Butternut Squash & Feta Pie

I wrote this recipe to accompany as article I wrote for Essence Magazine about the Plough Inn in Coldharbour near Dorking in Surrey. They have some pies on their seasonal menu and also to sell in their small but perfectly stocked village shop. Sometimes pie fillings for me are a bit gloopy so I decided to use roasted butternut squash in mine and instead of a sauce or gravy I used creme fraiche. This worked really well and the resulting tart is now a family favourite. Its satisfying, tasty and perfect for entertaining non meat eaters. I finished my pie with pastry leaves using a maple leaf cutter I have in my rather large collection. I always used the excuse that I needed to buy different cutters for food styling which was really only half true.

1 butter nut squash (approx 750g), peeled and flesh cut into 1-2 cm chunks
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
A pinch smoked Maldon sea salt
2 medium red onions, peeled and finely chopped
1x200g pack feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
A handful of chia or poppy seeds to garnish

I x 375g pack ready-rolled short crust pastry (feel free to make your own here I usually do but being time poor on this occasion I cheated)

Pre-heat the oven to 180°c fan / 200°c /gas mark 5

Prepare the butternut squash and place in the mixing bowl with 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper and mix well to evenly coat. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile using the leftover oil pan fry the onions until softened and leave to cool. Mix the butternut squash and onions together in a mixing bowl, add the crumbled feta cheese, crème fraiche and herbs. Mix together and leave on one side while you prepare the pastry case. I used a rectangular tin, measuring 10cm x 32cm this, but a round or square tin works just as well. Line the tray and fill with the butternut squash filling. Use the leftover pastry to create a lid using one whole piece to cover or cut shapes to create a pattern. Brush the pastry with egg or milk and sprinkle with some chia or poppy seeds.

Bake in a medium hot oven for 45 minutes. The top should be golden brown.

Cool slightly before serving with a tossed green salad.