Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Butternut filo pie with North African Spices

This was served to us by some veggie friends recently and we loved it! Fortunately for us, they didn't mind divulging where they got the recipe (BBC Good Food Moroccan Spiced Pie). I did make a couple of adjustments, mainly because I'm a bit of a lazy cook and will always seek out ways to cut corners. The technique with the filo pastry works really well, and looks very impressive - I think I will try out different fillings using this pastry technique. The addition of some feta cheese, or maybe some halloumi might be nice, but it is very good without. It is also delicious served cold the next day and would make a great picnic pie (although it does tend to fall apart when cut). It is very filling, with all the nuts, and perhaps a tad on the dry side, but the harissa yoghurt sauce is a perfect accompaniment. Ironically veggie daughter is not as keen on the pie as her parents...

2 medium butternut squashes, about 900g, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 tsp ras el hanout (or mixture of cumin seeds, coriander, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika)
good glug of olive oil
salt and pepper
225g frozen spinach
about 12 shallots, peeled and halved
thumb sized piece of root ginger, grated or finely chopped
100g whole blanched almonds
100g shelled pistachios
50g flaked almonds
50g dried cranberries 
2tbsp honey
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 fat clove smoked garlic (or normal garlic if you can't get smoked)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp lemon juice (to taste)
small bunch fresh coriander, washed and dried
good glug of olive oil
1 pack of filo pastry
100g butter

For the harissa yoghurt sauce:

3 - 4 tbsp plain yoghurt
2 tsp harissa paste
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1/2 tsp sugar
salt to taste

  1. Toss the butternut, grated ginger and halved shallots in olive oil and spice mix, season well. If you like a bit more spice, add a teaspoon of korean chili paste (gochujang)
  2. Roast in a 200C oven for about 20 minutes
  3. Meanwhile cook the spinach in a microwave for a couple of minutes, then drain well. (The original recipe called for fresh spinach, but I forgot to buy it, and had some frozen that I substituted).
  4. In a frying pan, toast 80g each of the  almonds and pistachios.
  5. When brown stir into the butternut mix along with cranberries, (I used half and half cranberries and goji berries, because I wanted to try goji berries and they were an interesting colour - I liked them, but veggie daughter thought they tasted of feet) 1 tablespoon of honey and the spinach. Set aside. 

Butternut, spinach, nut and shallot mixture, yum!
  1. In a food processor, whizz the chickpeas with the coriander (no need to chop first) garlic, cumin, remaining oil, lemon juice, 2 tbsp water and salt and pepper to make houmous. 
  2. Melt the butter in a small pan. Put a loose-bottomed 28cm quiche tin on a baking sheet and brush with some butter. Keeping the filo covered with a damp cloth so it doesn’t dry out, lay one sheet over half of the tin so that it hangs over the edge by about 10cm. Lay another sheet on the other side, so it overlaps the first in the centre and hangs over the opposite edge. Brush with butter. Lay two more filo sheets in the opposite direction in the same way and brush with more butter.
  3. Keep building up the layers until you have used all of the filo. Pile half the butternut mixture in the centre of the pastry. Spread over the houmous and then the rest of the squash mixture.One at a time, bring the edge of each filo sheet up to the centre to cover the filling, creating voluptuous folds as you go. Brush carefully with more butter. (If making a day ahead, cover now with cling film and chill. To reheat, remove the pie from the fridge, heat the oven, then bake for 35-40 minutes.)
    The pie in progress - hummous layer on top of butternut layer
    The pie ready to bake

  4. Bake in a preheated oven (fan 180C) for 30-35 minutes, until crisp and golden. Just before the pie is ready, reheat any remaining butter in the pan, tip in the rest of the nuts and fry until golden. Spoon in the remaining tbsps of honey and, when it melts, take off the heat and pour over the pie. Serve with Harissa yogurt sauce (mix the yogurt, lemon juice, sugar and coriander. Swirl in harissa to taste).

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