Lancashire Foots, (or sometimes Collier’s Foots) are a traditional working-man’s pasty recipe, popular with miners, (hence the other name for the pasty a Collier’s Foot) from the North-West of England. They can come with various fillings but the most traditional ones are made with ham, bacon and Lancashire Cheese. A single pasty is called a foot; while two pasties are called foots, never feet. They are made elliptical in shape and always made in pairs, hence the plural name of a singular noun. Eaten in Lancashire down the mines since the 1800s they have the same reputation as a filling meal to eat as the Cornish Pasty prized by the Southern Miners in Cornwall.
You should try to make these pasties with a traditional Lancashire Cheese. Lancashire cheese is made from the curds of either one or two day’s old milk, and its unique texture and flavouring is produced by the grass on which the cows graze. Young Lancashire cheese is moist, slightly salty in flavour and very crumbly, yet as the cheese matures it becomes less crumbly and the flavour becomes stronger.
Lancashire Foots or Collier’s Foots Recipe
For the pastry
- 850g Plain flour
- 2 Egg Yolks, beaten
- 140g Lard
- 140g Butter
- 200ml Water
- 200ml Milk
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper to season
For the filling
- 200g Lancashire Cheese
- 200g Thick Slices Of Bacon (fried and allowed to cool)
- 200g Boiled Ham
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped fine
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp of English Mustard Powder
- 1 egg, beaten to glaze
- 2 tbsp milk to seal the pasties
Making The Pastry:
In a mixing bowl sieve the flour into it, sprinkle in the 1/2 tsp of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper – make a well in the centre.
In a saucepan gently heat the lard and butter in the milk and water until it has melted, then bring rapidly to the boil.
Pour the water and dissolved fats immediately into the well in the flour and draw the ingredients together with a wooden spoon – then add in the beaten egg yolks to form a soft, pliable but not too sticky ball of dough – mix in a little bit of water if too dry, or add a little bit of flour if too wet.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead very gently until it is smooth and elastic – it is not like kneading bread dough, be gentle to distribute all the ingredients evenly throughout the dough. Cover and leave to rest in a warm place for 20-30 minutes – then chill in a fridge for two hours.
Making The Foots:
Fry the bacon in a frying pan with the butter and when cool cut up into small dice and place them into a large mixing bowl. Chop up the cheese and the boiled ham also into similar sized dice / chunks and then mix them into the mixing bowl with the bacon.
In the same frying pan gently fry off the chopped onion until translucent and golden and allow to cool. When cool add the onions to the mixing bowl and mix in with the bacon, cheese and ham.
Sprinkle over the meat and cheese filling in the bowl, and thoroughly mix in, the sea salt, black pepper and English mustard powder.
Note: We will be making two elliptical shapes out of the pastry, hence the name ‘foots’.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to form a large oval shape about 1 cm thick. Cut in half lengthwise and separate the two pastry pieces.
Take each piece of pastry and turn them around so the cut long side is away from you. Place a rolling pin across the middle of each one and roll away from you to remake an oval shape. This will leave half of the pastry nearest you still thick (called the ‘heel’) and half the pastry rolled away from you wider and thinner (called the ‘sole’).
Preheat the oven to 190C
Brush all around the edges of the ‘foots’ with milk to help seal the pasties. Then take half of the filling from the bowl and pile it up in the centre of each thicker ‘heel’.
Turn the thinner ‘soles’ over to enclose the filling, sealing the edges well.
Place the ‘foots’ on a greased baking sheet. Then brush all over the tops of the ‘foots’ with the beaten egg to glaze.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the foots are golden brown. Then remove from the oven – you can give a second egg wash near the end of baking to deepen the colour if you want.
You can serve Lancashire Foots or Collier’s Foots either warm or cold.