Knaresborough Picnic Pie

Egg, ham and cheese pie with a shortcrust pastry
Cooling on the windowsill, minus numerous slices.

Knaresborough is, in my experience, about as nice a place to spend a day hung over with your mates as you’ll find. It’s dominated by the River Nidd and the lovely old buildings running along it. It appeared in the Domesday Book as Chenaresburg, meaning ‘Cenheard’s fortress’ and in the 16th century was home to Mother Shipton, a soothsayer born in a cave (that you can still have a poke around today). Neither of these facts, as far as I know, has anything to do with this pie that hails from there though, soooo…

Knaresborough Picnic Pie is one of those dishes that can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. It doesn’t take any more culinary skill to get the balance of ingredients right than a ham sandwich, and I really would encourage you to tinker with it. The original recipe I came across (in Joan Poulson’s Old Yorkshire Recipes, 1974) simply calls for layers of boiled ham and egg baked into a pie. I’ve included cheese in the recipe below because it’s just such an easy win, as well as a glaze and a quick roast for the ham to add an extra layer of flavour. I also really like the addition of black pudding.

Lunch in Derbyshire
Lads and Dads 2016 (mostly lads here)

But, honestly, if you’re short on time then straight-up boiled ham and egg will still give you a tasty pie. The first time I tried it I made an all-butter pastry, but it was a bit crumbly so I’ve gone for a less delicate half-and-half with lard for the recipe below.

It’s a great summer pie and, as the name suggests, it’s easily transportable. I took some on our annual lads and dads hiking weekend and me, the old man and my brother were treated to plenty of envious looks as everyone else tucked into their pallid, supermarket-bought pork pies. So, yup, make this pie and be the envy of your dad’s mates.

Or, if you’re eating it at an actual table, serve it with a salad. This tomato chutney goes perfectly with it.

Print Recipe
Knaresborough Picnic Pie
A simple ham, egg and cheese pie that can be tinkered with to your heart's desire.
Egg, ham and cheese pie with a shortcrust pastry
Course Main Dish
Servings
good-sized slices
Ingredients
For the filling:
For the pastry:
Course Main Dish
Servings
good-sized slices
Ingredients
For the filling:
For the pastry:
Egg, ham and cheese pie with a shortcrust pastry
Instructions
  1. If roasting the ham, place in a large pan and bring it to the boil before reducing the heat and simmering for 25 minutes per 450g. Once the time is up, set the ham aside to cool for 15 minutes and pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees celcius.
  2. Combine the honey and mustard (you can adjust the quantities, depending on the size of your ham). Remove the fat from the ham, then coat in the glaze.
  3. Place the ham in a foil-lined roasting tin and set in the oven for 20 -25 minutes, covering the ham with foil if it begins to look too brown.
    Honey-mustard glazed ham
  4. For the pastry, chop the butter and lard into small chunks then rub into the flour until you have a consistency resembling fine breadcrumbs. Combine with cold water, a little at a time, until you have a firm dough. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge until the ham is ready.
  5. Once the ham is ready, remove it and reduce the oven temperature to 175 degrees. Slice the ham and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  6. Take your pastry and roll it to around 4mm thick, then line a greased 20cm pie dish with half of it. Layer your ham and raw eggs on top of the pastry, topping with the grated cheese.
  7. Brush the edge of your pastry with some of the egg, then top your pie with the rest of the pastry, pressing it into the case and trimming off any excess. Brush with the remaining egg wash then bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
  8. Eat.
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