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Weardale Tatie Cake

Weardale is in South West Durham and was part of the Leadmining area of the North Pennines. Tatie Cake is a plate pie made from lard pastry encasing sliced potato and fatty bacon.

See also: Cornish Tatie Cake

Original Receipt from our correspondent Pam Forbes of Westgate, 14.4.2015

Weardale Tatie Cake

I was given this recipe about 40 years ago by Maude Coulthard, an elderly lady and farmer’s wife whose grandmother and then her mother, and then Maude herself made it frequently for baits (packed lunches) and suppers (often for a Chapel supper) and for taking out to those working in the hayfields. This traces the pie back to 1850-ish although Maude believed it was an older tradition than her grandmother’s time.

I have made this many times sometimes with lard pastry and sometimes with butter pastry. When we kept pigs in the 1980s we cured bacon in the old dry-cure way as instructed by local farmers’ wives and I used bacon in tatie cakes as described below.

I will lay out the recipe as I was told it:

Take a good strong lard pastry and line a plate pie dish with it.
(Lard pastry is ½lb lard to 1lb strong white flour)
Slice, wash and dry 3 or 4 large potatoes, don’t use waxy ones.
Slice up ½ a white onion.
Cut 2 or 3 slices of fatty bacon off the flitch.
(Bacon was dry cured and hung in a cold corner. It went reasty after a few weeks and had a particularly strong flavour).
Line the bottom of the dish with sliced potatoes. Use a good few.
Lay out ½ the onion across the potato.
Spread the bacon evenly across the pie.
Then lay out the rest of the onion.
Finish with the remaining potatoes and maybe sprinkle a little pepper.
Don’t put any salt in it!
Roll out the pastry quite thick for the top and seal it using a bit of water around the edge. Seal it tight with your thumbs so no steam can escape. Don’t make any holes in the top.
Paint the top with milk if you want it to look fancy, but you don’t need to do this if it’s just for baits.
Eat hot or cold.

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