Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cottleston Pie

If I thought that The Pooh Cook Book was all about honey, I was wrong. It's also all about eggs. So, if you bought a dozen to make Popovers for Piglet, here's a way to work through some of the remainder.
Cottleston Pie

(Preheat oven to 375° F)
(Yield: 6 servings)

1 9-inch pie shell baked until firm but not browned
3/4 cup bite-size pieces of cooked ham
3 eggs
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grind pepper
Pinch nutmeg
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter cut in tiny dots
1/2 cup grated cheese (optional)

Bake the pie shell in a preheated oven at 425° F.

To keep the pie shell from sliding down the sides and puffing up at the bottom, prick sides and bottom well with the tines of a fork.

Line the bottom with a double thickness of cheesecloth and cover it with small clean stones, which you have gathered at the beach and washed, or with 1 inch of raw rice. Keep the rice and use it again and again.

Distribute the ham on the bottom of the baked pie shell.

Beat the eggs and cream with the seasonings in a bowl until thoroughly mixed.

Pour on top of the ham.

Scatter the butter dots and cheese, if you use it, on top.

Set on rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until Cottleston pie has puffed up and browned.

Serve immediately while piping hot.

Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie,
A fly can't bird, but a bird can fly,
Ask me a riddle and I reply:
"Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie."
-- Winnie-the-Pooh

Let's start with the obvious charms here, before the defects: It's a quiche! It's a quiche, for kids! Also, it gives you something to turn to when you read Pooh to a kid who then asks, "What's Cottleston Pie?"

Now, some of the problems: We are to preheat the oven to 375° F, but then blind-bake the shell in a 425° F oven? I say: preheat to 425° F, and drop it to 375° F as soon as you're done blind-baking.

Also, the recipe neglects to suggest how long you should bake the crust for. How about "until it starts to brown slightly."

Finally, really, this must be said: Cheese is not optional. Cheese is mandatory. First, it's a quiche. Second, it's cheese. Take One Cookbook... is decidedly pro-cheese. I'd recommend using a nice Gruyere here.

This is a timely recipe; tomorrow, I'm meeting up with some friends to bake some Pies for Peace. Nothing quite like baking pies to put a bit of concentrated good into the universe. In the past, we've not done any savory pies, but maybe it's time to change things up a bit.


  1. That's a real pie? I would have lost my ass betting whether that was a real pie.

  2. Absolutely everything you read in Pooh is real and true.

    That being said, Mr. Milne neglected to provide a definitive reference, so... we'll just have to go with the Pooh Cook Book to get us through...

    (Some use "Cottleston Pie" the way my family uses the word "kinnefroke" -- an all-purpose non-answer answer.)