There was a free booklet in the paper this weekend of recipes by the delicious Paul Hollywood from his new book all about British baking. Among all the lovely sounding regional breads, pies and buns were a few really unusual ones, including the Sussex churdle. Apparently a churdle is a type of pie, the word maybe coming from the word to churn or turn over… and the different thing about this pie is that it is filled with liver and bacon… how traditionally English can you get?! It sounds like a really hearty, filling and satisfying country pie, the sort you might eat if you’d stopped for lunch after a hard day’s work ploughing or getting in the harvest.
A churde, which is a really old, maybe dating as far back as the seventeenth century, is made with hot-water crust pasty using strong flour; the mixture of chopped, lightly cooked liver, bacon, and herbs, sometimes with the addition of apple or mushrooms, is put onto a circle of pastry, the sides pulled up round it and pinched together and with a topping of grated cheese and breadcrumbs. After it’s rested in the fridge for a couple of hours or even over night, it’s baked and then served warm or at room temperature.
I actually read about a churdle once before when I was researching a dragon-slaying hero; however, when I wrote about the brave slayer, I missed out the bit in the story where the hero bakes a great pie which he gives to the dragon, laced with deadly nightshade and poisonous toadstools – that pie was a churdle! If you want to read about the pie-eating dragon, here’s a link to it:
If you want Paul Hollywood’s book: