Shropshire fidget pie
Shropshire fidget pie is a hearty, traditional British bake made with gammon, cooking apples, onions and potatoes. No one knows exactly where fidget (or fidgety) pie comes from, but there are different versions of it in most of the counties around The Midlands. It's also a complete mystery where that strange name comes from. One story suggests the pie used to be five sided, making it easy for farmers to hold in one hand. What is usually agreed is that it marries pink salty gammon with the sweet tang of cooking apples for a really fabulous flavour. You can make it as a raised pie with pastry on the outside too, but for ease here the biking boys have just used a readymade pastry topping.
For the Pie
- 500g/1lb 2oz ready-made shortcrust pastry
- 3 tbsp semolina flour
- 450g/1lb floury potatoes, such as King Edward or Maris Piper, peeled, thickly sliced
- 2 onions, peeled, finely sliced
- 110ml/4fl oz double cream
- 2 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 300g/11oz cooking apples, such as Bramley apples, peeled, cores removed, thickly sliced
- 8 sprigs fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 300g/11oz cooked ham, thickly sliced
- 2-3 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 110ml/4fl oz dry cider
- 1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
Line a 23cm/9" spring-form cake tin with the pastry, bringing the pastry up over the edge of the tin, reserving enough to make a lid.
Line with baking parchment and fill with baking beans or rice.
Place in the oven for 15 minutes then remove the baking parchment and rice or beans and return to the oven for a further 5-8 minutes to brown the base of the pastry.
Remove, cool slightly then trim off the excess pastry around the top of the tin.
Sprinkle the semolina in the bottom of the pie (this will absorb any excess moisture.)
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, then add the potatoes and simmer for 2-3 minutes, before adding the onions and simmering for a further 2 mins until the potatoes are just tender. Drain and toss with the double cream and flour, salt and black pepper.
Layer the apples into the pie followed by potatoes and onions, sage, ham, potatoes and onions, sage and apples, seasoning as you go with sugar, salt and black pepper.
Pour the cider over carefully so that it doesn't fizz up.
Roll the remaining pastry into a disc big enough to cover the top of the pie.
Brush the top of the case with egg wash, and the lid.
Place the lid on top, pinching the pastry to form a seal at the edges.
Place in the oven for 1 hour until the pastry is golden brown and the filling cooked through.
Remove and allow to cool before serving in wedges with a pint of beer.