John Urquhart’s Huntingdon Fidget Pie
28th November 2013
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Cheap but nourishing and filling, the better to send the men back to work. Or at least that’s the best explanation of this dish that I’ve been able to find; as to the name, well, I’m no wiser. Why Huntingdon, I don’t know. The main ingredients are bacon, onion and apple; I try to use equal quantities of each. This is a seriously good autumn dish, and reheats well, which is why I like to cook a big one. This will serve 6.

You’ll need a big casserole dish to make the pie ingredients and a large pie dish, buttered around the edges. Heat the oven to 220⁰c. If you remember your Beatrix Potter, a patty-pan is useful to stop the pastry falling into the mix and getting soggy. Now go and look up your Beatrix Potter books.


Olive oil, enough to cover base of large frying pan
25g butter
1 kg bacon (any you like), thinly chopped
5 onions, thinly chopped
6 apples (either Bramleys or eating apples – from what I’ve gathered, windfalls would be perfect), coarsely chopped
20 cloves (warn your guests. Tell them it’s a rustic dish but don’t offer to pay for their fillings)
12 black pepper corns
500ml cider
1 serving spoon brown sugar

Puff pastry

Put oil in pan and cook bacon. Then discard the fluid – this will be the added water that some (but not all) providers add to their bacon. It’ll be bitter and salty and won’t help the flavour one bit. Add the butter and onion and cook. When the onion is limp, add the apples, cloves, peppers, sugar and cider, then simmer until reduced.

If, when you are ready to transfer the mix to the pie dish, there is still excess fluid, use a slotted spoon and discard the excess fluid as before.

If your pastry chef is on a day off, which in my case is most of the time, I’ll use cheaty pastry. You roll it to the right dimensions and lay it over the pie dish once the pie mix is added.

Cook in the oven for 30 minutes or until the pastry is done.

Serve with a steamed green veg and some boiled potatoes.


Christopher Batten from Peatlings (pictured above) offers this suggestion to go with the Fidget Pie.

Chateau Trillol 2008 AOC Corbieres France.

Chris writes: “This rustic dish requires a rustic vinous choice.

“It was a regional trophy winner at the Decanter Magazine World Wine Awards 2013, and delivers the right balance country style with exceptional winemaking. The vineyard is located in the heart of Cathar country at 1,200 feet; the wine is a blend of 38% Grenache, 28% Syrah, and Garignan does the job. Almost reflecting the dish in its spicy, peppery, fruity aromas and flavours, it reflects both the terroir of the eastern Pyrenees and a deep warm contentment of both food and wine.”

Thomas Peatling: Westgate House, Westgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1QS. 9.00am to 6pm Monday to Friday, Saturday 10am to 2pm. 01284 755948. www.

About the Author

John U

Member since: 1st February 2013

Born in the baby boomer years, John Urquhart was educated in London and Scotland including a year as a schoolmaster before studying Medicine at St Thomas' Hospital. This took him back to London and Surrey...

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