Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pack rat

This recipe is the best reason I can think of for never getting rid of a cookbook ever.*

I bought How to be a Domestic Goddess more than seven years ago. At the time, I had a job that required me to travel an average of two weeks out of every four, and that was when my cookbook collection (not to say problem) really started. I had just moved back to the US, but was often either in the UK on these trips, or else passing through en route to somewhere else. I started picking up cookbooks here and there, reading them as though they were novels as a way to assuage my homesickness and mitigate night after night of eating alone in restaurants. This was one of the first ones I bought, and for me it exemplifies what Laurie Colwin said about cookbooks: that they are distillations of domestic life at a particular place and time. And very comforting at a time when domesticity of any kind was in short supply.

Even though I’ve pored over this cookbook numerous times over the years, I’m not sure I had ever cooked a single thing from it before this month. But I’ve been wanting to make this recipe ever since the first time I cracked the spine; in fact, as soon as I chose it for the Cookbook Challenge, I thought, “Now I’m finally going to make that bacon and egg pie.”

* In the mental health field, this is known as rationalization—finding post hoc reasons to justify otherwise inexplicable actions.

NL's Boxing Day Egg-and-Bacon Pie
So called because it is NL's preferred Boxing Day supper; obviously you don't have to wait until then to make it. I fiddled with the filling proportions, as the original recipe was practically all bacon and hardly any egg. It was delicious like this, but next time I make it, I might lower the bacon by another 100g and add yet another egg.

I used this recipe for Anxiety-Free Piecrust; or substitute your own favorite

400g/1lb (streaky) bacon, cut into thin strips
1 medium onion, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 scallion, chopped
2 Tbsp chopped basil**
3 large eggs

Make the pastry ahead of time, so it’s had time to rest by the time you are ready to put the pie together.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.

Fry the bacon and onion together, seasoning liberally with pepper. Mix the remaining ingredients together thoroughly and set aside.

Roll out both halves of the pastry dough to fit your pie dish of choice; line the dish with one, and set the other aside. Dump the bacon and onions into the pie shell, then pour over the egg mixture. Cover with the pastry lid, trim both, and fold over and pinch the overhang to seal the pie. Cut steam vents in the top and bake for 30 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack. NL recommends serving it cold or about room temperature, but we ate it hot and it was good that way too.

Serves 6.

** The original recipe called for parsley, but I’m not a big parsley fan and I never have any on hand. I do, however, have three basil plants on my balcony.


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