â€¦Christmas time, mistletoe and wineâ€¦
Yes, mistletoe and wine will certainly be present at our home on Christmas day. Although every year, the main question is, what to make for the Christmas meal?
As we celebrate the Christmas Eve as the main festive day or better said evening, quite often I happily skip any cooking on the Christmas day and savour the delicious leftovers from Christmas Eve throughout the entire festive period. After all, they are so special and delicious that enjoying them on one night only doesnâ€™t seem enough.
Although, especially when guests are due to arrive, itâ€™s nice to have something special for the Christmas day. How about this wonderfully colourful and amazingly flavoursome pie? I admit, it does require a bit of time, but you can prepare it in advance and itâ€™s actually not too difficult. And it looks absolutely gorgeous on the table. This is definitely a dish to impress your guests.
What else do you need for a wonderful Christmas day..?
â€¦Love and laughter and joy ever afterâ€¦
Ps. Inspiration for this recipe came from this website although I modified the ingredients list and preparation method quite a bit as I was making it.
For the filling
1 small pumpkin or squash, about 1kg (I used harlequin pumpkin), peeled and cubed
240g fresh spinach leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
150g brown mushrooms, sliced
20g dried porcini mushrooms
650ml vegetable stock
100g feta cheese
125g ricotta cheese
Bunch of fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
0.5tsp ground nutmeg
For the pastry
600g plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 200C/ gas mark 6.
Prepare the baking tin (e.g. a loaf tin), brush it with a little oil and lay with a double layer of aluminium foil across the length, ensuring itâ€™s longer than the length of the tin and sticks out, so that you can lift the pie by pulling the foil when itâ€™s ready.
Brush the prepared pumpkin with a little olive oil and grill for about 30 minutes until tender.
Heat remaining oil in a large pan and cook the onion for 3-5 minutes until golden. Add one garlic clove and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
To make the buckwheat layer, put half of the cooked onion and garlic in a large pan (set aside the other half) add the brown mushrooms and dried porcini mushrooms and the buckwheat to the pan. Cook for a few minutes, then pour in the stock and bring to boil. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until the buckwheat is tender and there is no liquid left. Season to taste with salt and pepper and leave aside.
Meanwhile, to prepare the pumpkin layer, mix the feta cheese with the remaining onion and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently fold with the thyme and roasted pumpkin.
For the spinach layer, pour some boiling water over the spinach, to wilt. Drain well and squeeze out the excess of water as much as you can. Roughly chop, then mix into the ricotta mixture and minced garlic glove. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
To make the pie, in a small saucepan melt the butter with milk and 150ml of water. In a large bowl mix the flour and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix with a large spoon until combined. Then knead with your hand until the mixture is relatively smooth.
Take two-thirds of the pastry dough, place it onto a slightly floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle, so that you can line the tin with it.
Ease the rolled out dough into the tin, pressing well into the corners. Spoon the buckwheat layer into it and smooth the surface with a spoon, then add the spinach layer and finally the pumpkin layer.
Roll out the remaining pastry into a smaller rectangle, to create the cover. Brush the edges with a bit of beaten egg, then press the pastry lid over the top. Trim the excess and pinch to seal.
The pie can be prepared the day before, if so, cover it with a tea towel and chill in the fridge until ready to bake.
Preheat oven to 200C / gas mark 6.
Brush the surface of the pie with some more beaten egg.
Bake the pie for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180C /gas mark 4 and bake for a another 60-90 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and feels hard.
Gently take out the pie, using the foil strips to lift out carefully.