A stunning centrepiece that tastes as good as it looks, our recipe for a vegetable wreath uses ready-made pastry for ease.
200g baby carrots
2 red peppers
200g button mushrooms
100g ready-roasted chestnuts
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
sea salt and black pepper
350g crusty white bread
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp brandy
1 tsp cinnamon
1 sprig of rosemary,
plus extra for garnish
cranberry sauce, to serve
Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Slice the carrots in half and deseed and halve the peppers, then place on a roasting tin. Add the mushrooms, cranberries, pinenuts and chestnuts. Coat with the oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast for 15 mins.
In the meantime, in a food processor blitz the bread with the garlic clove to make large-sized breadcrumbs and then transfer to a large bowl.
Add the spinach and zest in the orange peel, then sprinkle with the brandy and 100ml of boiling water. Mix thoroughly, then stir the roast vegetables and cinnamon into the breadcrumbs and set aside. Chop the rosemary and add it to the mixture. Turn the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
On a lightly floured surface, push the two pastry blocks together to form one block and roll out to approximately 45cm squared. Transfer to a piece of baking paper. Gently mark two concentric circles, the inner 18cm in diameter, the outer 28cm, in the pastry. The filling will sit in the ring between the two circles. Cut curved lines, from the edge of the outer circle to edge of the rectangle. Then cut lines going from the inside of the inner circle through the centre point to the other side, creating segments.
Fill the circular rim with the stuffing mixture then start folding over the outer and inner strips. Wrap around each other to meet in the middle, trimming any excess pastry not needed at the ends and occasionally cutting away the strips to make room.
Beat the egg and brush all the pastry with it to glaze. Transfer, using the baking paper to support the wreath, to a large baking tray. Bake for 20 mins, covering with tin foil if it becomes too golden. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with the extra rosemary and cranberry sauce.
Other festive dishes in our Christmas 2016 issue:
Roast turkey with pears and cranberries
Cranberry turkey gravy
Bacon and thyme roast potatoes
Parsnip, swede and horseradish mash
Brussels sprouts in a Clementine and honey sauce
Chocolate yule log