I’m always on the lookout for new and unusual ways to serve vegetables so I was intrigued when I came across an Ottolenghi recipe for cauliflower cheese but reimagined as a pie. I’ve changed the ingredients, added strips of crisp smoked bacon and finely chopped spring onion and used what I think is a better mix of hard cheeses but OMG this is soooo delicious, looks spectacular and any leftovers reheat really well. Enjoy!
- I large cauliflower, trimmed and broken into bite sized florets
- 4 slices of smoked streaky bacon cut into lardons
- 1 tsp Madras curry powder
- 3 tbsp light olive oil
- 100g unsalted butter
- 75g plain flour
- 675ml milk
- 1 large garlic clove, finely grated
- 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
- 150g grated cheese – I used a mix of Parmesan (20g), gruyere (30g), Cheddar (100g)
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- 6 sheets of filo pastry
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a 23cm springform cake tin with butter.
- Add the cauliflower, bacon, curry powder, 1 tsp salt and pepper and 2 tbsp of oil to a bowl and mix thoroughly. Put the mixture on a large parchment-lined baking tray and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Set aside and turn the oven down to 170C.
- Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Put the butter in a non-stick saucepan and melt over medium heat. Once melted, pour off half into a small bowl and mix it with the rest of the olive oil – you’ll be using that for the filo pastry. Whisk the flour into the remaining 50g of butter and cook through for a few minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk to ensure you don’t get any lumps. Cook through, whisking continuously for 5 minutes and then stir in the cheese, mustard, 1/2tsp of salt and grated garlic. Set aside.
- Open your pack of filo pastry and work quickly to stop it drying out. Brush each sheet liberally with the oil and melted butter and drape each sheet across the baking tin buttered side up. Layer each sheet rotating it slightly so the overhang drapes over at a different angle. Use all six sheets to create a pastry case with no gaps.
- Spoon half the cheese sauce into the base. Cover with the cauliflower and bacon mixture. Scatter with the chopped spring onion and spoon over the remaining cheese sauce. Crimp up the overhang of the filo pastry so it create a messy, scrunched-up border around the edges, leaving the centre of the pie exposed. Give the filo border a good brush with the remaining butter, place th tin onto a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, take the pie out of the oven. Protect your hands with a tea towel and gently release the outer circle of the springform tin. The pie should be crisp and firm enough to stand by itself. Return it to the oven for another 25 minutes to allow the sides and the top to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Scatter the top with a little chopped parsley.
- Carefully transfer the pie to a serving plate and cut each portion with a very sharp knife. You’ll need a cake slice to transfer it to each plate to make sure you don’t miss a drop of the oozy sauce. Serve with green veg (I used the greens from the cauliflower wilted in a little butter) or a side salad.
- If there’s any leftover, keep it in the fridge and reheat in a baking dish for 20 minutes.
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