Friday, June 21, 2013

Miss Kitty Bakes: pumpkin, leek and feta pie with olive oil pastry

It's been a bit of a tough fortnight in the Kitty house - we have all been laid up with colds and it has hit some (me) harder than others (Georgie and Mr K). As a result, I have really felt like food that is full of goodness and supremely tasty (to make up for my loss of tastebuds).

I first saw this recipe last week and was intrigued. The only pumpkin pies I have ever had the pleasure of eating have been sweet rather than savory. And then there's the issue of Mr K believing a meal is not a meal without meat. Despite these challenges I pressed on, convincing him to try and give it a go.

I will say, it is a bit of a time investment, but it's definitely worth the effort. The pastry is vegan (shhhhh!! Don't tell Mr K!!) containing just flour, water, olive oil and salt. Very easy to make and easy to work with. Once cooked, it is firm in texture with no butter to shorten the pastry and is more reminiscent of a bread casing than traditional pastry. The filling takes a bit more time to prepare but it's definitely delicious. The combination of the leeks, pumpkin and cheese make for a yummy flavour combination and the addition of walnuts give it a welcome crunch.

Mr K has agreed to trial one meat free day a week, so long as we keep eating vegetarian meals as good at this one. The challenge is now on! Having said that, we did have to eat steak tonight for dinner... But no matter, we start small and work from there!!

Pumpkin, leek and feta pie with olive oil pastry
(Recipe from Karen Martini on

Short olive-oil pastry
500g plain flour
½ tsp salt
60ml extra virgin olive oil
250ml cold water

Pie Filling
1.5kg kent (jap) pumpkin, seeded, peeled and cut in 2cm dice
Salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Knob of butter
2 leeks, white part only, finely sliced
5 eggs
60g grana padano parmesan, grated (the original recipe called for 120g but I felt half the amount was more than sufficient)
200g feta
4 gratings nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A handful walnuts, toasted and roughlychopped

1. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees fan-forced, 185 degrees conventional.

2. To make the pastry, whiz the flour and salt in a food processor. Drizzle in the oil, then add 250ml of cold water while processing until a ball forms.

3. Tip onto a floured surface and knead briefly until you have a smooth ball. Rest in the fridge for an hour, wrapped in cling film.

4. Season the pumpkin with salt and pepper, toss in oil and roast until well cooked and the flesh has dried out and concentrated, about 30-40 minutes — the pumpkin should not colour too much. Leave to cool.

5. While the pumpkin cooks, melt the butter in a small pan and sweat the leeks until softened.

6. In a food processor, add half the pumpkin, four of the eggs, the parmesan, half the feta, the nutmeg and cinnamon. Puree until smooth. Season if necessary.

7. Raise oven temperature to 170 degrees fan-forced, 190 degrees conventional.

8. Grease a 30cm pie dish and line the base with baking paper. Roll out the whole round of pastry into a large even circle, allowing enough so that the edges can be folded over to form a lid (this doesn't need to cover the whole of the filling, but allow some to fold on top). Lay into the dish.

9. Pour in the pumpkin puree and distribute evenly. Press the remaining pumpkin pieces into the puree, then spread over the leeks, sprinkle over the remaining feta and scatter the walnuts on top. Pull the edges of the pastry in to form a lid, working around the pie, pleating the pastry to form a petal-like pattern, leaving a hole in the centre of the pie. Beat the remaining egg and glaze the pastry.

10. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until golden brown. Remove and leave to cool. The pie can be eaten warm or cold, but we preferred it warm, served with a rocket and cucumber salad. The pie served a very hungry man and his wife for dinner and then two subsequent lunches.