Onion Pie for The King

Shelia Senghas


Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie... I found this recipe by Hannah Glasses, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, Revised Edition of 1796, United States Historical Research Service, Schenectady, New York, 1994, while researching historic recipes. It was a recipe that was served in middle, and upper class societies in England and was a favorite of the King. No, there are no blackbirds, however, I had an abundance of onions and it sounded intriguing so I baked it. The apples and onions sweeten the potatoes and eggs, and the butter and seasonings tie everything together.


★★★★★ 1 vote

45 Min
40 Min



  • 4 small
    yukon gold potatoes (i only had russet)
  • 2 large
    granny smith apples ( i only had red delicious)
  • 2 medium
    yellow onions
  • 8 large
    eggs (boiled)
  • 3 tsp
    kosher salt (i used plain salt)
  • 1 tsp
    pepper (freshly cracked)
  • 1/2
    freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 4 oz
  • 1
    double pie crust. i used cin's, aunt maxine poling's fool-proof recipe for pie crust

How to Make Onion Pie for The King


  1. Gather ingredients.
    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Boil the eggs until done then set aside to cool. Slice the eggs in ¼ inch slices.
  3. Slice the onions ¼ inch thick.

    Mix the salt, pepper, nutmeg and mace to together in a single bowl and set aside.
  4. Roll out the bottom crust and set it into the pie pan.

    Pare and slice the potatoes, and apples. Place the apples and potatoes in a bowl of water to prevent oxidation. When you are ready to fill the pie lay them on a kitchen towel and blot dry.
  5. Begin the layers from the bottom up with potatoes, then eggs, then apples and then onions. Sprinkle each layer with a little of the seasoning and little bits of butter. Continue filling and seasoning the pie until you are out of ingredients.
    Put a top crust on the pie and crimp the edges. Cut 4 or 5 slashes on top crust to allow steam to vent out.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden brown.

    NOTE: I used ingredients I had on hand, however, I can see the advantage of using tart apples as it will add greatly to the recipe. The use of Mace and Nutmeg makes this recipe, "Not for the faint of heart." I am including the 18th Century version below.

    18th Century Version

    Wash and pare some potatoes and cut them in slices, peel some onions, cut them in slices, pare some apples and slice them, make a good crust, cover your dish, lay a quarter of a pound of butter all over, take a quarter of an ounce of mace beat fine, a nutmeg grated, a tea-spoonful of beaten pepper, three tea-spoonfuls of salt; mix all together, strew some over the butter, lay a layer of potatoes, a layer of onions, a layer of apples, and a layer of eggs, and so on till you have filled your pie, strewing a little of the seasoning between each layer, and a quarter of a pound of butter in bits, and six spoonfuls of water; close your pie, and bake it an hour and a half. A pound of potatoes, a pound of onions, a pound of apples, and twelve eggs will do.

Printable Recipe Card

About Onion Pie for The King

Main Ingredient: Potatoes
Regional Style: English

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