A classicly northern, Cheese and onion pie is hands down my favourite pie, served with chips and ketchup (or half a plate of beans) yum!
I moved away from the north-west a couple of years ago, and was extremely shocked to find I could no longer buy cheese and onion pies in local supermarkets; and that most of the locals here hadn’t even tried one!
This recipe is 100% better than anything you’d find in the shops – it’s a passed down, Lancashire family recipe.
Cheese and onion pie should be zesty, yet creamy, and made with nothing besides Lancashire cheese, and softened onions. A more buttery shortcrust pastry is preferred, as it adds to the richness and crumbly nature of the pie.
How to make Lancashire Cheese and Onion pie at home:
1. Finely chop two onions (I tend to blitz mine in the food processor as it’s quicker and results in a evenly fine chop)
2. Melt butter in a pan, then add the chopped onions. Cook the onions on low for around 10 minutes, until they are clear, but not browned
4. Whilst your onions are cooking, grate the cheese, then set aside for use later
5. Once the onions have turned clear, add water to the pan, and bring to a very low simmer. Simmer until the liquid has almost all gone.
6. Transfer the onion mixture to a large mixing bowl, and set aside to cool whilst you start rolling your pastry
7. Brush a pie tin with butter
8. Turn out your pastry onto a floured surface
9. Using a rolling pin, roll it out to a even thickness, and cut into two pieces (one for lid, one for base)
9. Line the buttered dish with one of the pieces of pastry, and press it down all round – to form the base of the pie, then set aside
10. Add the grated cheese to the now-cooled onion mixture
11. Stir so completely combined
12. Place the filling within the pie and spread out with a spoon so even
13. Place the second piece of pastry on top, pinch the edges, and cut with a knife to form a neat pie (mines more homemade than neat today though):
14. Use a sharp knife to cut two holes in the top of the pie, to allow steam to escape
15. Beat an egg in a small bowl
16. Use a pastry brush to brush the beaten egg all over the top of the pie:
17. Transfer the pie dish onto a large baking tray, to catch any cheese which might escape (although it shouldn’t if pinched well)
18. Bake in the oven at 180 for half an hour, or until browned and pastry cooked
19. Remove from the oven, set aside and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes; to ensure the cheese isn’t too runny when served:
Cooking up some English classics? Check out my Perfect Yorkshire Pudding recipe.
- Short crust pastry (homemade or shop bought)
- 1 beaten egg
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 onions
- 400 g crumbly Lancashire cheese
- 1/2 pint water
To make the filling:
- Finely chop the onions
- Melt butter in a pan
- Add chopped onions to the pan, stir to coat in butter, and turn the heat to low
- Cook onions in butter on low until they are clear but not colored; about 10 minutes
- Whilst the onions are cooking, grate your cheese coarsely. I often find Lancashire cheese so crumbly that it’s easy to tear apart the cheese whilst gating to save some time
- Once the onions have turned clear, add 1/2 pint of water to the pan, and bring to a low simmer
- Simmer onion water mixture until the water reduces down to barely there
- Turn hob off and allow the onion mixture to cool slightly
- In a large bowl, combine the cooled onion mixture with the grated cheese - this is your completed filling
Assembling the pie:
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C
- Butter your pie dish liberally
- Roll out your pastry to two large circles; one for the base and one for the top of the pie
- Line the base of the pie dish with one of the pastry circles, allowing some pastry to overhang the edges
- Spoon the filling in to the pie and smooth down so the base is evenly covered
- Add the second pastry circle to the top of the pie; covering completely
- Pinch the edges of the pastry to seal, and cut off access using a sharp knife
- Using a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg all over the top of the pie, and use knife to poke two holes in the top sheet of pastry
- Place the pie on a large baking tray (just encase any cheese oozes out)
- Place in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown
- Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool. This is a pie which cannot be eaten immediately as the cheese will be very runny. Set pie aside for a minimum of 20 minutes.
- Serve with chips and tomato sauce - yum!