"I had another look and I had a cup of tea and a butter pie."
Today's post marks my triumphant return to the kitchen, after several weeks laid up with a fractured ankle. The recipe itself is so easy and so good that it's absurd I've never made it before, particularly considering my well-known obsession with savory pies and pastries of all types. But there it is and here we are, and I will definitely be making this pie on a regular basis from now on.
Traditional in Lancashire (where it is also known as "Catholic pie" or "Friday pie," due to its lack of meat), butter pie is basically just layers of potatoes, onions, and - you guessed it - butter baked in a pie crust, which cannot possibly be anything but A Very Good Idea. Veganizing the prototype was a complete doddle: I substituted vegan butter for the dairy variety, and added a sprinkle of thyme. Because I am 1. lazy, and 2. not great with pastry, I used a prepared pie crust for the base; I also took the advice of a Lancastrian blogger who suggested using puff pastry for the top, which produced the beauteous golden specimen in the photo above.
Considering the simplicity of its few ingredients, the finished product had a lovely and surprisingly complex flavor; the softened onions completely permeated the potatoes, and the whole thing was comforting and more-ish without being podgy. All in all an unqualified win, and highly recommended!
Lancashire Butter Pie
~ 1 prepared single pie crust (homemade or shop-bought; your call)
~ 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (Pepperidge Farm is vegan)
~ 4 tbsp. cold vegan butter such as Earth Balance, Miyoko’s, etc.
~ 2 large yellow onions, cut into crescents
~ 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into approximately 1/6” slices
~ Salt, pepper, thyme
~ Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
~ Parboil the potatoes in plenty of salted water for 6-10 minutes, until they are just soft but still holding their shape. Drain immediately and set aside to cool.
~ In a large skillet, melt 3 tbsp. of the butter and cook the onions over medium-high heat, stirring often to make sure they don’t brown. Sprinkle with salt, fresh black pepper, and about a ½ tsp. thyme and set aside.
~ To assemble, layer 1/3 of the cooled, sliced potatoes in the bottom of your pie crust; dot with 1 tsp. of cold butter and season with salt & pepper, and follow with half the cooked onions.
~ Repeat these layers, ending with the last 1/3 of the potatoes, the last tsp. butter, and more salt & pepper.
~ Roll out the puff pastry and lay it over the top of the pie, crimping the edges to seal. If you have extra puff pastry around the edges, you can trim it away and cut it into decorative shapes (or not).
~ Brush the top crust with about 2 tbsp. plain, unsweetened soymilk. If you are using decorative puff pastry bits, you should dunk them in the milk and then apply them to the top of the pie. Prick several times with a fork and place on a baking sheet.
~ Bake in the center of the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-45 minutes, until the crust is golden and puffy.
~ Remove from the oven and allow to rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.