Potato Pie (sometimes called butter pie or whistlers)

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  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Ready in: 1 hour 15mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Potato Pie (sometimes called butter pie or whistlers)

My late grandmother used to bake these for me in old Fray Bentos tins, to keep me sustained whilst thumbing back to the lake district from Blackpool in the early eighties.
In Lancashire they are known as ‘whistlers’, this name comes from the war years when meat was scarce. Meat and potato pies, a great Lancastrian tradition, suddenly had to be made with little or no meat at all.
If you had a pie you had to whistle if you came across a piece of meat, as the war went on, my mother said there was not a lot of whistling at the dinner table.
Only possible addition was a little cooked pig liver, bacon pieces or pig kidney.


  • 700g, roughly King Edward potatoes, boiled in their skins until cooked
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped finely
  • 50g butter
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 discs ‘ready rolled’ short pastry
  • 2 tbsp milk

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  • Pre heat the oven to 170 Degrees C. Gas 4.
  • Cook the onions in 25g of the butter until soft and with no colour.
  • Line a 21cm x 3.5cm loose bottomed flan tin with one of the discs of pastry.
  • Peel the potatoes carefully, and cut into thin slices, don’t worry too much if the potatoes break up slightly.
  • Lay in the bottom of the raw pastry flan case, season well with salt and pepper.
  • Lay on the onions and finally top with a layer of potatoes, season well and dot with the rest of the butter
  • milk the top edge, and lay on the other disc of pastry, seal well and remove excess pastry with a pair of scissors.
  • Crimp and brush with milk, make an incision with a knife, and bake in the oven for 50 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 20 minutes. Slice and eat warm.