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
To decorate 1 large cake
1 large (23cm) iced Christmas cake
250g defrosted or fresh cranberries
250g granulated sugar
150ml cold water
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. Place the cranberries, the granulated sugar and the water in a large saucepan over a gentle heat. Simmer for 10 mins until the sugar has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl to cool, then chill until cold.
Place the caster sugar on a large plate. Drain the cranberries and roll in the sugar, coating each completely by shuffling the plate from side to side. Transfer to a lined baking tin and dry out in the preheated oven for 10 mins. Allow to cool.
Make up some thick icing by mixing together the icing sugar and ½ tsp of cold water, then transfer to a piping bag with a thin nozzle. Place the iced Christmas cake onto a serving dish and pipe a thin line of icing around the base of the cake, then fix cranberries all around the edge, piling a few cranberries up at uneven intervals to produce an irregular, natural look. Sprinkle the middle of the top of the cake with ½ tsp cold water, then pile half of the cranberries on top. Serve straightaway.
This decoration is made no more than two days before it is to be displayed as the cranberries will start to leach their pigment after this time.
Other natural cake decoration recipes from our Christmas 2015 issue:
• Christmas wreath
• Florentine topping
• Snow cake
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