Butter Butter Pie
This is like a hug in pie form. It’s a chunky vegetable double-crust pie, the focus being on butternut squash – and butter beans, hence the name – with a creamy cheese and onion savoury sauce. It’s mild and soft enough to be liked by children, but interesting enough for adults to enjoy it, too, and you can be sure there is a good quota of veg and protein within. The pastry is a basic shortcrust, you can either buy some or make your own (it’s easy, and I made a step-by-step guide here if you’re uncertain). Either way, the end result is a homely pie that, like most pies, tastes great the next day too – either reheated or served cold.
For the pastry:
240g plain flour
1 tbsp vodka (or lemon juice)
3 tbsp ice cold water
1 egg, beaten, for glazing the pie for the final bake.
For the pie filling:
250g butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks
150g potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks
1 x 400g can of butter beans, drained and rinsed (I like Napolina)
1 very small leek, sliced into rings and washed thoroughly
1 very small onion, or 1/2 of a large one
30g plain flour
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
50g grated cheddar cheese
Making the pastry:
First, make the pastry. You can use my guide here, or if you’re using shop-bought, you’ll need approximately 400g. Break off about 2/3 and use it to line a 1-litre pie dish. Keep the remaining 1/3 in the fridge until you need it for the ‘lid’. Once you have lined the pie dish, pop it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to settle. Preheat the oven to 200c/400f/gas mark 6.
Blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the filling. Reduce oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4.
Making the filling:
Peel and chop the butternut squash and sweet potato into roughly 1-inch chunks. Steam or parboil them until only just cooked – you can skewer them with a fork, but you wouldn’t quite want to eat them at this point. I usually use the microwave steamer (7-8 minutes). Boiling will take about 10 minutes. While they are cooking, you can get on with the savoury sauce.
Heat the butter on a low heat and gently fry the onions for 5 minutes, until softened. Sprinkle in the flour and coat the onions, cooking for another minute or two.
Slowly add the milk – about 100ml at a time – while stirring continuously. You will eventually end up with a thick, rather lumpy sauce. Stir in the mustard and salt.
At this point you can blitz with a hand blender to make a smooth sauce but if you don’t have one, just leave it like it is. Add the cheese and stir until melted into the sauce.
Now add the sliced leeks and soften on a low heat for a minute or two. Stir in the steamed/parboiled butternut squash and potatoes, and the drained butter beans. Mix well so that everything is coated in the sauce.
I’m assuming your oven is still on at 180c/350f/gas mark 4 but if not (for example if you blind-baked the pastry case much earlier in the day) then start preheating again now.
Carefully spoon the filling into your blind-baked pie case. Don’t be afraid to squash it in until just level with the rim. Roll out the remaining pastry until you’ve got a circle big enough to cover the pie. Brush a little beaten egg on the edges of the pie case and lift the pastry on to the pie. Gently press the edges down all the way around, then use a knife to cut away the over-hanging excess pastry. (Support the underneath of the pie tin with one hand, and swipe the knife edge along the side of the tin with swift movements.) You can then emboss the edge of the pie by using a fork, if you like, or any other finishing technique.
Any excess pastry can be rolled out again to make leaves or shapes or anything you like to decorate the pie. Stick them on using a little more of the beaten egg, then use it to give the whole pie a final glaze. Remember to prick the pastry a couple of times to allow hot air to escape (otherwise your pie will probably crack, or even – shock horror! – explode in the oven. No one likes cleaning an oven. Or going without pie. So don’t forget.)
Bake for 30-35 minutes in the middle of the oven until a really deep, golden brown colour.
(Pie dishes do vary a little, and if you have any pie filling remaining, you can make a great soup by heating with vegetable stock and blitzing with a hand blender!)