When my girls were little, we’d do the obligatory dying of the dozen eggs, then Bob would hide them all in the yard for Easter. One child found her six eggs quickly; the other found the event extremely frustrating. She was usually relieved when the other took charge and found them all. Both loved eating the eggs once they were deviled, of course. Each one got a relatively small Easter basket filled with fun miniature chocolates. Then mid-school came along and there went the egg tradition, though I kept up the chocolate tradition through high school; you know, the truly important part…
Instead of an easy deviled egg recipe, however, I figured I’d share something from my cookbook that will really impress your family/meal companions. It’s a rich dish that is great for a Sunday dinner, but also reheats well. When I was doing research for my Middle-earth cookbook, I saw a few British recipes that incorporated whole hard-boiled eggs in meat terrines or pies. So, I came up with this springy recipe, since Easter is sometimes the only time I cook up a whole bunch of eggs at one time.
Have a lovely Easter weekend—and remember not to hide your eggs too well, or you might end up with cranky children…
Troy’s Springtime Pie
- 8 extra large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled in advance
- 2½ cups plus 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1¾ teaspoons salt, divided
- 5 ounces cold lard or vegetable shortening, cut into ¼” bits
- ½ – ¾ cup ice water
- ¼ cup salted butter
- 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2½ cups 1% milk
- ½ pound shredded Gouda cheese
- 2 cups fresh asparagus, cut the heads at 1″ and the stems at ½” pieces
- 3 ounces cooked ham, cut into ½” dice
- ½ pound cooked chicken, cut into ½” dice
- 1 extra large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
Combine the 2½ cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Cut in the lard or shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in the water, starting with ½ cup, then add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Mix until the dough comes together well and is still moist. Divide dough into a 2/3 and a 1/3 portion. Flatten into discs and wrap each with plastic wrap or put each into covered containers. Refrigerate dough for 30-60 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium/high heat. Add the 1/3 cup flour, Herbes de Provence, pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt and combine with a whisk until smooth. Add the milk and cook over medium/high heat until sauce is smooth and thicker. Stir in the cheese until melted. Place the asparagus in a medium bowl. Mix in the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon flour, and ¼ cup cheese sauce. Place the ham and chicken in another medium bowl and combine with ½ cup sauce. Cover sauce and let stand.
Preheat oven to 375°. On a floured surface, roll out the 2/3 portion of dough to approximately 13″ and lay in a 9½” glass pie dish. Spread the asparagus mixture all over the bottom. Top with the ham mixture. Arrange the 8 hard-boiled eggs equally over the meat, pressing down slightly. Spread a tablespoon of cheese sauce over each egg. Roll out the 1/3 portion of the crust to about 12″ and cover the eggs. Trim and fold the edges over and crimp decoratively. Cut small decorations from the scraps. Cut ½” slits between the eggs. Whisk together the egg and water and brush all over the pie. Place the decorations over the top and brush with more egg wash. Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with the egg wash again. Bake another 21-25 minutes until golden brown. Meanwhile, reheat cheese sauce over a low heat, stirring frequently. Let pie stand 10 minutes before cutting and serve with cheese sauce. Cover and refrigerate leftover pie and sauce separately; reheat sauce slowly. Serves 8.