Goodwill Pie

Christmas Day is all about lunch and this show stopper of a pie tastes even better than it looks. Like all good things (and Christmas dinners), it does require a bit of time and love but the beauty here is everything can happen at once. All the roasting can be done while you get on with the leeks and greens. The herb-spiked pastry is made with a little butter and cold water to keep it light and crispy. If you’re pushed for time or just want an extra hour in bed on Christmas morn, then a good-quality shop-bought shortcrust will work just fine. I have also made this pie countless times for my vegan brother and sister. When making the vegan version, I use vegetable shortening or coconut oil instead of butter and leave out the cheese. The pastry uses baking powder so you don’t need an egg and you can substitute soya milk to brush the pastry for a golden brown finish.


200g Lancashire cheese
1 organic or free-range egg, beaten, or soya milk for brushing

600g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
a small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked and very finely chopped
200g butter or vegetable shortening
up to 250ml ice-cold water

3 sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean a little butter or olive oil
a good few gratings of fresh nutmeg

5 medium beetroots, peeled and cut into rough cubes
olive oil
a splash of red wine vinegar
2 sprigs of fresh marjoram or oregano, leaves picked
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 parsnips, peeled and cut into little fingers
a couple of sprigs of fresh sage, leaves picked
zest of 1 unwaxed orange
1 tablespoon honey

25g butter or olive oil 2 good-sized leeks, washed, trimmed and sliced
3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked

2 heads of winter greens, stalks removed, roughly shredded
grated zest and juice of 1⁄2 an unwaxed lemon
1 red chilli, finely chopped

First make the pastry. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and add the chopped thyme. Cut the butter or shortening into small bits and rub these into the dry ingredients until you have a breadcrumb-like mix. Add the water and knead to a smooth dough, but don’t overwork it. You could also use a food processor: pulse to breadcrumbs, then add the water and pulse until it just comes together. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and chill while you get on with everything else.

Now get your veg on the go – all of this can happen at once. Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7.

Roast the sweet potatoes for 1 hour until soft. Meanwhile, prepare the beets and parsnips.

Pop the beets into a roasting tin, with a splash of olive oil and the vinegar, add the marjoram or oregano, and season. Cover with foil and roast alongside the sweet potatoes for 1 hour, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes.

Put the parsnips into a roasting dish with the sage, orange zest, honey and a drizzle of olive oil, mix to coat, then cover with foil. Roast with the other veg for 45 minutes, until golden, removing the foil for the last 5–10 minutes. When all the veg are cooked, remove from the oven and turn the temperature down to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6.

Meanwhile, cook the leeks. Heat the butter or oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the leeks and thyme and cook over a low heat for
20 minutes, until sweet and softened, then set aside.

Add a little more olive oil to the pan, add the greens and cook over a low heat for a few minutes, until just wilted. Season, then add the lemon zest and chilli. Set aside.

Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and mash with a knob of butter or 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a good grating of nutmeg. Adjust the seasoning for all the vegetable mixtures, if needed.

Take your pastry from the fridge and let it sit for a few minutes.
Then roll it out on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin and use it to line a 20cm springform cake tin, leaving the excess hanging over the edges.

Now it’s time to start layering the pie. Start with all the leeks, then
a grating of Lancashire cheese, then the beets, the greens, and another layer of cheese, then the parsnips and finally the sweet potato mash.

Finish by bringing the excess pastry over the top of the mash, twisting the ends and laying them on the mash in a haphazard fashion – the little rough bits of pastry will crisp up and look beautiful. The pastry may not cover the whole of the top, but a little vivid orange sweet potato poking through is ok. Brush with the beaten egg or some soya milk.

Bake the pie at the bottom of the oven for 35–40 minutes, until golden brown. Leave to cool for 15–20 minutes, then remove from the cake tin and place in the middle of the table. Serve with lashings of gravy.

Recipe taken from A Modern Way to Eat.
Image: Brian W Ferry

Posted: 21.10.15 32 Comments


Posted by Chrissie at 10:02 on the 29.10.15

Do you think this could be made up to folding the pastry over and then frozen? I like to prepare ahead!

Posted by Millie at 12:34 on the 02.11.15

Hi. I was just wondering if this pie is freezable? The pie sounds amazing and want to make it for boxing day!

Posted by Amaryllis @ at 2:13 on the 02.11.15

What a beautiful pie, Anna! So many gorgeous colours and delicious ingredients! Thanks so much for sharing it, I can’t wait to give it a go!

Posted by Sarah Burke at 8:37 on the 03.11.15

Seriously thinking of making this for Christmas Day but would it be possible to have it all ready the day before and then bake on the day itself? Thank you!

Posted by Clarissa at 5:37 on the 05.11.15

Is it possible to make this pie in advance? I have vegetarian guests on the day after Christmas but we will be out Christmas night and not back home until mid-morning.
If it could be made up and then baked on the day it would be perfect.

Posted by Rachel at 12:16 on the 08.11.15

This look fantstic. Could it be premade and frozen or kept in fridge before reheating?
Also can anyone recommend a recipy for vegitarian gravey?

Posted by Francesca at 12:56 on the 09.11.15

This looks absolutely delicious. If I make this for my Christmas dinner I think my meat-eating family will be sooo jealous!

