Lovely friend, Louise, gave me this recipe, and it’s as reliably delicious as all her vegetarian suggestions. Not sure where she found it, but it’s a winner for Christmas – or any festive occasion for that matter.
Be prepared for lots of ingredients so it’s not the quickest of recipes, but it’s fun to make, and the result is sooo worth it!
Allow time and put on some good background music.
Serves about 8. Use a 18cm/7” spring form cake tin
Olive oil for a gentle fry
3 large, or 5 small leeks, finely sliced
Leaves from 4 rosemary sprigs, chopped
leaves from 4 thyme sprigs, chopped
4 garlic cloves, squeezed or finely chopped
250g/9oz chestnut or Portobello mushrooms, chopped
8 sage leaves, torn
¼ tsp dried chilli (optional)
600g/1lb5oz raw pecans, cashews and almonds/hazelnuts
150g/5.5oz Gruyere cheese, grated
3 organic or free-range eggs
150g/5.5oz dried cranberries
125g/4.5oz frozen cranberries
125g/4.5oz plain flour
150g/5.5oz wholemeal flour
1 organic/free-range egg, plus another egg for glazing
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp yeast flakes
1 tbsp plain flour
some chopped rosemary
500ml/18fl oz vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and grease your 18cm spring form cake tin.
Heat the oil and gently fry the leeks, rosemary and thyme until the leeks are softened, stirring occasionally; about 10-15 minutes.
Add the garlic, then the mushrooms and sage. Stir until the mushrooms are well coated and also softened.
Transfer to a large bowl and set aside, reserving 2 tbsp of this mixture to go into your gravy.
Roast the nuts for about 10-15 minutes until coloured, but watch so they don’t burn. Blitz them to a coarse powder in the food processor, then add these to your leek mix.
Mix in the grated gruyere cheese, then sea salt and pepper to taste. Add the eggs and combine well.
Such an easy pastry, and delicious!
Heat the water and butter in a small pan over ‘medium’ until the mixture just begins to boil.
Mix the flours, salt and egg in a bowl then add the melted butter/water and mix together very quickly until combined. The mixture should be moist but not so it won’t leave your hands (so add a little extra flour if this is the case, but keep it moist).
Shape the dough into a ball and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Tear off about 1/5 of the pastry and set aside (I found this instruction a bit awkward; you need enough to be rolled into a ‘lid’ for your pie so you may want to do what I did and quickly do a rough start to rolling, to get a rough idea if it’ll be enough).
Knead the remaining pastry briefly and roll out onto a floured work surface until it’s a large enough circle to line your cake tin and sides. Trim so it has about a 1 cm border as you will ‘pinch’ this with the ‘lid’ that you add later on. Don’t fret if the pastry splits, just squeeze it back as it’s very forgiving.
Spoon half the filling into the tin, pressing down tightly, then tip over the dried cranberries and press down a little. Finish with the rest of the filling, pressing down well.
Roll the reserved pastry into your lid circle, again so it has a 1 cm border. Place it over the top and crimp the lid onto the pie to seal, trimming any excess.
Cut a slit in the middle to let out any steam, glaze with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until the pie is golden-brown.
Remove the pie from the oven, glaze the top again and top with the frozen cranberries (try to keep the cranberries in a neat bundle in the centre of the pie – you can see that mine didn’t ‘stick’ to the egg glaze, and they marbled around the top – still delicious!)
Melt the butter and add those 2 tbsp of mushroom and leek that you put aside in the beginning. Add the tomato puree and stir on a low heat until it changes colour to a deeper brown.
Make a paste with the flour and some water then add it, the yeast flakes and rosemary to the pan, gradually adding the stock. Bring to the boil, then season with salt and pepper.
Simmer for about 10 minutes until it thickens, then either serve as is, or strain it for a smoother gravy.