If you want to impress your friends and show them how delicious eating plant based around the holidays can be then try out this recipe and blow them away with this delicious, comforting and hearty centre piece.
I've made this one fairly straight forward. I would usually make a nut roast from scratch and wrap that in the pastry but this recipe is just as equally delicious and takes a quarter of the amount of time.
I have also made this recipe with a few different varieties. I subbed out the creamed mushrooms for finely chopped and sautéed garlicy Brussels sprouts, and it was scrumptious.
Don't skip on the cranberry sauce element as this as a vibrant tang and really levels up this dish.
2 HOURS. SERVES 6.
300g frozen cranberries
1 orange, juice & zest
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice
1 butternut squash
1 tbs miso
1 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs water
1 tbs red wine vinegar
300g cremini mushrooms
2 garlic cloves
bunch of thyme
400g puff pastry
Firstly, start off with the cranberry sauce. To a saucepan on medium heat, add your frozen cranberries. Squeeze in the juice of the orange and the zest and bring to a boil. Once boil make sure to stir well and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the cinnamon & all spice and stir once more.
Leave to reduce and thicken for at least an hour on very low heat, stirring often. While the cranberry sauce is reducing prep the butternut squash.
Prep heat the oven to 400F or 200C.
Top, tail and peel the squash. We only want to use the part that does not have any seeds in it, so cut off the end where the seeds are and reserve for another time.
Slice the butternut squash in half lengthwise so that you have two equal 'steaks'.
Use a sharp knife to cross hatch both the flat base and the exterior of the squash (cross hatching is using your knife to make criss-cross just on the surface of the squash).
Add the miso, maple syrup and water to a bowl and give it a good whisk until the miso is completely broken down and you have a loose paste.
Using your hands rub the paste all over the two pieces of squash, massaging it well.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and place the squash flat side down on the tray. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. When they have finished roasting, remove from the oven and leave cool to room temperate.
While the squash is roasting we can make our creamed mushrooms. Add the garlic, onion and mushrooms to a blender and pulse until everything is broken down into little pieces.
To a frying pan on medium heat, add a little splash of olive if using, water is fine and pan fry the mushroom mixture until all of the moisture is removed. You will hear the sound of the mushrooms change, they will being to sizzle once the moisture is removed and thats how you know they are done. Add a generous amount of salt, pepper and finely chopped fresh thyme while cooking.
Remove the mushroom mix from the pan and allow cool before using.
Now for the pastry. Divide the pastry into two pieces. Roll out each piece so that it is long enough to cover the length of your squash and wide enough that the pastry will wrap around and cover the entire 'steak'. I like roll out the dough to larger than I think as it will retract a little once it is rolled.
Once rolled, divide the room temperature mushroom mix between the two pastry sheets. Spread it out so that it covers the base where the butternut squash will sit.
Next place the flat side of the cooled squash on top of the mushroom base. Spoon over some of the thick cooled cranberry sauce so that it sticks to the squash. You do not want it pouring down the sides, just a little on the top is perfect.
Now you have you squash in the centre with two pieces of pastry either side. Make diagonal slits all the way down the puff pastry sheet on both sides, about 1 inch wide. Then begin to braid the puff pastry by folding the strips on top of one another in an alternating pattern. Once you reach the bottom, fold the bottom edge up and over the filling and press the ends to stick.
Brush the pastry with your plant based egg wash ( 2tbs milk + 1 tbs maple syrup).
Place on a baking tray and place in the oven to bake for 40 minutes. The cranberry sauce should be bubbling, the pastry should be lovely and golden and the butternut squash should be lovely and soft.
Leave to stand for 10 minutes before cutting through. Serve with more of the cranberry sauce and vegan gravy.