Cheese leek and celeriac pithivier

A vegetal French pie

If this sounds like some kind of vegetarian main course at a dinner party, well, it pretty much is. You could even get away with serving it to non-vegetarians .I'm sure most vegetarians would be really happy to be served a slice of this. And it would equally stand proud at the table for a buffet, while a slice would be great with a Sunday roast, much like a Dauphinoise would. Well thats what I think anyway. So what is it? Lancashire cheese, onion and potato pie.I loved the sound of this when Felicity Cloake posted her attempt at it on instagram. She cited it as an old Mark Hix recipe from the Independent, but when I went online to track it down all that came up was something similar, but in a way more appealing, a version which put celeriac in place of the potato.I love celeriac and know exactly where to source the best. My challenge then was  to source a Lancashire cheese substitute in the Algarve. My first thoughts turned to an Azorean cheese that I am quite partial to. After doing a lot of research and googling lancashire cheese substitute I got to know that there are  some substitutes you can use for Lancashire cheese, such as white cheddar, Caerphilly, Wensleydale, and Cheshire cheese, also none of which are

available locally. So what characteristics were I lookng for? The main criterion should be that it was made with cows milk, in which case a cheddar would suffice, secondly something that would be good for shredding, crumbling and melting, and finally I was looking for cheese with a notably buttery flavour .I added some thin slices of ham to the equation, but that is entirely optioinal and obviously if you opt for this it is no longer suitable for vegetarians.

Cheese leek and celeriac pithivier
2 good knobs butter
1 medium onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
1 x 400-500g celeriac, peeled
1 medium leek thinly sliced
Flor de sal
freshly ground black pepper
250-300g ready-made all-butter puff pastry
plain flour, for dusting
200g cheese of your choice and depending on availability, grated, crumbled or shredded
1 egg, beaten

Peel and trim the celeriac.Bring apan of salted water to the boil and immerse the celeriac in it whole . Continue boiling the celeriac with a lid on for about 45 minutes or until it is tender and a skewer can be inserted right into the centre.Drain and set aside until completely cold,This could be done the day before and kept in the fridge.
Melt the butter in a pan, add the onion, leek and gently cook for 2–3 minutes without colouring. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  1. Cut the celeriac in half and slice it as thinly as possible with a very sharp knife or mandolin. Blanch the 
    slices in boiling salted water for 2–3 minutes.
    Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 1 cm thickness and cut it out into two discs, one about 25 cm across and the other about 30 cm. Lay the smaller one on a tray and prick holes in it with a fork. Arrange a layer of the celeriac slices over the pastry, leaving a 2 cm margin around the edge. Scatter over some onion, a little cheese and season, then add another layer of celeriac slices. Continue layering up the ingredients in this fashion until you have used them all up.Brush the edges of the pastry with egg and lay the larger pastry disc on top, pressing the edges together with your fingers. You can decorate the pithivier by making lines with the back of a small knife from the centre of the pastry if you wish. Brush with egg and leave to rest in 
    the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
    Bake the pithivier for about 30–40 minutes until golden. Serve.

  2. Wine recommendation:
  3. This is a rich and savoury dish with earthy and vegetal notes from the celeriac. The wine must have a good and intense structure to match the richness of this dish, some herbal notes that recall the vegetal flavours of the celeriac, but also minerality and acidity to be able to refresh the palate on the finish. I would recommend a Soalheiro Granit, from Portugal. This wine is subtle, strong in minerality, clean and dry, with a long finish.


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