WWII Woolton Pie

The boyfriend and I have really enjoyed watching old episodes from a TV show called the Supersizers series this year.  The show is hosted by Giles Coren and Sue Perkins, who spend a week reenacting interesting time periods, like the Edwardian or Regency Eras.

In one of their shows, they revisit Wartime Britain — where rationing was instituted quite early on in WWII by the Ministry of Food, in 1940.  As most Brits grew their own veggies on their allotments, the Ministry of Food worked hard to promote veggie-based meals.  The head of the Ministry of Food, Lord Woolton, promoted the Woolton Pie —  a savoury pie of root veggies with a whole wheat crust.

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It was regarded as a bit of a joke during wartime, especially as it didn’t have any meat!

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The boyfriend and I thought this might be a tasty experiment: a wartime pie.  And indeed it was!  We’ve got this one on this list to make again!

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I served it alongside my Mushroom Gravy, that I made with cremini mushrooms instead of shitake mushrooms this time around.

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Oh, yum.  I can’t say I would have done well in food-rationed England, but I sure would have enjoyed this pie.

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Woolton Pie
Inspired by the official 1941 recipe at The World Carrot Museum and Whole Foods’ Whole Wheat Pie Crust recipe, Serves 4

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons very cold butter
  • 4 Tbsp. water
  • 1/2 lb. turnip, peeled & diced
  • 1/2 lb. carrot, peeled & diced
  • 1/2 lb. potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 1/2 lb. cauliflower, divided into bite-sized florets
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp. oats
  • 1 tsp. vegetable bouillon powder (or 1 cube)
  • 8-10 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 stalks fresh savoury, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Begin by making the pastry: in a large bowl or food processor, combine flour and salt.  Add butter and pulse in food processor or combine with a fork or pastry blender until incorporated.  Sprinkle water over top of the mixture and let sit for 30 seconds.  Mix until the ingredients form a ball.  Turn out onto the counter, and form into a disc.  Let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

While the pastry is resting, prepare the veggies.  Place turnip, carrot, potatoes, cauliflower, green onion, garlic, oats, and bouillon in a large pot, and add just enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.

Once the veggies are cooked, turn them out into your pie plate (I drained off the extra water, you can also leave it in for a more pot-pie-like-pie).  Cover with the fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Roll out your pastry dough, and use it as a lid over your pie.  Prick all over with a fork to let the steam escape.  Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, until the top is golden.

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Serve along with Mushroom Gravy and enjoy while reading all the neat stuff about rationing at The World Carrot Museum.  Seriously.  It’s fascinating!

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Categories: Historical, Main Course, Vegetarian

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8 Comments on “WWII Woolton Pie”

  1. bonne_santé
    December 20, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

    I’ve seen that show too! It’s really fascinating, albeit quite disgusting at times. I remember one where there was this medieval pie offering with layers of about 10 different meats amongst offal, drippings and all manner of good things. Gag.
    But that Woolton pie looks far more appealing!

    • December 20, 2010 at 10:35 pm #

      I must admit, it’s often REALLY hard to watch as a vegetarian… but too interesting to turn off!!!!

      I hear some of Australia got snow?! Did it hit you where you are?

      • bonne_santé
        December 21, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

        Snow?! Here?! Perth must have missed the memo – it’s steamy!
        I wouldn’t be surprised though, we’ve had a pretty crummy summer weather-wise so far!

        • December 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

          I was surprised to hear it too!!

          Thanks by the way for your amazing post on orthorexia… has really gotten me thinking!

  2. December 21, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    This pie looks delicious Lindsay! I remember seeing that episode on Food Network but I don’t remember this pie in particular.

  3. December 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    That show is HIL-ARIOUS!! So funny, especially Sue Perkins. I’m always going on about it but no one I talk to has ever heard of it!
    xo Kate

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mushroom Puff Pastry Pie | The Kitchen Operas - December 30, 2010

    […] all of the savoury pies and tarts I’ve done this year (like the Nettle Tart or the Woolton Pie), I thought a mushroom pie would go down well.  And after my first try and great success with puff […]

  2. Roasted Root Vegetable & Leek Pie in a Whole Wheat Crust | The Kitchen Operas - January 3, 2012

    […] pie is based on my WWII Woolton Pie.  As back during WWII, the British were eating under food rationing, they often made pies with a […]

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