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Italy's claim to being the greatest of the world's cuisines has one key weakness: breakfast. But, argues John Irving, there's more to the story than first meets the eye.

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Finalists for Maitre D' of the Year 2018
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Pumpkin, Gorgonzola and rosemary pie


For this rich pie, we've opted for a buttery sour cream pastry base, which gives an extra piquant, savoury hit, and topped it with butter puff pastry for a flaky finish. Use any pumpkin you like, Kent (Jap) will give a deeper colour and flavour, and butternut a softer result. Watch the amount of liquid that comes from the pumpkin when roasting and, if needed, drain the pumpkin well before assembling the pie.

You'll need

900 gm peeled Kent (Jap) pumpkin (about a third large), cut into 4cm cubes 2 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 2 tbsp pine nuts 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tbsp coarsely chopped rosemary 80 gm Gorgonzola dolcelatte 50 gm finely grated parmesan 1 egg, lightly beaten, for eggwash 375 gm sheet butter puff pastry (see note) To serve: mesclun leaves, dressed with white wine vinaigrette   Crème fraîche shortcrust pastry 250 gm (1 cup) plain flour 100 gm unsalted butter, chilled 75 gm sour cream

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 250C. Place pumpkin in a shallow roasting pan, drizzle with half the oil, season to taste, toss to coat and roast until pumpkin starts to caramelise at the edges and you can insert a knife with just a little resistance (17-20 minutes; be careful not to overcook). Transfer to a colander placed over a bowl and set aside to drain and cool (40-50 minutes). Coarsely break up a third of the pumpkin in a bowl and refrigerate until chilled (1 hour).
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for crème fraîche shortcrust pastry, process flour and butter in a food processor to> fine crumbs, add sour cream and pulse to combine. Turn out, pat into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest.
  • 03
  • Heat remaining olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add onion and sauté until tender and caramelised (8-9 minutes). Add pine nuts and garlic, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden (2-3 minutes). Add rosemary, stir until fragrant and rosemary starts to lose its bright colour (1 minute), then season to taste and transfer to a bowl to cool (20 minutes). Add pumpkin, stir to combine, then stir in cheeses and season to taste.
  • 04
  • Preheat oven to 250C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Roll shortcrust pastry to a 30cm round and refrigerate 15 minutes to rest. Place on prepared tray, spread on pumpkin mixture, leaving a 2cm border, then brush border with eggwash. Roll out puff pastry to 4mm thick and place on top, pressing around pumpkin filling gently to seal. Trim edges to form a neat round and pinch edges to seal. Score a criss-cross pattern on top,. brush with eggwash, scatter with sea salt flakes and bake until pastry is puffed and starting to turn golden (10 minutes). Reduce oven to 180C and cook until pastry is golden and crisp (25-30 minutes). Set pie aside to rest and cool briefly (5 minutes), then serve with mesclun salad.

Note We prefer to use Carême butter puff pastry, which comes in 375gm sheets.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Drink Suggestion

Fruity sparkling red lambrusco.

Featured in

Aug 2015

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