Cookit Homepage Cookit is published by e2bn

History Cookbook: Woolton Pie

This recipe is in categories World War 2, Baking, Main courses, Vegetarian
  • Get the Flash Player to see this player.

  • Making Woolton Pie
    Making Woolton Pie
About this recipe
Healthiness : (867 votes)
Difficulty:  3 out of 5 difficulty
View a modern version of this recipe

Here you can see a typical wartime kitchen; there are no fitted units, just shelves and cupboards.  The sink has a pump to provide water for the kitchen. The food preparation takes place on the central kitchen table, which is easily scrubbed clean after cooking.

This recipe, Woolton Pie,  is an excellent example of how people coped with rationing. Fats, such as butter and lard, were rationed, so everyone had to find ways to make these last. The government issued many recipes to show people how to make meals with very limited ingredients.
Potato pastry uses very little fat as the potato makes the pastry moist and crumbly. It was difficult to work with and turns grey if left too long when it's made. The pie contains seasonal vegetables; many of these would come from gardens or allotments because people grew as much food as they could. The government encouraged this with 'Dig for Victory' campaigns.

For pictures of the cooking process see our Woolton Pie Picture Gallery

With thanks to Sarah Gilkes (Warp and Weft) and Pam McMillan (Time Travelers) for their help with this podcast.

  • 1lb swede
  • 1lb carrot
  • 1lb cauliflower
  • 1lb spring onion
  • 1lb potato
  • 1 teaspoon of marmite or vegetable extract
  • oatmeal

For the pastry:

  • 6oz flour
  • 1 ½ oz butter
  • 1 ½ oz lard
  • 2oz raw potatoes
  • Mixing bowl
  • Pie or casserole dish
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Measuring scales
  • Pan
  • Grater
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and dice into small pieces, add the chunks to the pan
  2. Top tail and peel the carrots, dice into small chunks and add to the pan
  3. Cut the swede in half, peel, dice into small chunks and add to the pan
  4. Peel the potatoes, dice into small chunks and add to the pan
  5. Top and tail the spring onions, chop into small pieces and add to the pan
  6. Add a teaspoon of marmite or vegetable extract
  7. Add a tablespoon of oatmeal
  8. Cover the vegetables with water and place on the cooker to boil and soften
  9. Put the flour in a mixing bowl
  10. Add the butter and lard
  11. Rub the fat into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs
  12. Grate 2oz of raw potatoes and add these to the mixing bowl
  13. Add a little water and work into a pastry mix (you will need to work quickly so the potato does not turn the pastry grey)
  14. Remove the vegetables from the cooker, drain and place in a pie dish
  15. Flour the surface and roll out the pastry to the size needed to cover the pie dish
  16. Place the pastry over the edges sealing the edges to the pie dish,  trim the pastry and make a few cuts in the pastry to let out the steam during cooking
  17. Brush the surfaces with milk
  18. Place in a moderate oven for half an hour
  19. Remove from the oven and serve with brown gravy and carrots
Woolton Pie  - print view  Woolton Pie - print view

If you tried this recipe and liked it, tell us about it
More podcasts
If you enjoyed this podcast, there are plenty more to choose from!

Modern podcasts:
History podcasts:

Or Subscribe to the podcasts RSS feed

There are 37 comments for this recipe.
Add a comment

Name: Eve 24th February 2019
Really good and nice
Name: Johhny Johhny Yes Papa Papa 2nd November 2018
I love this recipe and im doing it for my homework
Name: Tina Cooper 13th August 2018
Excellent & it was all about serving healthy, fresh, seasonal filling food during rationing. Preferably if you could grow it yourself.
The concept of vegetarian was not on the agenda. Meat was so strictly rationed people did without, not to be a "vegetarian". All you need to do to comply in the 21st century is change to vegetable fat. Easy! Yes I am a vegetarian but this is history.
View all comments, or Add a comment

Required fields are bold

Pork with Pine Nut Sauce
Dry fry the pine kernels on a medium heatKeep tossing and moving until they are lightly browned Set...