Halloumi, lemon & caramelised onion pie

I dream about this pie. Greek flavours of dried mint and halloumi, lemon and sesame seeds. This is a pie that’s good cold and travels well, so it is perfect for a picnic. In summer I eat it with tomatoes and lemony green salad and in winter I serve it with buttered greens with nutmeg and little crisp, lemony roast potatoes. I have given two filling options here, one for vegans (using vegan halloumi-style cheese and chickpeas in place of the eggs) and one with halloumi.

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little extra for greasing
6 white onions, thinly sliced
1⁄4 teaspoon soft brown sugar
the juice of 1⁄2 unwaxed lemon

320g ready-rolled shortcrust pastry (most brands are vegan unless ‘all-butter’ is stated on the packaging)
1⁄2 a 400g tin chickpeas, drained and half the liquid from the tin reserved
1 teaspoon dried mint
leaves from small bunch of mint, picked and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, grated
the zest of an unwaxed lemon
200g block of vegan halloumi-style cheese (sometimes called ‘Mediterranean-style’)

320g ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
3 organic eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon dried mint
leaves from most of small bunch of mint, picked and roughly chopped
the zest of an unwaxed lemon
225g halloumi
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

4 spring onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
12 green olives, pitted
leaves from a few sprigs of mint (use the rest from the bunch above)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon honey or agave

green salad (optional)
red wine vinegar-dressed tomatoes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.

While the oven is warming, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and when it’s hot, add the onions. Add a pinch of salt and use a wooden spoon to break them up a bit and stir so every piece has touched the oil. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 20 minutes until the onions are completely soft. Add the brown sugar and cook for another 5 minutes until the onions begin to colour. Finally, squeeze in the lemon juice and continue to cook for another 5 minutes until the onions are glossy and golden all over.

Lightly grease a 20cm x 30cm baking tray or loose-bottomed cake tin with olive oil and line with baking paper (the oil will keep the paper stuck to the sides and will prevent a wobbly pastry). Unroll the shortcrust pastry and press it down into the base of the tin or tray and up the sides. Lay another sheet of paper over the top and fill with baking beans. Place in the preheated oven to bake blind for 15 minutes, then lift out the beans and paper and return the pastry to the oven to cook the base through for another 4–5 minutes (the pastry should look pale and dry all over, with no raw, grey patches).

While the pastry is baking, mix your filling.

For the vegan filling
In a mixing bowl, blitz the half-tin of chickpeas and half the liquid from the tin together with a hand-held blender until smooth. Stir in the dried and fresh mint, Dijon mustard, garlic and lemon zest. Grate in most of the halloumi-style cheese and stir to combine. Season well with pepper (you shouldn’t need salt as the chickpeas and cheese will be quite salty already).

For the non-vegan filling
In a mixing bowl, combine the beaten eggs together with the dried and fresh mint and lemon zest, then grate in most of the halloumi. Season well with black pepper.
Spread the caramelised onions over the par-baked pastry and use a spatula to help the onions reach all four corners. Spread your filling over the top of the onions and, again, spread out with a spatula (the pastry should hold the filling snugly), then grate over the last bit of halloumi and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top. Return to the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, soak the spring onions in cold water to remove some of their intensity. Drain, then place in a mixing bowl. Roughly chop the olives and mint, add these too, then stir in the vinegar and honey or agave.

Remove the pie from the oven and leave for 5 minutes before topping with the green olive salsa.

Posted: 26.04.23 2 Comments


Posted by pamela woodroffe at 4:30 on the 05.05.23

I am not sure if you meant fresh mint as you mentioned a bunch. It sounds delicious

Posted by Julie at 5:35 on the 06.05.23

Could I make this in advance, I’m doing the halloumi version. If so would it be best to re heat it before I serve?

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