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 the goods

2 lb frozen peas (2 bags)
1 onion
1 oz butter
1 cup chicken stock
2 cloves garlic
2 tspn salt
pinch cayenne
2 oz grated gruyere
1 oz grated parmesan
2 eggs
pinch nutmeg
salt and pepper


9 oz plain flour
7 oz cold butter
1/2 cup sour cream
pinch salt

2 tblspns bread crumbs
2 tblspns grated gruyere
1 tblspn grated parmesan


time: 30 mins active, 40 mins baking 

you will need:

  • medium sized saucepan
  • skillet
  • rolling pin
  • pie tin
  • immersion blender / blender/ food processor



Cheap Pea Pie

I stumbled across this depression-era recipe whilst reading a great book; 'The Warmest Room in the House' by Steven Gdula.

Pea Loaf was seen as a cheap, meat free meal during WWII. There was no real recipe in the book, so I made this up as I went along. You can add anything you like; it's screaming out for a big fat bit of bacon. Similarly, some smoked trout flaked on top as you serve it would be scrumptious.

But it is sensational by itself.

And this pastry, based on Maggie Beer's sour cream pastry, is both easy and delicious.

empty the peas into a saucepan, pour over the chicken stock and bring to a boil. cook 2 mins, turn off heat and let sit.

peel and dice the onion

peel and chop the garlic, sprinkle the salt over it and, using the wide end of your knife, grind the salt and garlic into a paste

melt the butter in a skillet. Add the onion and allow to soften slightly

add the garlic-salt paste, a teaspoon of ground white pepper, the cayenne and nutmeg. cook until the onions have wilted and turned transparent. Do not let them burn or brown.

drain the stock from the peas (save the stock for another use, the peas will have added flavour) and add the onions to the peas.

grate the cheese into the peas

blend everything. Am immersion blender is ideal here as you can keep everything in the saucepan.

add the eggs and blend until they are incorporated.

allow mix to cool whilst you make the pastry

I am the world's worst pastry maker. I hate making it, I especially hate getting my hands messy with butter and flour embedded in creases and cuticles. Also, I have very warm hands; the death of pastry handling. This is a method I came up with which minimises the pastry handling to such an extent that I could cheerfully make this pastry all day long. It handles well and it bakes beautifully. You actually make the pastry in a plastic bag; the type you put your fruit in at the supermarket. You don't even touch the pastry until after it has been resting in the fridge for 30 minutes!

empty the flour  and a pinch of salt into a plastic fruit bag

grate the butter into the bag (I pop the butter in the freezer when I take the peas out so that it is super firm)

add the sour cream

pat the flour around so that the butter and sour cream get covered and then kind of knead the dough from the outside of the bag until everything is incorporated. Pat the pastry into a disc shape, wrap the bag snugly about it and let it rest in the fridge for 30 mins.

dust a surface with flour. I use a pliable cutting board. If you don't have one, then place a sheet of baking parchment onto your work surface so that you will be able to pick up the rolled out pastry and invert it into the pie dish later.

knead the dough a little and then roll it out until it is about 1/3 inch thick.

place the pastry into a pie dish (I invert my pliable cutting board and kind of tip the pastry into the dish, then I spread it out evenly into the dish)

break an egg into the pie shell, slide it around so that it puts an egg wash over the unbaked pastry, then slip the egg out of the pie into a bowl (this is a cheats way of lining the pastry...feel free to use a pastry brush)

spoon  the pea mixture into the pie shell, even it off with a fork or knife then sprinkle with some grated cheese and bread crumbs. brush the exposed pastry with a little beaten egg.

bake in a preheated 415f oven for around 35-40 mins or until pastry is golden brown 

allow to cool at least 20 minutes before serving