During the festive season with a vegetarian at the table needs some fancy food that sits nicely with the trimmings of the festive meal. This is the hit of this Christmas but could be used any time of year – in the summer it could be served with a salad or an interesting coleslaw like the one I served with a Cornish Pasty.
This recipe was adapted from my Christmas Cookery Book – Nigel Slater’s Christmas Chronicles. The recipe was a pie with hot smoked fish but worked very well omitting the fish to make a delicious and beautiful looking veggie pie suitable for a special occasion.
This generous pie served 5 with leftovers (which warmed up nicely a couple of days later):
300g creme fraiche
3 heaped tablespoons plain flour
300g new potatoes (or any small waxy potato)
4 tablespoons olive oil
Chopped fresh herbs – parsley and tarragon are recommended, you could use dried or frozen herbs.
A block of puff pastry
Nigella or sesame seeds to garnish (optional)
Cut the leeks into discs and washed thoroughly and put them in a heavy based pan with the butter on a medium heat. Cover the leeks with a piece of parchment and a lid to allow them to steam and soften without browning for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the flour to the leeks and stir to coat the leeks evenly in the flour and cook the flour a little. Spoon in the creme fraiche and cook gently for 5 min, stirring gently.
Slice the potatoes into discs about the same thickness as a pound coin (a bit thicker than a 1 Euro coin). Warm the olive oil in a frying pan and saute the potatoes over a medium heat on both sides until they are golden brown and soft inside.
Fold the potatoes into the creamy leeks then set aside to cool – using hot or warm filling makes it difficult to make the pie.
Heat the oven to 200C. Lay a second baking tray upside down on a shelf in the oven.
Half your pastry. Roll out each half into a large rectangle approximately 22cm x 32cm. Put the first half onto a piece of baking parchment on a baking tray. Put the now cool filling in a long rectangle in the centre leaving a wide border. You need to seal the edges well otherwise the filling will leak out during cooking.
Brush this border with egg, lay the second piece of pastry over the filling and seal the edges well. Brush the pie with egg and sprinkle with seeds if you would like. Put a little hole in the centre of the pie. Place the baking tray with your masterpiece on top of the baking tray that you placed in the oven earlier. Bake for 40min until golden.
When it is ready, leave to rest for a few minutes and then slide onto a serving dish.