This is a quite a traditional northern bake, though I’m sure other counties will have something similar.
Like most traditional bakes there was no recipe for it. I remember asking my mam for it and said she ‘just made it’. Thankfully it only has a couple of ingredients so I was able to work out the quantities.
Whenever we see our friends from Nottingham there is always one question asked ‘will I be making any cornbeef pie.’
Chris had his first taste of it at one of our parties several years ago and has adored it ever since. If they’re coming up north then I have to make sure it’s somewhere on the menu (with lots left over for his doggy bag home) or if we visit them then I have to bring some with us.
I took the photos during Christmas so excuse the decorations....
- 12 oz plain or self raising flour (either will do for the pastry)
- 6oz block margarine or butter
- One onion (medium to large in size)
- Two baking potatoes
- Large tin of corned beef
- Tomato sauce
- Cold water
- Pre-heat oven 200º c/Gas Mk 6. Fan oven 180ºc.
- You’ll need a large tin approx 13 inch by 8 inch (33cm by 20cm) - a brownie tin is perfect.
- Make the pastry first as it has to chill in the fridge for at least half an hour. Using a food processor or your hands pulse/rub together the flour and margarine or butter until it looks like breadcrumbs.
- Add enough cold water until the pastry forms a ball but isn’t sticky. I find when using a food processor I need less water than when I’m making it by hand. Start with a couple of tablespoons and gradually add a little more.
- Once it’s come together in a ball wrap it in cling film and chill it for half an hour.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into small chunks then boil them for about 10 minutes or until a knife goes through them easily.
- While the potatoes are boiling peel and chop the onion into small pieces and roughly chop the cornbeef.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, drain thoroughly then put them back into the pan. Add the onion and cornbeef to the potatoes then using a potato masher, combine them together making sure there are no large bits of potatoes visible.
- Add a good squirt of tomato sauce then give it another good mix. Have a taste to see if you need to add more tomato sauce.
- Take two thirds of the chilled pastry (put the remaining third back into the fridge) and roll it out into a rectangle slightly larger than the tin you’re using.
- Line the tin with the pastry, letting it overhang the edge slightly. Don’t worry if any holes appear as you can always patch it.
- Add the cornbeef filling then dampen the edges of the pastry with a little water. Using the rest of the pastry again roll out a rectangle slightly larger than the tin you’re using.
- Next lay the pastry over the filling, trimming away the excess pastry. To seal the edges either crimp a fancy edge or simply use a fork.
- Brush the top of the pie with a little milk or a beaten egg then bake in the oven for about 45 minutes until the top is golden brown.
It’s perfect eaten hot (with chips and a dash of tomato sauce) or cold (it’s great party food).
It freezes really well so pop any left over’s in the freezer. Allow it to defrost completely then eat it cold or re-heat in the oven or microwave.
If you find the pie has a soggy bottom remember this great tip for the next time. Sprinkle some semolina on the pastry base before you add the filling. You won’t taste the semolina as it melts into the filling.
Have a great week.
PS why not pop over to Handmade Monday to see what other fellow bloggers have been up to.
Update: Something I should have pointed out when I first published the post. Up north 'corned beef' is always known as 'cornbeef'. It was only after reading the lovely comments that I noticed I'd used the northern word for it. Hope you weren't too confused....