Take inspiration from the land girls for your VE Day celebrations and have a go at Philippa Davis' homity pie

Homity pie was created by the land girls during World War II, when potatoes were one of the few ingredients in plentiful supply. Have a go at Philippa Davis’ recipe in celebration of VE Day.

Learn how to grow your own potatoes to avoid a disappointing supermarket selection, read how to grow early harvest potatoes. And it is an ingredient impossible to go wrong with, so try our pheasant, leek and potato soup with cream and cognac.


This recipe was created during World War II by the fabulous land girls. Potatoes were one of the few plentiful ingredients and calorie-rich food was highly encouraged.

You will need a 23cm (inner diameter) deep pie dish.


  • 200g wholemeal flour
  • 100g cold salted butter, grated on the large side of the cheese grater
  • 1 tsp dried sage or thyme
  • 2-3 tbsp iced cold water


  • 500g waxy potatoes, scrubbed not peeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g leeks, washed and sliced into 1cm rings
  • 50ml plain flour
  • 300ml milk
  • 150g double cream
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tbsp parsley, dried or fresh
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 100g cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

For the pastry, in a bowl, mix the flour with the butter, some freshly ground black pepper and the dried herb. Rub through your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add 2 tablespoons water and start bringing it into a ball; add more water if necessary.

Roll out into a circle and line the pie dish. Chill in the fridge.

For the filling, slice the potatoes into 1½ cm discs.

Place in a pan of cold, salted water and bring to a simmer.

Cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are just soft.

Drain well then tip into a large mixing bowl and leave to one side.

Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5.

In a pan with a lid season then sauté the leeks in the oil for a couple of minutes. Place the lid on and steam until soft – about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle over the flour and stir, then add the milk, cream, mustard, parsley, bay leaves and cheese, lightly season and stir well. Cook on a low heat until the mix just starts to bubble.

Remove bay leaves then tip onto the potatoes, stir well, then mix in the eggs.

Pour into the pie dish and bake on a middle shelf for 40 minutes.

Once cooked, leave for 20 minutes before cutting and serving. Eat hot or cold.