Christmas has become a much more mindful affair, and for many, it’s about helping the less fortunate and making this special time of year as magical as possible. The same goes for Christmas lunch. These days more and more people are choosing not to eat meat, which, if you’re not a seasoned vegetarian cook, can be a bit stressful if one of your guests is vegetarian or vegan. This vegetarian Christmas pie of pumpkin and dauphinoise potatoes with Comte, caramelised onions, thyme and rosemary, will not only look stunning on your festive table but will impress even the most hardened meat-eaters amongst your guests.

WHAT YOU NEED

FILLING:
1 medium Kilduff culinary pumpkin ( I love Kabocha)
5 potatoes sliced thinly (I use organic from Brand Family Larder)
4 red onions
Cheese (Comté or Cheddar) 
Stitchill Jersey butter
Olive oil
300ml Yester Farm double cream
300ml milk
Organic plain flour
Capers
Lemon zest
4 crushed cloves garlic
1 tbsp of chopped rosemary & thyme
1 tsp nutmeg 

PASTRY:
250g organic plain flour
150g salted organic butter
100ml ice-cold water

WHAT YOU DO

FILLING: 

1. Slice onions finely, then slowly cook to caramelise using olive oil, a bit of butter, salt and pepper and a full tablespoon of thyme leaves. You can add balsamic and a bit of sugar if desired to the onions to make them unctuous.

2. Put double cream and milk into a saucepan add garlic, nutmeg, rosemary, thyme, and salt and pepper. Heat until nearly boiling, add potatoes and cook for five minutes, so they are tender but keep their shape. Then drain, keeping the garlicky liquid. 

3. Chop capers and lemon zest, then layer the potatoes and liquid in an oven-proof dish, add capers and lemon zest and bake in the oven for around 25 minutes on 180ºC fan. 

4. Peel and slice your pumpkin into crescent shapes, toss in olive oil and salt and cook in the oven too. Both the potatoes and the pumpkin should be ready about the same time.

PASTRY: 

1. Make the pastry or, if you prefer, buy some all-butter shortcrust. To make it is easy. First, blitz flour and butter in a food processor for about 30 seconds, then add water and blitz until it forms a ball in your machine. It will be soft and sticky, so make sure you flour a board well.

2. Tip it out and then divide it into a third and two thirds. Line a 7”spring-form tin with parchment and sprinkle with flour. Roll out 2/3rd pastry and line the tin.

3. The potato and pumpkin should now be cool enough, so you can start to layer. Pumpkin at the bottom, then the potato, then onion,  then cheese and last a bit of the creamy liquid. You should have enough for two rounds of layering. Next, roll out the remaining pastry for the lid and egg wash all over. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes on 185ºC fan.


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