Posted by Anna at 9:08 on the 09.11.15

Looks so amazing!!! Do you have a suggestion for a substitution of the Lancashire cheese to make it vegan? Or just leave it out entirely perhaps? Thanks!

Posted by Anna at 9:34 on the 18.11.15

Feel free to leave the cheese out – the veg are delicious filling on their own

Posted by Patricia Robertson at 7:07 on the 23.11.15

What is the third ingredient listed in your ‘The Best Ever Nut Roast With Pistachios And Cranberries’, please.

Posted by Anna at 1:33 on the 24.11.15

The pie should be fine to make the day before and then cook on the big day itself.

You can also make it and freeze it before cooking – just then defrost thoroughly before you put it in the oven.

Posted by Jane Giffin at 10:02 on the 08.12.15

Hi Anna
Apart from gravy, could you suggest an additional side dish to compliment the plate, or is this best served on its own with gravy?

Posted by Rachel at 12:07 on the 10.12.15

Hi. I have everything cooked and ready to assemble. Am I able to cook and then freeze? Also any suggestions for a vegetarian gravy?
Am really excited about this lovely vegetarian option for Christmas.

Posted by Will at 10:21 on the 19.12.15

Looks great for my newly vegetarian son

Posted by Pascale at 8:02 on the 28.12.15

Came onto this website to get this recipe as my sister made it at our Christmas family gathering and it was absolutely delicious! Served with roast spuds, salad and veggie gravy. Sublime and highly recommended. Plan to make and freeze in portions since I’m the only veggie in our house. Make it!

Posted by bb at 2:19 on the 31.12.15

I have made a few of this delicious pie.
First time i felt the pastry at the top was too much and did not cook well .
I was less generous the following times and it did work very well.
I had 21 people staying for the christmas festivities and the pies were eaten as a main for lunch , snacks with champagne at 6pm and complementary for a substantial english breakfast after long evenings blessed by to much wine :))


Posted by Camille at 7:47 on the 27.11.16

I am so making this. We eat meat but this looks so yum!!!

Posted by Harriet Price at 3:11 on the 17.12.16

Hello Anna, I have both your books and love your approach to food and your delicious recipes, thank you! Can you tell me if any part of your Goodwill Rainbow Pie can be frozen ahead of time? Or can any of it be made the day before? Thank you!

Posted by Lauren Tobia at 5:26 on the 31.12.16

We made this lovely pie .. all the carnivores wanted it too .. so it disappeared really quickly.. luckily we saved a slice or two from them and it was lovely cold Boxing Day. Thank you

Posted by Lauren Tobia at 5:28 on the 31.12.16

By the way we made it a day before and heated it up in the oven

Posted by Maggie at 2:30 on the 07.12.18

I cannot get Lancashire cheese anywhere ….please cld I use Red Leicester which is a sim strength , 2. Or should I use a tasty cheddar? Thank you .ps has anyone actually tried freezing this yet??

Posted by Julia at 12:40 on the 12.12.18

Hi Anna, like many others have already asked, can this pie be made ahead of time and frozen? If so what stage can it be frozen at? Also would you recommend a sauce or gravy to go with it?

Posted by Anna at 9:07 on the 14.12.18

Hello, thanks for all the comments/ questions.

With freezing, you can ,make all the elements and pastry then freeze separately, then assemble and cook on the day. Left overs will freeze nicely in slices.

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Dipika Ruwala at 1:06 on the 21.12.18

Can it be made a day early and then reheated on Christmas day ?thanks

Posted by Lorraine at 11:41 on the 26.12.18

Made this Christmas Day and added roast sprouts . It was beautiful and everyone , even the carnivores, enjoyed it . Thank u x

Posted by Rachel Hamilton at 11:14 on the 05.08.19

Can I freeze this pie and what is the best way to make the pastry wheat free?

Posted by Anna Jones at 12:27 on the 19.11.19

Hi Rachel,

With freezing, you can ,make all the elements and pastry then freeze separately, then assemble and cook on the day. Left overs will freeze nicely in slices.

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Emma at 5:31 on the 05.12.19

I make this pie every year for Christmas Day, it’s delicious! Thank you Anna!

Posted by abigail at 3:39 on the 15.12.19

Has anyone an answer to how to make this vegan/dairyfree and sub out the cheese please – my daughter has a dairy allergy. We are vegetarian and looking for something delicious for christmas day!!

Posted by Sophie at 1:05 on the 17.12.19

I need to make my sister a vegetarian gluten free option for Christmas dinner this year, and was wondering if anyone had any experience of building this in a springform tin without the pastry case? How wet is it? Would it hold up without the pastry holding it in? Thanks!

Posted by Tracey at 3:29 on the 09.11.20

Can you prepare the night before and clingfilm and then cook on Christmas day ? Can it be frozen ? Thanks

Posted by Dai at 2:15 on the 30.12.21

I’ve made this pie loads. You can make EVERY element in advance and then assemble on the day (takes about 10 minutes). It’s just vegetables innit! If you assemble in advance your pastry can get quite soggy. You can freeze it too. You can also sub lots of veg in and out: Celeriac, swede, turnip (!), carrot, cabbages, kales, etc. Just remember to add a spice or herb and a bit of zing to each layer. I made it with a parsnip and cashew cream puree instead of cheese once and it was alright, although I think there would be better options. Thanks Anna, a real winner!

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