Vegan Walnut and Chestnut Pâté en Croute

This is a classic dish, inspired by Wendy Cook’s marvelous recipe from her original book, “The Biodynamic Cookbook”.

It’s a time to celebrate family and the turning of dark days towards the light and my favourite Xmas dish to bake for my vegan friends. The addition of a layer of apricots and grated carrot really do set this dish apart.

I’ve used no eggs from the original recipe and substituted arrow root for cream cheese.

Preparation time 1 1/2 hours
Serves 8
Cooking time 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours

Ingredients:

For the Pastry:

250g Spelt Flour
150ml Rapeseed Oil
1/2 cup Water
1tsp Egg Replacer
A little salt
A little water to bind

For the Pie Filling:

110g Walnuts, coarsely chopped
110g Pecan Nuts, coarsely chopped
200g Chestnuts, coarsely chopped
3 small Onions, finely chopped
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
120g Mushrooms, finely chopped
110g cooked Wild Rice
100g Bread Crumbs
2 small Leeks, finely chopped
1tsp ground Ginger
2tsp ground Cardamom
3tsp dried Oregano
2tsp Tamari soya sauce
2tsp Arrow Root6tsp Egg Replacer
1 pint Stock
120g Unsulphured Apricots
2 medium Carrots, finely grated
Oil for frying
Freshly ground black pepper

Method:
Soak the apricots in boiled water for half an hour.
Make pastry as normal and leave to chill in the fridge for half an hour.

Gently fry the onion and garlic in the oil, stirring frequently. When they are opaque, add the mushrooms. Fry for 5 minutes.
Add the herbs, spices, tamari and black pepper. Stir for a minute, then add the stock and simmer for 5 minutes.

Put the walnuts, chestnuts, arrow root, egg replacer and bread crumbs in a bowl and pour in the cooked vegetables. Stir in the rice to the nut mix. Blend thoroughly and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, simmer the apricots for a few minutes, mashing with a masher until they’ve turned into a paste. Add the carrots and allow to cool.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3, about 145˚C.

Take out the pastry and roll just less than half into a rectangle on a floured surface. With the pastry rolled onto the rolling pin carefully lay the bottom half of the pie onto a large baking tray.

Now, take just over half of the mixture and spread it 2cm or so thick on the pastry, leaving a 2cm gap all the way round the pastry edge. Spread the apricot and carrot mix on top of this, for the succulent, sweet center. Then carefully spread the rest of the nut mixture on top.

Brush the edge of the pastry. Roll out the rest of the pastry and carefully lay over the base, the edges draping them in line with the pastry below. With fork, press around the edges.
You can place pasty holly and berries on top. I’ve done a star this time.

Cover with foil or baking parchment and bake for the 1 and 1/4 hours, until golden brown.

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