For the filling
200g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
125g peeled chestnuts
1 tbsp cane sugar
1 tbsp honey
For the pastry
1 packet puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
flour, for dusting
For the filling: In a small saucepan, combine the chestnuts, milk and sugar, and bring to a simmer. Cook over a low heat for approximately 20 mins until the chestnuts are soft. Allow to cool slightly. Using a blender, purée the chestnut mixture until smooth and thick. Set aside to cool completely. Transfer to a small bowl, fold the chocolate pieces and honey into the chestnut purée, cover and chill.
For the pastry: Between layers of lightly floured baking parchment, roll the puff pastry to 3mm thick. Using a 9cm diameter cutter, make 20 pastry rounds, chilling the pastry and rolling scraps as needed. Transfer the rounds to a baking tray and refrigerate.
Dissolve 2 tbsp sugar in 2 tbsp water in a small saucepan stirring over a medium heat to make a syrup. Remove from the heat, transfer to a small bowl and cover.
To fill the pies: Measure tablespoons of chocolate-chestnut mixture and flatten into discs. Place onto 10 pastry rounds, leaving a 1cm border on all sides, and brush the border with beaten egg. Arrange the remaining pastry rounds on top and press gently to seal. The pastry can be chilled if it becomes too stretchy.
Pour a little beaten egg and syrup into a small bowl and whisk to combine. Paint this sweetened wash over the filled pastries and chill for 30 mins. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
One at a time, bring the pastries from the refrigerator and brush again with the sweetened egg wash. Using a sharp knife, score each pastry surface with leaf-like designs. For a decorative finish, make indents to the pastry edge with the back of the knife. Freeze for at least 15 mins, up to 1 hr.
Bake on two trays, evenly spaced, for 20 mins until golden. Rotate the trays and reduce the temperature to 180°C/gas mark 4 and bake for 20 mins more until deeply golden. Transfer to a wire rack placed on top of parchment to cool and immediately brush with the simple syrup to glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.
More recipes for pies in the January/February 2018 issue of LandScape magazine...
Pork rillette pies
Chanterelle, onion and buttermilk pies
Spiced brown sugar and cranberry rye pies
550g parsnips, quartered lengthways
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
280g mushrooms, chopped
1 tbsp whisky
2 tbsp single cream
340g cooked and peeled chestnuts
1 tbsp honey
150g whole cooked and chilled cranberries
1 tbsp caster sugar
sea salt and black pepper
For the pastry
650g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
50g chilled unsalted butter
170g solid vegetable fat, plus extra for greasing
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Grease a 20cm round springform tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.
To make the filling: Place the parsnips in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins until soft, then drain. In the meantime, heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the garlic for 2 mins. Add the mushrooms and fry for 2 mins, then add the whisky and cook for 2-3 mins more until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool slightly, then blend into a coarse purée. Mix in the cream.
Place the chestnuts and 2 tbsp of boiling water in a blender and pulse into a paste. Place the spinach in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let it stand for 10 mins, then drain and refresh with cold water and drain thoroughly through a sieve.
To make the pastry: Place the flour in a large bowl and add the butter. Rub the butter into the flour with the fingertips. Place the vegetable fat in a large saucepan and add 240ml of cold water and salt. Bring to the boil until the fat has completely melted, then stir it quickly into the flour mixture.
Keep stirring until the dough is soft and elastic, then knead in the bowl for 5 mins. On a clean work surface dusted with flour, roll out the pastry to fit the prepared tin with a little overhanging. Line the tin with the pastry, fitting it to the sides.
To fill the pie: Cover the pastry with a layer of parsnip quarters, then drizzle with the honey. Press the chestnuts into a layer on top of the parsnips with the back of a spoon. Cover the chestnut layer with the spinach, then top with a layer of the mushroom mixture, making sure it is level.
The cranberries are cooked by covering them in boiling water and boiling for 10 mins. They should be left to cool, then chilled. Layer them on top of the pie so they cover it completely, then sprinkle with the sugar. Cut a circle of tin foil the size of the top of the pie to cover the cranberries, but not the pastry shell.
Place the pie on an oven sheet and bake for 1 hr. Allow to cool for 10 mins before removing the pie from the tin and serve hot.
Other festive recipes in the Christmas 2017 issue of LandScape magazine:
- Bacon-topped turkey with hidden orange stuffing
- Red Leicester roast potatoes
- Root vegetable bakes
- Nutty cabbage
- Heritage carrots with honey and whisky glaze