Broad Bean Top Pie

For some reason this is called Top Hat Pie in our house. No idea why. Several people asked what to do with broad bean tops once you’ve pinched them out, and apart from stir-frying them, this is our favourite recipe.

First pinch out your broad beans – this stops them getting blackfly. Once they’ve set bean pods at the bottom, you can take out the top growth with your finger and thumb. This encourages the pods to fill and stops the beans getting taller (and therefore prone to blow over in gales like the current one!).

Broad bean tops have a texture a little like spinach and a flavour like broad beans but with an added component of fragrance (as if you’d put a drop of Anais Anais in the cooking water) that is a reminder of the wonderful scent of the flowers.


• 1 pack chilled puff pastry (you’d have to be mad to make your own!)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil (for greasing and frying)
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• Around 350 grams (uncooked weight) broad bean tops, washed and shaken
• 3 hard boiled eggs
• 150 grams sliced mushrooms
• A good pinch of dill
• An even better pinch of thyme
• You own favourite cheese sauce (if you don’t make cheese sauce, try combining a tub of marscapone with a good soft piece of brie and beating them together – instant cheesy goo!)
• 75 grams strong Cheddar.


Oil a casserole dish. Bring a large saucepan to the boil and steam the broad bean tops for around 5 – 7 minutes. They change colour from light to dark when ready. Put them in a colander and push out any excess water you can.

Lightly fry the mushrooms with the garlic and herbs. While you are doing this, preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Strew a layer of mushrooms in the bottom of the dish, top slices of egg, then half the broad bean tops, then a layer of Cheddar and half the cheese sauce. Repeat the process.

Roll out the pastry and cut a circle to cover the dish, making a good sized vent in the centre to allow steam to escape. If you are posh, brush with beaten egg.

Put the casserole on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes before reducing heat to 180 degrees for a further 20 minutes.

Delicious hot or cold, but quite gooey, so don’t take it to a picnic!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, May 23, 2011


Anonymous Ali Edwards said...

That sounds lovely - shame on me for never having though to eat the tops! Too busy concentrating on the beans. Ours are really behind this year, as we were in the process of replacing our greenhouse and couldn't get an early start. Will file this away for when we've got some tops to eat!

May 23, 2011 at 7:05 AM  
Blogger Pegg said...

That sounds delicious! I put six broad bean plants in at the weekend so I'll have a few weeks to look forward to trying it.

May 24, 2011 at 4:45 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Ali, Pegg, I think you'll be delighted - broad bean tops are a real delicacy in our house. They have an incredible flavour.

May 25, 2011 at 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Mark Hubbard said...

This looks divine Kay. Copying and pasting.

(I'm trying to get my life organised and a vege garden in again - now we've left quake central - up in a place called the Marlborough Sounds. It's clay hill country down to the sea; pointless trying to grow a vege garden in it, so I'm planning on spending winter getting raised bedding structures in, filling them with good soil, then finally getting back to vege gardening again. So you've got a fan back :) )

June 1, 2011 at 12:01 AM  

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