For Christmas at my house, in the 9 previous meat free Christmases we've been through a fair few different mains; quorn roast, various nut roasts and last year a filo pastry parcel. Aside from the first year, all of the mains have had the same 3 ingredients in common; mushrooms, chestnuts and cranberries - to me they scream Christmas and are a must! This year, our 10th meat free Xmas, I've decided to make a Christmas pie, with a Violife cheese & chive shortcrust pastry and filling of roasted butternut squash, mushrooms, chestnuts, cranberries, breadcrumbs and herbs - it's kind of a mix of a nut roast and stuffing in wonderful herby pastry and is just absolutely amazing.
Today I made the pie and then made a roast for my housemate & I later in the day, I'm thrilled to say the pie reheats really well, so it can be made the day before and reheated in about 15 minutes, just before the rest of the dinner is ready. I'm so excited for Christmas this year, being able to go home and see my family (and my dog), I just really can't wait and I especially can't wait for Christmas dinner, I have so much fun planning what I'm going to make and actually cooking it, to me there's no better gift than cooking someone a good meal to show your appreciation for them.
I made the crust using sieved wholemeal flour - so it's not as tough but still has some of the goodness of wholemeal flour, dairy free butter spread, dried chives and Violife cheddar slices - the pastry would still work without the cheese, but it's Christmas, so why not? The cheddar flavour Violife has a similarity to the cheddar flavour cheese strings, it's pretty mild but delivers that cheesy flavour really well and compliment the chives for a lovely pastry. The flavoured pastry makes this pie extra special and brings a savouriness to the pie; as the filling ingredients all have sweet notes to them, this balance works perfectly.
Vegan Christmas Pie | Serves: 6-8 | Time: 1 hour
- 25 cm/ 10" tart dish
- Baking tray
- Frying pan
- Spatula/wooden spoon
- Chopping board
- Mixing Bowl
- Rolling Pin
- Cup measures
- 1.5 cups sieved wholemeal plain flour (1.5 cups after sieving and removing tough bits)
- 1/2 cup dairy free butter spread
- 2 tbsp dried chives
- 60g (3 slices) violife cheddar
- Pinch salt
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 cups chopped butternut squash (1cm cubes)
- 1/2 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 150g chestnut mushrooms
- 180g vacuum packed chestnuts
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 slices wholemeal bread
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Pinch pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and grease the pie tin.
- Peel and chop the butternut squash and place on a baking tray with a splash of oil, pinch of salt and 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, roast for 20 minutes at 180°C,
- Sieve the flour, leaving the larger bits from the sieve out and measure 1.5 cups of the fine, sieved flour into the mixing bowl. Chop the Violife slices in to small squares (1/2cm) or grate if using the blocks and also add this to the bowl along with the chives, butter and a pinch of salt. Combine by rubbing the mixture between your fingers until there are no pieces of butter left and then add 2 tbsp of water to form the mixture into a ball, add more water or flour if needed. Roll the pastry out to fit in the pie dish, transfer to the dish then prick the base with a fork 10-15 times and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
- To make the pie filling finely chop and onion and add to a large frying pan with a splash of oil on a medium heat. Fry for a few minutes, then crush in the garlic, roughly chop the mushrooms, add these to the pan along with 1/2 tsp salt, a sprig of chopped rosemary, a pinch of pepper & a tsp of sage and fry for 5 minutes. Roughly chop the chestnuts and also add these to the pan along with the cranberry sauce and now roasted butternut squash. Blend 2 slices of bread and add to the mixture, taste & add more salt if needed. Transfer the mixture into the crust, smooth it out and bake for 25 minutes at 180°C. Slice into 6-8 pieces, serve up with your Christmas dinner and enjoy!
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