Christmas Pie

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Getting these little pies out of their ramekins may be a more stressful experience than you would like on Christmas Day, but nevertheless they have earned a place on my menu for the big day.  On the plus side, they can be made a day in advance and chilled in the fridge, they look quite impressive and festive with the little star cutouts, and they are delicious.  I’ve been trialling a few options for Christmas Dinner, and this is definitely the front runner.

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The pies can be easily veganised by using soy milk for the pastry and glaze, margarine or oil for frying and soy cream instead of creme fraiche.  I couldn’t get hold of chestnuts when I made them, but will definitely use them on the day itself for an added festive touch.  I served them with parsnip mash, sprouts, cranberry sauce and gravy, and on the 25th I think I’ll go all out with the roasted vegetable accompaniments.  Only 23 days to go now!

Christmas Pie (22)

Christmas Pie

Serves 4, adapted from BBC GoodFood

Ingredients:

1 large leek, thinly sliced

25g butter/vegan margarine

100g mushrooms, finely chopped

1 tsp dried thyme

100g potatoes, grated

100g green lentils (rinsed and drained from a can is fine – cooked, otherwise)

4 tbsp creme fraiche/soy cream

100g chestnuts (vacuum packed)

2 tsp cranberry sauce

For the pastry:

200g plain flour

100g vegetarian suet

1/2 tsp salt

8-10 tbsp milk/non-dairy milk

1 egg, beaten (for egg wash only; alternatively, use non-dairy milk)

Method:

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1.  Preheat the oven to 220C.  Make the filling first.  Heat the butter in a pan and fry the leek for 5-7 minutes until soft.

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2.  Add the mushrooms and thyme and fry for a further 5 minutes.

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3.  Add the grated potato, stir through and heat for another minute.

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4.  Add the lentils, chestnuts and creme fraiche.  Heat for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the cranberry sauce.  Set aside.

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5.  Make the pastry:  whiz the flour, suet and salt in a food processor.

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6.  Add the milk a spoonful at a time – you may not need it all.  Bring the dough together into a ball.

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7.  Roll out a quarter of the dough on a lightly floured surface.  Cut out 4 lids big enough to fit around a ramekin dish.  Use a small star cutter to cut out a star shape from each lid.  Set aside.

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8.  Grease some strips of baking paper and use them to line 4 ramekins – these should in theory help you to pull the pies out.

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9.  Roll out the rest of the pastry and use it to line the ramekins – you can leave an overhang.

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10.  Fill the pastry cases with the filling.

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11.  Top each pie with a lid, rolling the pastry overhang in.  Seal the edges with a fork and brush the tops with egg.

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12.  Bake the pies for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven.  Use the paper strips to life the pies from their ramekins – one of mine came out, the other didn’t, but both cooked fine.  Brush the pastry stars with egg, add them to the baking tray and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes until everything is well cooked.

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