TWICE AS GOOD

STEVE CUMPER MAR­RIES TWO BELOVED DISHES TO CRE­ATE A PIE WITH EN­DUR­ING AP­PEAL.

Country Style - - CONTENTS - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BRETT STEVENS STYLING DAVID MOR­GAN

Steve Cumper’s de­li­cious take on the clas­sic com­bi­na­tion of ba­con and eggs.

THE FRY-UP HAS BEEN PART of my morn­ing rit­ual for most of my life. From the age of about 12, my dad and I would rise early to prac­tice the monotony of lap swim­ming at the Harold Holt Me­mo­rial Swim­ming Cen­tre, which was so named in the age be­fore irony. Then we’d come home and promptly dis­man­tle all of our good work with ev­ery shov­el­ful of ba­con, egg and toast steeped in but­ter. Along with my en­dur­ing fond­ness for a cooked brekkie, read­ers of this col­umn may re­mem­ber that I also have a great ap­petite for pies and even keep a bot­tle of tomato sauce in the glove box of my ute (those sauce sa­chets are too mea­ger). So I’d like to ex­press my eter­nal grat­i­tude to the ge­nius who wed two of my favourite things to eat: the pie, and ba­con and eggs. Try­ing to re­call the fi­first time I ex­pe­ri­enced this union filled me with nos­tal­gia. It was way back when the patis­serie was still called the bak­ery, the Holden Sun­bird was the car to drive, and the “It’s cold as ice!” jin­gle for 4711 Ice Cologne filled our lounge rooms. This was the golden age of the ba­con and egg pie. The trick was to ar­rive at the bak­ery early, when the pies had just come out of the oven and were still soft and yield­ing. As my fel­low pie lovers will know, a pie bought at the end of the busi­ness day is a pur­chase made of des­per­a­tion, as the pas­try has hard­ened into an un­for­giv­ing bis­cu­ity shell con­tain­ing piti­less egg and leath­ery ba­con. Like all clas­sic dishes, there is some con­tention about what makes an authen­tic ba­con and egg pie. For in­stance, should the pie have a pas­try lid or not? Should the egg be hard-boiled be­fore it’s added to the pie, or cracked in raw just prior to bak­ing. And, per­haps most con­tentiously, should the ba­con be pre­cooked? Grandma Alv­ina, whose kitchen prow­ess I have ac­knowl­edged be­fore, was known for her fam­ily-sized, deep-dish ba­con and egg pie, which made reg­u­lar ap­pear­ances at Cumper gath­er­ings. Ea­ger to forge a culi­nary iden­tity within the fam­ily, my mum de­cided to cre­ate her own ver­sion with a pas­try lid. In an at­tempt to bol­ster the lid and pre­vent it sag­ging in the mid­dle, she placed an up­side-down eggcup in the cen­tre of the fill­ing. Even though I was quite young, I reg­is­tered the ag­i­ta­tion Mum felt when Grandma Alv­ina raised an eye­brow in dis­plea­sure as the eggcup was re­vealed. “That’s cheat­ing,” she said. Those two words sparked a life­time of ten­sion be­tween Mum and Alv­ina. Shar­ing condi­ments has the power to bring peo­ple to­gether. If Mum and Alv­ina had shared more condi­ments, they might have found some com­mon ground. I re­mem­ber that they both en­joyed chut­ney — per­haps fam­ily gath­er­ings would have been less stress­ful if one of them had made the ba­con and egg pie while the other cham­pi­oned the chut­ney. It’s in this spirit that, along with in­struc­tions for mak­ing ba­con and egg pies, I’m pass­ing on my Rec­on­cil­ia­tory Chut­ney recipe. Please share it around — and feel free to keep a jar in your glove box! Steve Cumper is a chef and fun­ny­man who lives in Tas­ma­nia and dreams of one day own­ing a fleet of hol­i­day vans called Wicked Cumpers.

BACONB & EGG PIES

MakesM 4 2 sheets frozen ready-rolled puff pas­try, par­tially thawed 8 rash­ers streaky ba­con ⅓ cup pure cream 6 eggs 1 ta­ble­spoon finely chopped chives REC­ON­CIL­IA­TORY CHUT­NEY 2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil 1 brown onion, peeled, finely diced 2 gar­lic cloves, peeled, crushed 1 ta­ble­spoon ground cumin 8 cloves 3 whole star anise 2 bay leaves 1 cin­na­mon stick, bro­ken ½ tea­spoon dried chilli flakes 1 cup malt vine­gar 1 cup brown su­gar ½ cup sul­tanas 3 x 400g cans crushed toma­toes

To make chut­ney, heat oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Cook onion for 8 min­utes or un­til light golden. Add gar­lic, cumin, cloves, star anise, bay leaves, cin­na­mon and chilli. Cook for 2 min­utes or un­til aro­matic. Add vine­gar, su­gar and sul­tanas, and stir un­til su­gar dis­solves. Bring to boil. Add toma­toes and 1 cup wa­ter, and re­turn to boil. Sim­mer, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, for 1½ hours or un­til thick and glossy. Sea­son. La­dle hot chut­ney among four 1-cup ca­pac­ity sterilised jars and seal. Pre­heat oven to 200°C. Grease four 1-cup ca­pac­ity pie tins. Line tins with pas­try and trim ex­cess. Prick bases of pas­try cases with a fork. Place tins on a bak­ing tray in freezer for 10 min­utes. Line pas­try cases with bak­ing pa­per and fill with pas­try weights. Bake for 10 min­utes. Re­move pa­per and weights. Bake for 10 min­utes or un­til golden. Cool. Re­duce oven tem­per­a­ture to 170°C. Place ba­con on base and around side of each pas­try case to form a nest for eggs. Whisk cream and 2 eggs in a jug. Pour into pas­try cases. Crack re­main­ing eggs into mid­dle of ba­con nests. Bake for 20–25 min­utes or un­til eggs are set. Top with chives and serve with chut­ney.

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