To be honest the concept of this dish changed many times before it came to this delicious conclusion. I wanted to create a main course for vegetarians to have for the big Easter meal which is worthy of being called the main event and may even make those tucking into spring lamb feel jealous. It started as a layered nut roast, then it became a puff pastry tart, then a carrot pie and finally a layered Easter pie. Inside the crispy Filo pastry is first a layer of roasted carrot purée flavoured with some nice herbs, then on top is a creamy layer of leeks, asparagus and puy lentils in a soft cashew sauce.
I liked the idea of the pie looking interesting when you cut into it and that is why I played around with different coloured layers. I toyed with the idea of the carrot purée and cashew sauce being separated by a puy lentil layer, but the lentils looked so pretty scattered between white sauce so I left them mixed in.
This was my first attempt at making cashew cream and it was so easy. I’ve often been put off making recipes including it because the concept is so different to what I am used to and i wasn’t sure exactly how it would turn out but I urge anyone sat on the fence to give it a go. I soaked my cashews for around 6 hours but overnight would be best, then I drained them and put them into a blender and added just enough water to cover them. It took a while to get it smooth and creamy but I have a very old blender. In fact I dropped my blender a few weeks back and it cracked which is a real nuisance because I use it so often! But the last remnants of a resourceful (poor) student in me kept it and taped it up, and it still managed to make perfect cashew cream! Hopefully I can buy a new one soon!
For this recipe you want the cashew cream quite thick, the consistency of hummous not pouring cream. In fact after I had added garlic this actually tasted exactly like hummous too! I had the leftovers spread on some sprouted bread with cucumber slices and it was delicious.
I personally would serve a pie each but it depends on how big the rest of the dinner is! This pie is a lot more substantial than a few slices of meat or nut roast so if you are having potatoes, parsnips, yorkshires, veg and gravy etc then half may be sufficient I served mine with steamed greens and onion gravy.
Makes 2 pies
Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as part of a bigger roast dinner
You’ll need two pie dishes measuring 5 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep. Don’t forget to soak your cashew nuts!
Salt n pepper
4 asparagus spears
1 cup cashew nuts (soaked over night)
Water or vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup cooked puy lentils
Salt and Pepper
4 sheets Filo pastry
Heat your oven to 200c. Place your carrots whole on a baking tray and coat in a little olive oil, salt, pepper and mixed dried herbs. Roast the carrots for 20-25 minutes then blend until smooth and put to one side. Roasting the carrots brings out such a delicious flavour in them so I didn’t feel the need to add anything else to this layer!
Place your cashew nuts into a blender and pour in enough water to just cover the cashews. Blend until smooth then add 2 crushed garlic cloves, salt and pepper and blend again until creamy. Add a little extra water if you feel it is too thick, you are looking for the consistency of a light hummous. Place to one side.
In a frying pan heat a little oil. Slice your onion, leeks and asparagus and sauté on a low heat until softened. Add your cashew cream and cooked puy lentils to the pan and stir together until your greens are mixed with the sauce.
Reduce the heat of your oven to 180c. Grease your pie dishes and line with 2-3 layers of Filo pastry, brush with oil or butter between each layer. Divide your carrot purée between the two pies and press down into a bottom layer. Top with a layer of the cashew cream and lentil sauce and then scrunch up the edges of the pastry and brush with oil or butter.
Place in the oven for 25-35 minutes until the pastry is cooked and the filling is set.
Allow to cool slightly then remove from the pie dish and serve with all the usual roast dinner trimmings and plenty of gravy.