minutes. Drain well.
Using a dish that measures 23cm x 30cm layer the apples, potato, onion and ham into the dish, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the brown sugar and the sage.
In a jug stir together the cornflour and the cream until combined and then mix in the cider. Pour this over the filling.
Roll out the pastry to the size of the dish and then cover the dish, pressing down well around the sides. Make a hole in the top of the pie. I used my blackbird as a steam vent. Brush with the beaten egg.
Place in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or the baking oven of the Aga for about 1 hour until the pie is golden brown.