Savoury pumpkin pie
I urge you to buy a pumpkin and cook with it this week. They are astoundingly cheap, especially in the days after Halloween, and despite what you might think, you don’t need to be Edward Scissorhands to tackle one. I’m not a big fan of pumpkin pie as dessert, but this cheese-spiked version gets a lot of airtime in my kitchen.
1 tbsp olive oil
25g unsalted butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
450g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 15mm cubes
1 tsp coconut or light brown sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 lightly beaten egg, for brushing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
120g hard, nutty cheese, grated
25g parmesan, freshly grated (I use a vegetarian one)
A small bunch of sage leaves, fried
For the pasty
300g plain flour, I use spelt
30g cheddar, grated
150g unsalted butter, chilled, chopped
For the pastry, put the flour, cheddar and butter in a food processor with a pinch of salt. Process until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add 80ml chilled water and process until the mixture comes together to form a smooth ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Fry the onion in the oil and butter over a low heat for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the cubes of pumpkin and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.
Add about 125ml water and bring to a simmer. Cover, return the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft. Stir in the sugar and balsamic vinegar, then allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Roll out your pastry on a lightly floured board into a 30cm disc and put this on the prepared baking tray.
Put the cooled pumpkin mixture in a large bowl and mash it roughly, leaving a few bigger pieces for texture. Add 2 beaten eggs and season well with salt and black pepper, then stir in half the nutty hard cheese.
Sprinkle the remaining nutty hard cheese over the pastry, leaving a 2cm border. Fill the centre of the pastry with the pumpkin mixture, then fold over the 2cm border and roughly pleat. Brush the pastry edge with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
Serve the pie warm, garnished with fried sage leaves, if using.
IMAGE: Yuki Sugiura