Yesterday, I discussed a serviceable crust I found in Hannah Wolley’s Restoration Era Cookbook. Today, I’m going to complete my Parsnip and Oyster Pie. As a reminder, here is the original recipe:
To make a Pie with Parsneps and Oisters very good.
Take your Parsneps tenderly boiled; and slice them thin, then having your Paste ready laid in your baking-pan, put in a good store of Butter, then lay in a Lay of Parsneps, and some large Mace, and Pepper cracked, then some Oisters and Yolks of Eggs hard boiled, then more Spice and butter, then more Parsneps, then more Oisters, then more hard Eggs, more Spice, and cover it well, and bake it, and serve it in hot.
Unlike previous recipes, this pie is fairly straightforward. No new, odd ingredients. No unusual cooking methods, though I’m sure Wolley would love how quickly modern ovens cook. And how evenly. Sometimes, it is a solid reminder how lucky we are to live with modern gas and electric appliances. Just the sheer thought of standing in a stifling kitchen, kneading dough and stirring over an open flame is enough to need a cool shower. Needless to say, I love my modern kitchen. But I also adore old recipes. I feel like I’m on a treasure hunt every time I start a new one, hoping it will be a gold nugget.
Today’s little golden nugget is Parsnip and Oyster Pie. I was not familiar with parsnips flavors, and this was my first attempt at working with them. In the future, I would definetely explore the flavor. It’s sweet, a cross between a potato and a carrot, and melds well with the pie to create a sweet flavor without sugar.
The hardest part of this recipe was shucking the oysters, and luckily, my lovely husband took on the shuckster role while I made the crust. Though it appears like a lot of steps, it is actually an easy recipe to make and an easier one to enjoy!
Without further ado, here’s my recipe.
Parsnip and Oyster Pie
2 pounds Parsnips
2 pound oysters, Shucked
8 eggs hardboiled
1 cup butter
1 ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
2 teaspoon Pepper
2 teaspoon Salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Shuck fresh oysters.
3. Parboil the parsnips. When complete slice into rounds.
4. Boil 8 eggs until hardboiled. Remove yolks.
5. Roll out pie crust, as provided here.
6. Layer butter on the pie crust.
7. Add in a layer of parsnips.
8. Add in salt, pepper and nutmeg.
9. Add in a layer of oysters
10. Add a layer of crumbled egg yolks.
11. Add final layer of parsnips.
12. Add in remaining salt, pepper and nutmeg.
13. Add remaining egg yolk.
14. Dab top with butter.
15. Enclose with top crust and pinch sides closed.
16. Cook for 40 minutes, until heated through.
17. Remove and let stand for 10 minutes.
18. Cut, serve, and enjoy!
So, what’s the verdict?
It was a thoroughly enjoyable pie. The flavors meld extremely well. Next time, I’d include the egg whites and increase the amount of oysters to add some body. In the end, it was a sweet pie with fresh shellfish taste. One slice was more than plenty as the eggs and crust added a caloric density to the food that helped it stick to your bones. Leftovers lasted three days, and it held up to the microwave, surprising and delighting me.
The great thing about this recipe is it is versatile. Though I used salt, pepper, and nutmeg, fresh herbs can be replaced to taste. It would be delightful with some tarragon or basil for a more rustic, earthy tone.
What are your thoughts? Would you make an Oyster Pie?