Homity Pie Recipe


A traditional British potato, leek, onion & cheese pie. It is a classic vegetarian dish made famous by the Cranks vegetarian restaurants in the 1960s. This version however is lidded (the traditional version is open) & uses a crispy hot-water pastry case (because I like that).

This recipe makes enough to fit a 7" (18 cm) diameter cake thin. Serves 4 as a hearty meal alone or 8 as a main feature if used with other courses.

The usual pronunciation of 'homity' is like "HOMM-itt-ee" (IPA: "ˈhɒmɪtː").



The herbs, spices and salty ingredients in the filling are just suggestions and can be replaced with what you have to hand & like. It probably needs at least one herb and something salty though.

Filling Potato 450 g
Leeks 300 g
Cheese (e.g. cheddar) 100 g
Onion 1 medium
Black pepper seed (ground) 1 tsp
Mustard seed (ground) 1/2 tsp
Monosodium glutamate or vegetarian stock cube/powder 1 tsp
Dried sage powder 1 heaped tsp
Pastry Plain flour 450 g
Plant based lard-substitute shortening (e.g. Trex) 100 g
Water 150 ml
Milk 60 ml
Salt 2 tsp
Glaze Plant based lard-substitute shortening (e.g. Trex) 1 tsp
Sugar 1 tsp
Rosewater (or water) 1 tsp

Alternative Vegan Ingredients

Replace thje cheese with a cheese substitute (or miss it out & replace it with something totally different as cheese substitutes are, at the time of writing, very poor in flavour anyway) & the milk with a milk substitute (e.g. soya milk).


Standard 7" (18 cm) diameter, 4" (10cm) high cake tin (preferably with removable sides); baking tray; saucepan for parboiling potatoes; mixing bowl for making the filling; rolling pin; rolling board; container for melting glaze in; brush for glaze (but could use a tissue).


Filling: 950 kcal.Pastry: 2,400 kcal (1,530 kcal from the flour). Total: 3,400 kcal.

As traditional in old British food, flour is the main source of energy followed by animal (but substitute in this case) fat, not the filling.

Detailed Instructions

  1. Make the filling:
    1. Wash the 450 g potatoes & chop (no need to peel) into approx. 1 cm (1/2") chunks.
    2. Put the potato chunks on to boil in water (they will parboil in about 10 min). Alternatively, microwave them.
    3. Chop the onion.
    4. Slice the 300 g leaks transversely into approx. 1/2 cm disks & break up the disks into leaf fragments.
    5. Put the 1 tsp black pepper & 1/2 tsp mustard seed into a grinder and grind them (unless already ground, of course).
    6. Chop or grate the cheese.
  2. Make the pastry:
    1. Melt the 100 g lard-substitute in the 150 ml water and 60 ml milk and bring to the boil. (A microwave oven works well for this.)
    2. Mix the 450 g flour & 1 tsp salt in a bowl then pour in the boiling liquid.
    3. Mix/knead to dough (does not take long - this is very low effort type of pastry). If it does not take up all the flour add a little more water & try again.
  3. Make the pie case:
    1. Roll out 3/4 of the pastry & line the tin with it. No need for non-stick paper etc. as there is enough grease in the pastry. Lining could be as a draped sheet pressed in or separate floor & wall joined together but make it sealed at the base to wall join - otherwise juices can leak out (& make a mess that you will need to clean up if you are using cake tin with removable sides without a baking tray underneath).
    2. Roll out the rest of pastry as the lid.
  4. Combine filling constituents:
    1. Wait until potatoes have simmered 10 min (if not already).
    2. Drain potatoes & put them in the mixing bowl.
    3. Add all the other vegetables, the cheese & the spices prepared earlier, the herbs (e.g. heaped tsp of sage powder) and seasonings (e.g. 1 tsp MSV).
    4. Mix them well.
  5. Assemble:
    1. Fill the pastry-lined pie tin with the filling. It will need squashing down; this is to get in enough vegetables to accommodate for the size reduction during cooking.
    2. Crimp the lid on & cut small hole in centre (this is officially to let steam out but is mainly useful for putting a "meat" thermometer through to check on inner cooking progress).
    3. If using a cake tin with removable sides, put it on a baking tray to catch any liquid should it messily leak out through the join.
  6. Bake at 180°C / 350°F / GM 4 for a least 75 min. Check the crust is hard on top. If unsure if it will stay together when the tin sides are removed then cook it for a bit longer.
  7. Glaze:
    1. Melt the rosewater, lard-substitute & sugar together. Very easy with a microwave oven.
    2. Remove the sides of the tin if they are removable. The safest way to do this without breaking the pie apart (as the base will probably still be pliable at this stage) is to stand a tin can or similar size flat topped item on a worksurface & lower the tin on top it so the sides drop down leaving the pie on the tin's base standing on top of the tin from where it can be lifted back onto the baking tray still on the tin's base. (If not using a removable sides tin then carefully remove the pie from the tin & put it on the baking tray; but it is difficult to do that without breaking the pie apart even with longer cooking to give a bit more hardness so using a removable sided tin is recommended.)
    3. Brush the whole pie with the glaze.
    4. Bake for 15 min more.


Homity pie is traditional but was popularised by Cranks vegetarian restaurants in the 1960s & later their cookbooks.

When I first came to make one for a significantly vegetarian event in 2018, I chose the pastry to be the hot water pastry of the real meat mince pie (rather ironic!) I had made based on the recipe from the National Trust website as of 2017/12/11.  That was simply because I really liked that crunchy pastry. I also used the cooking times & basic pie structure from that recipe including the (not traditional for homity pie) lid as I liked that pastry so much. However I replaced the lard in that pastry recipe with butter as lard is not vegetarian (& reduced the added water slightly as butter contains more water than lard). The resulting pastry had some added butter flavour but was more greasy.

(That National Trust recipe has been since removed & is not even at Archive.org but there is a copy in the British Library's national collection as the National Trust is considered nationally important (National Trust's real mince pie recipe in the British Library's web archive, warning: not vegetarian by far!). Incidentally, this website was archived in the British Library's national collection too back in days when it only archived selected national interest sites!)

The filling I based on typical ingredients from various web sources in typical ratios plus what I had to hand that seemed fitting (hence the mustard seed, MSG & sage) with total amount experimentally chosen to fill the pie. As it had an untraditional lid, the cheese no longer had to be look good on top as traditional, so I mixed it in.

In 2020 I made a vegan version for a friend. Unfortunately vegan cheese at that time was not good but was the least poor substitute for the real cheese so that was what I used. Trex vegetarian shortening I found in local supermarket when looking for a butter substitute & it turned out to be a perfect replacement for lard, better than butter. Then typed up the first version of this on 2020/02/26, just 2 weeks before COVID lockdown in the UK.