1 tablespoon of flour (any type) for dusting the work surface when rolling out pastry
250g / 9oz of Lancashire or Cheshire cheese (see Advice for Cheese and Onion Pie below)
3 medium onions
30g / 1oz of butter
2 large eggs
Freshly ground (if possible) black pepper
Tablespoon of milk (any type)
If the shortcrust pastry is frozen, take it out of the freezer and let it defrost. This takes around one and a half hours.
Top and tail, peel, slice and roughly chop the onions.
Roughly grate or crumble the cheese.
Split the ready made made pastry into two thirds and one third.
Start pre-heating the oven to 200°C / fan 180°C / 390°F / Gas mark 6.
Grease the base and sides of the pie dish with butter or margarine.
Break the eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk
This recipe is most definitely British and it is generally accepted that it originates from the North West of England. So we opted to use Cheshire cheese for our cheese and onion pie. Lancashire cheese will do fine as well and even Wensleydale (from Yorkshire) makes a perfectly acceptable alternative.
All three of those cheeses are crumbly and have the ideal taste for a top-notch cheese and onion pie. Cheddar will do if that's all you have but it lacks something on the taste buds for a pie of this type.
In recipes like this, the size of the baking tray / pie dish is reasonably important. It must be oven proof, the diameter should be around 20cm / 8in and the depth approximately 5cm / 2in.
To get the pie out of the dish when it is cooked without breaking the edges, it's almost essential to have a pie dish with either a loose base (see our picture below) or a springform pie dish with removable sides.
This homemade cheese and onion pie will keep in a fridge for at least three days. Allow the unused portion to cool and then place in the fridge. To reheat, heat the oven to 200°C / fan 180°C / 390°F / Gas mark 6 and cook for 12 minutes or until heated through.
It also freezes well and keeps for around a month. It's best to cut unused pie into slices, wrap in cling film and place in the freezer. When you need it, defrost in the fridge overnight and then rehat as described in the previous paragraph.
Heat a large frying pan on a medium low heat, add the butter then
the chopped onions. Fry for ten minutes turning frequently.
Add 120ml / 4 fl oz of water to the onions, sprinkle on a good portion of freshly ground pepper. Turn the heat down to its lowest and leave the onions to simmer very gently (turn them every few minutes or so) until the water has evaporated. 25 minutes is about the correct time.
If making your own pastry, srinkle flour on the work surface and the rolling pin. Roll out two thirds (just over half) of the pastry so that it will cover the base and the sides (with a bit more to spare) of the pie dish.
If using ready rolled pastry cut off sufficient (about two thirds) to line the base and sides of the pie dish.
Grease the inside of the baking tin. Wrap the pastry around the the rolling pin which will make it easier to move without tearing.STEP 3
Move the pastry over to the pie dish and unwrap it so that it covers the middle and sides of the pie dish.
Use you finger tips to gently ease the pastry down into the bottom of the pie dish and around the sides. Occasionally the pastry rips slightly. If this happens simply get a small piece of the leftover pastry and patch up on the inside - you will hardly notice it when it's cooked.
Use a fork to make small holes in the base of the pastry (click to enlarge the picture and see more clearly).
Remove the fried onions from the heat, place them in a bowl and let them cool slightly for a couple of minutes.
Roll out the remaining third of the pastry (if making your own pastry) to about the thickness of two 2p pieces (½cm) and wide enough to cover the top of the pie. If using ready rolled pastry cut out enough pastry to cover the top of the pie.STEP 6
Mix the onions, crumbled cheese and lots of pepper together in a bowl. Spread the mixture evenly into the pastry. Evenly as possible, pour over the whisked eggs.
Brush milk over one surface of the pie pastry top and place it on the pie, brushed side downwards. Pinch the edges of the pastry top and sides together then cut off the excess pastry around the edges with the blunt side of a knife. Use a fork to firm the edges slightly and give an attractive marking to the top edge.STEP 7
Cut three slits in the top of the pastry to let out any steam. Then decorate lightly by pulling the back of a knife over the top of the pastry in a criss cross pattern. Finally, brush with some milk.
Place your cheese and onion pie in the pre-heated oven (see Preparation section above) and cook for 45 minutes until golden brown.
You may want to turn the pie in the oven after 20 minutes if your oven cooks slightly unevenly. Let the pie cool slightly for 10 minutes before serving. It keeps well for an hour in a warm oven.