Nigella’s Pie – Christmas Eve Open House

Photo compliments of BBC GoodFood Magazine Dec 2010

Pork pies are a big thing over here in the UK.  Personally I’m not crazy about them as they are traditionally eaten cold and that just doesn’t sit well with me.

I found this recipe last year in my December 2010 issue of GoodFood Magazine and it actually sounded good…especially since it should be eaten warm or even room temperature.  I’m a bit of a fan of Nigella so thought I’d give it a go to serve at our Christmas Eve open house.  Needless to say, it went over quite well so I’m making it again this year.

This comfortingly chunky pie is a slight anglicisation of an Italian pie I do, using more familiar and easily accessible ingredients.  Should you have any left over, it’s wonderful cold too, ideal for serving on Boxing Day.  It’s great for family entertaining and, by all means, if you want to, make up your own filling mixture to suit yourself. ~ Nigella



Cuts into 8-10 good-size slices ~ Prep time: 55 minutes plus chilling and cooling ~ Cook: 1 hr 10 minutes ~ Completely make ahead ~

Can be frozen prior to baking ~ You will need a 22cm (8 1/2 inch) greased springform pan



  • 200g / 7oz lean pork, chopped
  • 200g / 7oz streaky bacon (normal bacon strips in the US), chopped
  • 125g / 4oz mild or stronger cheddar, grated
  • 100g / 3 1/2 oz Lancashire cheese, crumbled (or any other crumbly cheese)
  • 250g / 9oz cottage cheese, well drained in a sieve then processed until smooth in food processor
  • 2 big or 4 small spring onions, chopped (scallions, green onions)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 heaped tbsp dried breadcrumbs (I used Progresso Italian)


  • 250g / 9oz plain flour
  • 125g / 4oz cold unsalted butter, cut into dice-sized cubes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp iced water
  • 1 heaped tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp caster/fine sugar


  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • pinch of salt

Mince the pork and bacon in a food processor.  Render (melt down) the fat from the bacon and fry the minced pork and bacon for about 5 minutes, breaking it up as you do so.  Transfer to a bowl and let it cool, then add all the other filling ingredients except the bread crumbs.  Season with black pepper and set aside.

For the pastry, put the flour and butter in a dish and put this in the deep freeze for 10 minutes.  Stir together the yolks, water and salt in a cup and put this in the fridge.  When time’s up, tip the flour and butter into the bowl of the processor, add the sugar and pulse to combine.  You want a soft, crumbly mass, somewhere between sand and porridge oats.  Bind with the egg yolk mixture and when it looks like it’s on the verge of coming together (you have to stop slightly short of this actually happening), tip the pastry out on the counter and wodge it together with your hands.  Don’t worry if the pastry is a little too damp.  The miracles of this pre-freezing pastry technique is that it makes it more foolproof on every level.  It always seems to roll out well.

Divide into 2 discs, cutting off just over a quarter for the lid and 3/4 for lining the tin.  Wrap both in cling film/plastic wrap and put into the fridge to rest for about 15-20 minutes. (if cooking immediately, preheat oven to 400F/200C/180C fan oven and put in a baking sheet.)

Roll out the larger disc of pastry so it will line the bottom and go 4cm(1 1/2inches) up the sides of the buttered pan.  If it breaks when you lift it in, press the pastry into the base and sides with your fingers.

Sprinkle the bottom of the now pastry-lined tin with the breadcrumbs and then fill with the filling.

Roll out the smaller disc and trim or cut into a circle large enough to make the lid.  Place it carefully on top of the filled pie.  It should sit very slightly below the pastry lining the tin so you can then turn over the edges to form a border and press down with the tines of a fork.

If you are going to freeze this and bake when needed, now is the time to place a double layer of cling film directly on the pastry top and then cover the tin with foil and place in the freezer.

Just before baking, glaze the pie by brushing over the the milky, salty egg yolk, stab it here and there with the prongs of a fork for steam holes and place it on the baking sheet in the preheated oven.  If the pie was previously frozen, thaw in fridge for 24 hours before baking.





Give it 10 minutes at this temperature, then turn it down to 350F/180C/160C fan oven and bake for a further 45-55 minutes.

Leave the pie to cool for at least 10 minutes prior to serving, but it’s at its best after about 25 minutes and is still wonderful at room temperature.

I do not have my own photo of it cooked as I’ve frozen it to use on Christmas Eve, hence the picture at top from the magazine.


One thought on “Nigella’s Pie – Christmas Eve Open House

  1. Pingback: It’s Never Too Early…. «

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