A Christmasy Pie, with mushrooms, chestnuts and pinto beans, in a lemon, cashew cream and coconut milk sauce, served with cranberry sauce.
I will shortly be celebrating my second truly vegan christmas, and there’s no looking back. I’m liking it too much. Last year I managed a passable nut roast, so this year I thought I’d get ahead with my planning and pull out a few stops. I’m noticing that, on high days and holidays when family and friends gather, and I bring a vegan dish to the table, my meat-eating relatives all make a bee-line for it, so much so I have to ward them off to make sure me and my partner get enough! Still, I’m not complaining, because it’s a nice way to open people’s minds to plant-based cooking that’s based on cruelty-free, healthy and nutritious ingredients. I just have to remind myself to make more than enough to go round.
Apart from the cashew nuts process*** (which needs to be done 3 hours in advance) – 90 minutes is ample time to prepare and bake this pie.
- 600gms mushrooms (I used chestnut mushrooms and shiitake )
- 5 large cloves garlic – crushed
- 200gms cooked whole chestnuts
- 150gms cooked beans : pinto or canellini
- 4 -5tbs. oil – I used organic rapeseed oil as it is good for frying
- *** 60gms cashews – soaked in 100 ml water for 2-3 hours before preparing the pie
- 1 tin : 400ml coconut milk
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 2 tbs. tamari
- 3tsps maple syrup/agave or 2 tsps sugar
- 1tsp salt
- Ground black pepper
- Small handful of finely chopped fresh thyme, or a tsp. dried thyme.
- 500gms puff pastry pastry ( I used ready-made vegan certified pastry but feel free to make your own!)
- Flour for rolling out the pastry
- 3tbs non-dairy milk + 1tbs oil mixed to together for brushing the surface
- ***Soak the cashews in 100 ml of water for 2-3 hours
- Slice the mushrooms in fairly chunky slices – about 3mm thick.
- Slice the chestnuts about 2mm thick.
- Saute the mushrooms in a wide skillet with 4tbs. oil. Add the mushrooms a handful at a time, so they have a chance to crisp up a little with golden edges. 10mins approx.
- Lower the heat and add the crushed garlic. Fry 2 mins.
- Add the sliced chestnuts and the cooked beans.
- Allow the mixture to warm through for 3-4 mins and then remove from the heat.
- Transfer the cashew nuts and the soaking water to a high-speed blender, and blitz until smooth and creamy. Stir the coconut milk and then add to the cashew cream. Whizz for 30 secs.
- Transfer the cashew/coconut mixture to a small pan. Warm gently on a low heat. No need to boil. Keep the heat low.
- Add the lemon juice, 2tbs. tamari, the sweetener (maple syrup or agave or sugar) and stir in. Add the salt, and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper.
- Try tasting the sauce now. It should taste quite strong, and have the right blend of sharpness, saltiness and sweetness. Adjust accordingly. I added a little more lemon juice and a dash more tamari at this point……
- Take off the heat, and add a handful of finely chopped thyme. Stir in.
- After a few minutes, add the sauce to the mushroom mixture and stir in gently to thoroughly combine. It’s not too late to taste again – and flavour accordingly. (BTW, the cashews will help thicken the sauce during baking).
- At this point it’s good to let the pie filling rest and settle for a bit, while you prepare the pastry. You could easily prepare the pie filling up to this point in advance, and refrigerate overnight.
- Making The Pie
- Warm the oven to gas mk. 7/220C.
- Lightly grease an 8-9 inch ceramic pie/flan dish.
- Divide the pastry in half.
- Roll out the base pastry to amply cover the base and sides of the dish.
- Lay the pastry in the dish, so it lays over the edges of the dish. Remove the excess, bearing in mind the pastry will shrink during blind baking. Lightly fork the pastry once or twice to stop it puffing up.
- Lay a sheet of baking parchment across the pastry, and fill with dried beans to blind bake.
- Bake for ten minutes.
- Roll out the second piece of pastry for the top of the pie.
- Remove the pie base from the oven, lift out the paper with the beans, and then add the mushroom mixture, spreading it evenly and packing it down gently. Brush the edges of the pie base with the non-dairy milk and oil mixture, and then place the top part over the pie, with enough excess to press it down firmly all the way round the edge. Then slice away the extra pastry around the edges.
- Make a small hole in the centre of the pie, for steam to escape.
- Please do decorate the pie with the excess pastry removed from the edges, and using your pastry skills! Mine aren’t great….
- Brush non-dairy milk and oil mixture lightly across the surface of the pie.
- Put the pie in the oven at gas mk 7 / 220C for 35 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
- Cranberry Sauce:
- 100gms brown sugar
- 100ml orange juice
- 250ml cranberries
- Place the sugar and the orange juice in a small saucepan. Dissolve the sugar on a medium heat. Bring to the boil. Add the cranberries and cook on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes until the cranberries are soft. Remove from the heat. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
- To reheat a previously cooked pie: place in the oven at gas mk.6/200C, covered loosely with silver foil for 20 minutes, and then turn up the heat to gas mk.7/220C, remove the foil and continue to heat for a further 10 minutes.
- It’s also great served cold.