Why Simon Day hopes baking a bacon and egg pie will guide the Black Caps to glory tonight.
For a sport dominated by statistics, logic and precision, cricket is strangely superstitious. Every Tweet has a consequence, every movement away from the television affects the game thousands of kilometres away. Certain scores have magical properties. Nelson refers to an individual or team score of 111, or its multiples, and it is believed to bring bad luck. The late, great umpire David Shepherd would stand on one leg when any score sat on 111, in an attempt to offset the curse.
At the 2015 World Cup I took a bacon and egg pie to every Black Caps game I attended. Except one – the final at the MCG. At the first game against Sri Lanka in Christchurch my mother-in-law had baked for our small family group. I fed big crews at the quarter-final in Wellington, and the semi-final in Auckland. However, after travelling to Melbourne I was distracted with the excitement of the Black Caps finally making an appearance in the final, and I forgot to bake a pie. Five balls into the game the B&E pie had cursed the New Zealand team as Mitchell Starc bowled Brendon McCullum.
The reason I bake pies for the cricket is a celebration of the joy of watching this unique sport. Cricket is about spending an entire day at the oval, an eight-hour investment. People who complain about cricket being boring don’t understand how to appreciate the joy of its slow pace. Take a book, a transistor radio, a cushion and a picnic basket full of pies and cheese. This isn’t two hours at the rugby where you grab a punnet of greasy chips at half-time to hold you over.
Lord’s, the beautiful ground in northwest London, the site of the 2019 Cricket World Cup final between England and New Zealand, is the home of cricket and the heart of this culture of embracing a lavish day out. At Lord’s, they appreciate eating and drinking so much you’re permitted to bring six of your own beers or a bottle of wine. At the outer oval, they sell jugs of Pimm’s.
It’s the spiritual home of the bacon and egg cricket pie. The stripped MCC colours are described as “egg and bacon”, and the members are perhaps the best in the world at indulging at the cricket.
This is the recipe I’ll be using on Sunday night as I attempt to reverse the curse of the pie. They’re the perfect meal for an all-night cricket game. Fresh out the oven the make a great late-night snack full of protein for the big night ahead. And they’re just as good served eight hours later for breakfast.
Forget your PJs, bake a B&E pie in solidarity with the Black Caps. Reverse the curse.
WORLD CUP BACON & EGG PIE
- puff pastry
- 250g Freedom Farms streaky or shoulder bacon
- ½ an onion, diced
- 10 large Freedom Farms eggs
- 1 egg yolk beaten with a tablespoon of cold water (put the separated white into your pie so there’s no waste)
- salt and pepper to season
- NO PEAS OR CARROTS ALLOWED
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a pie dish with baking paper, then line the bottom and sides with pastry, trimming off the excess.
Cook the bacon in a frying pan for two minutes then add the onion and cook for a further five minutes, or until the onions and bacon are golden brown and starting to caramelise. Then let it cool slightly.
Break the eggs into the pie; drag a knife through about half of the yolks so they ooze into the whites
Season with salt and pepper.
Place the bacon and onion into the pie’s egg mix.
Make a lid with the remaining pastry, crimp the edges to seal, and stab holes in the lid. (At this point I like to use the excess pastry to make a bat and ball design on the lid.)
Brush the top of the pie using a pastry brush and the beaten egg yolk.
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Bake at 200°C for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
Serve warm or at room temperature with Wattie’s tomato sauce.
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The Spinoff’s food content is brought to you by Freedom Farms. They believe talking about food is nearly as much fun as eating it, and they’re excited to facilitate some good conversations around food provenance in Aotearoa New Zealand.