Flaky, delicious pastry, filled with sweet melt in your mouth butternut squash, deep green earthy kale & crunchy almonds. Only 6 ingredients and the pastry can be made in minutes in a food processor!
Who doesn’t love a good pie? I know I do and this Butternut Squash, Kale & Almond Pie turned out so well that I couldn’t wait to share it with you. Between creation and typing this up I have made this pie a total of four times as I love it so much. What with this and my amazing Pumpkin Pie With Caramel Sauce, I have been eating far too much pastry so have now put myself on a ban until at least Christmas!
This is a flavour combination that I have never seen elsewhere. It is kind of very, very loosely based on the filling style of a Cornish Pasty. As I am originally from Devon and lived right on the border to Cornwall, Cornish Pasties are something I was brought up eating. This pie has none of the same ingredients (bar the pastry and onion) but just like a Cornish Pasty the raw ingredients go in as they are and steam inside the pastry case as it cooks. The resulting filling ends up moist, sweet and delicious without any added sauce or gravy. The soft interior and the crisp, golden pastry are so good together and the almonds in this version add a delicious nutty, crunchy, texture and compliment the squash perfectly.
Pastry can never be deemed particularly healthy but making it yourself with good quality ingredients helps make it a little better for you. I try to use wholewheat or spelt flour in my recipes where possible as they are generally healthier than white flour but in this pie, white flour gave the best results in both taste and appearance.
Making pastry can be pretty daunting, especially when it’s vegan pastry, but please don’t be put off. This pastry is so easy, especially if you have a food processor. If however it is something you really don’t want to attempt then buy a pastry case. A lot of the ones you find in the freezers are actually ‘accidentally’ vegan. That way all you need worry about is the filling which is a piece of cake to throw together.
Fat is an essential element in pastry and a lot of vegan recipes use vegan margarine as the fat content. I however try my best to avoid them as they generally contain palm oil which I am very strongly opposed to for ethical reasons. That is the reason why I chose to use coconut oil in my pastry and I am so glad I did as the resulting pastry is perfectly crisp, crumbly and delicious.
The first time I made the pie I used unrefined coconut oil as it was all I had. The coconut flavour dominated the pastry and did not compliment the filling well so please avoid using this. The second (third and fourth) time, I used refined coconut oil and there was no coconut flavour at all in the finished pastry and the results were perfect.
I choose to use Nutiva Coconut Oil because I know that it is ethically produced and of great quality. Nutiva produce both refined and unrefined coconut oil. Unlike other companies their refined coconut oil is made though a certified organic steam refining process and absolutely no chemicals are used. The refined is a lot cheaper than the unrefined and perfect for recipes where you do not want a coconut flavour to come through in the finished dish.
Please bear in mind when choosing coconut products that some coconut producers use monkeys as slaves and have them picking coconuts all day in terrible conditions. See this article from The Huffington Post or do your own research for more information. Children are also sometimes used to do this work. Animal Place has compiled a list of companies that do not use these terrible practices and you can find that here. Nutiva is on this list.
As far as pies go, this one is pretty quick and easy to make and is delicious straight from the oven as well as cold. It is great served as part of a meal with gravy (perfect for Thanksgiving), served with a big salad or just simply eaten on it’s own with some natural tomato ketchup…(one of my guilty pleasures)!
I am so excited to share this pie with you and am dying to know what you think of it so please leave your comments below and post your pictures on Instagram or Twitter. I am @avirtualvegan. Tag your posts with #avirtualvegan on Instagram so I don’t miss them.
Butternut Squash Kale & Almond Pie
For the pastry
- 500g | 4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 210g | 1 cup coconut oil , hard & refined, If your coconut oil is soft then put in the fridge for a little while before you need it.
- 11 tablespoons iced water (see recipe note)
For the filling
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 615g | 3 heaping cups butternut squash , cubed
- 4 large kale leaves , stems removed and chopped
- 30 raw almonds , roughly chopped
For the glaze
- a couple of tablespoons non-dairy mik
- Place your pie dish in the fridge.( I used a large pie dish measuring 25.5 cm wide and 5.7 cm deep).
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Add the flour, oil and salt to a food processor and process for a minute or two until well combined.
- Gradually add the water until you have a smooth pliable dough. Check it by feeling it.
- If you do not have a food processor then add the flour, salt and oil to a bowl and rub the oil into the flour with your fingertips until your mixture resembles bread crumbs. Gradually add the water, stirring with a knife then use hands to form into a ball.
- You do not need to refrigerate this pastry before rolling unless it is very hot in your kitchen. When it gets cold it gets very hard and difficult to roll so it is easier to do when it is at room temperature.
- Split the dough in half. Roll out one half to about 3-4 mm thick and line your pie dish. I did not blind bake my pastry as I know that my pie dish radiates the heat well and I don't tend to get soggy bottoms with dryish pie fillings but if you at all unsure I would advise blind baking. There is nothing worse than a soggy bottom!
- To blind bake line the pastry with a sheet of baking parchment ( to make it fit inside more easily screw it up into a ball then pull part before lining the pastry. Fill the pie dish and parchment paper with baking beans , rice or dried beans.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and gently lift out parchment paper and beans.
- Allow to cool.
- Fill pie with butternut squash, kale and onion then sprinkle with almonds.
- Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Roll out the remaining half of pastry.
- Brush the sides of the pie bottom with non dairy milk then lay the top gently across. Press down well around the edges and make sure it is well sealed.
- Brush the top with non-dairy milk.
- Make a small incision in the middle to let trapped air escape while cooking.
Bake on 425°F for 40 - 50 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is soft when you insert a knife into it..
You may need to adjust the amount of water slightly as all flours have different absorbencies. Start by adding 9 tablespoons and see how you go. Add the remainder very gradually until you have a smooth, pliable dough.