To celebrate the launch of our Melting Selection, we asked our colleagues how they like to cook with cheese at home and we received this hearty, comforting dish from Alle who works on our Cheese Maturation team.
This dish is inspired by a similar pie I made for my vegetarian Christmas dinner a few years ago. It’s delicious served with roasted seasonal vegetables or as the veggie main course for a Sunday roast dinner. At Christmas I like to roll roasted chestnut pieces into the pastry instead of the thyme, and also replace the pine nuts in the spinach by stirring more chestnuts into the mushroom mix. The mushrooms and spinach mixtures are easily doubled - you could use the extra mushrooms as a base for a creamy mushroom sauce or use the leftovers in a pasta dish. Put the creamed spinach in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle Pevensey Blue, parmesan and breadcrumbs on top, bake for 30 minutes and serve as a tasty side dish.
INGREDIENTS (for 4 servings)
For the mushrooms:
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 bulbs garlic, finely chopped
8g dried porcini mushrooms, blitzed to a powder and mixed with 40ml boiling water to make a paste
250g assorted mushrooms, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh thyme
For the spinach:
1 shallots, finely chopped
1 bulbs garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp grated nutmeg
150g frozen chopped spinach
75g Pevensey cheese
1 tbsp pine nuts
For the parcels:
320g puff pastry
Thyme leaves, picked
50g Pevensey, cubed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. Cook the mushrooms:
Heat oil and butter in a pan and add shallots. Cook over a low heat, stirring gently until soft and starting to colour.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add porcini paste and cook until fragrant.
Add mushrooms and thyme and cook until the mushrooms have let out and reabsorbed all their juices.
Season with salt, pepper and more porcini mushroom powder if needed and continue to cook until the mushroom mix reaches a paste-like consistency. Leave to cool.
2. Cook the spinach:
Heat oil in a pan and add shallots. Cook over a low heat, stirring gently until soft and starting to colour. Add garlic and nutmeg and cook until fragrant.
Add frozen spinach and stir gently to avoid any sticking while the spinach thaws.
Season with salt and pepper and cook for 10-12 minutes, until dark green.
Take off the heat, stir in the Pevensey Blue until the cheese has all melted and you have a smooth, creamy consistency. Stir in the pine nuts and leave to cool.
3. Assemble your pastry parcels:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Lightly flour your surface and rolling pin.
Scatter picked thyme leaves over the pastry and roll out to the thickness of a £1 coin. Continue adding thyme leaves as you roll to cover the whole sheet.
Cut the pastry into 8 rectangles and flip 4 over so the thyme-side is on the bottom. This creates 4 pairs of top and bottom pastry.
Place a tablespoon of spinach mixtures into the centre of one of the flipped pastry rectangles. Spread this out almost to the edge of the pastry.
Place a cube of Pevensey Blue in the centre of your spinach mixture.
Cover the Pevensey Blue with the mushroom mixture, forming a dome shame.
Lightly brush the edge of the pastry with egg wash and place a thyme-side up rectangle on top and seal the edges. You might need to stretch the top rectangle a little so that it fits over the filling.
Repeat the last 4 steps so that you have 4 filled parcels.
Place the parcels on a lined baking tray and chill for 30 minutes.
Carve a pattern in the parcels, brush with egg wash and bake for 25-30 minutes, until pastry is puffed up and golden.