Celebratory Celeriac + Sweet Garlic Pie

This has been my Christmas centrepiece for the last couple of years. It is everything I want in a pie: a Cheddar and winter herb flaky pastry; a creamy filling, sweet with balsamic garlic and roasted celeriac; and a crisp grated celeriac roof. This high-sided pie takes a little time, but at Christmas I think that’s okay.

I’ll normally make it on Christmas Eve, ready to bake on Christmas Day.



250g plain spelt flour, plus a little extra for dusting
125g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
a few sprigs each of rosemary, thyme and sage, leaves picked and finely chopped
the zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
25g good Cheddar, grated
1 medium egg yolk
50–70ml cold water


3 heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon runny honey
2 sprigs each of rosemary, thyme and sage, leaves picked and finely chopped, plus extra to finish
1kg celeriac
220g Lancashire or good Cheddar cheese, crumbled
150g crème fraîche
the juice of 1⁄2 a lemon
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
a small bunch of parsley, chopped
Worcestershire sauce
2 organic eggs, beaten

Put the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and salt. Rub gently with your fingertips until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs. Stir through the herbs, lemon zest and Cheddar.

Beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Add to the flour and mix until it forms a dough. Add more water, a teaspoon at a time, until it comes together into a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge while you make the filling.

For the filling, put the cloves of garlic into a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 2–3 minutes, then drain.

Wipe the saucepan dry. Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry on a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and 100ml water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Add the honey, most of the rosemary and thyme (reserving the rest, with the sage) and a good pinch of salt. Continue to cook on a medium heat for a further 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the garlic cloves are coated in a dark syrup.

Meanwhile, peel the celeriac and cut it into quarters. Set aside 300g and slice the rest into 2cm-thick pieces. Put them into a saucepan, cover with hot water and boil for 7–10 minutes, until they are soft and have turned slightly translucent.

Drain and tip into a big mixing bowl. Add the cheese, crème fraîche, lemon juice, mustard, parsley, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and eggs. Add a good pinch of salt and grind of pepper and gently fold in the garlic cloves.

Preheat the oven to 180oC/160oC fan/gas 4. Sprinkle flour onto a work surface and roll out the pastry to 3–4mm thick. Line a 20cm-diameter cake tin with the pastry, ensuring a little spills over the edges.

Pour the filling into the pastry case. Coarsely grate the reserved celeriac and pile it on top. Finish with the reserved rosemary and thyme, all the sage, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes or until the tart filling has set and the top is golden brown.

Remove from the oven, leave to cool a little, then take it out of the tin. Lay a few herbs on top and serve warm.

IMAGE: Ana Cuba

Posted: 30.10.18 19 Comments


Posted by Christine at 4:29 on the 26.11.18

This looks great. Can you make it Christmas Eve and bake on the big day or can you freeze it?

Posted by Maggie at 1:34 on the 05.12.18

WOw another great pie recipe from Anna. The goodwill one freezes beautifully. Will the creme fraiche affect the freezing of this one please?

Posted by Lyndsay at 10:48 on the 05.12.18

Can you freeze this pie? There is only two of us on Xmas Day.

Posted by Margaret at 11:30 on the 06.12.18

Because it has creme fraiche in it, will it still freeze please

Posted by Anna at 9:37 on the 11.12.18

I have never frozen this recipe and usually just make it the day before we eat it, but if you’d like to make and freeze before the big day, you can freeze the pastry, and the garlic and celeriac filling (before the creme fraiche step) and then defrost and finish before baking. Hope you enjoy it

Posted by Karen at 2:00 on the 30.12.18

How should it be inside? Like quiche or more moist?

Posted by Lyndsey at 10:59 on the 23.03.19

Hi Anna, could this pie be vegan-ised and if so could you let me know how?

Posted by Danielle Thomas at 7:21 on the 05.10.19

I tried making this recipe but couldn’t get the filling to set. Do you know why that might be?

Posted by Stephanie Conn at 10:49 on the 17.03.20

Mine didn’t set either and I was really careful with the measurements because I read that comment from someone else. Could it be it needs more eggs, or could our eggs be smaller?

Posted by Olya at 8:21 on the 09.05.20

Did it over 2 days. Used Greek yogurt instead of crème fresh and French cheese instead of cheddar.
It came out beautifully – almost exactly like on the picture (I wish I could attach my picture:)
The pastry it fab. The feeling doesn’t get set in the way you’d expect it to but it still is SO delicious and satisfying. I’ve been off meat for the past few months and find it challenging to get that warm satisfaction from food. This recipe ticked all the boxes.
Thank you Anna !

Posted by Jackie at 2:29 on the 12.05.20

This celebration pie is just perfect. The flavours are wonderful and comforting!

Posted by Jan at 7:51 on the 27.10.20

This is a wonderful recipe. So wonderful actually, that my mother-in-law wants to have the recipe… Do you happen to know, in which GERMAN book I can find this recipe?
Thanks for all the great inspirations!


Posted by Lottie at 4:03 on the 12.12.20

Just baked this today and it’s mouth-wateringly delicious . Thanks so much 🙂 Next will be the nut roast to try .

Posted by Sophie at 2:11 on the 24.12.20

I couldn’t get celeriac at this time of year in Australia so I replaced it with Celery, but it was still SO delicious! Made Christmas for Vegetarians special. Thank you!

Posted by Laura at 9:39 on the 22.11.21

BE CAREFUL! You need to use a vegetarian Worcestershire sauce. Most of the big brands contain anchovies, so read the labels to avoid ruining Christmas for your veggie relatives!

Posted by Margaret at 7:47 on the 07.12.21

Do you think this could be veganised with walnut pastry, vegan cream and flax seed substitutes?
Thanks in advance

Posted by ewa kim at 8:59 on the 18.12.21

sorry but is the pastry really only 3-4 mm thick? that seems very thin?

Posted by Paul at 5:22 on the 26.12.21

This is a quite fabulous dish!

Posted by Paul Grayston at 2:08 on the 07.01.22

This is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever cooked! Brilliant with roast potatoes and some tender stem broccoli.

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