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Butternut squash, leek and za'atar pie

Main Christmas
Serves 8
Prep 30 min
Cook 1 hr
Rest 1 hr

This comforting pie makes for a great celebratory centrepiece, and a refreshing alternative to a nut roast. It benefits from being assembled the day before, giving it a good amount of time to set in the fridge before baking. You can also cook it in advance, just reheat at 175C for 20 minutes before serving.


1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 3cm pieces (650g)
1 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp ground cinnamon
60 ml olive oil
1 large leek, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced (165g)
6 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped (125g)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp za’atar + 1.5 tsp for sprinkling
100g chard, leaves and stems finely chopped
165g cream cheese
100g feta, finely crumbled
2 sheets pre-rolled all butter puff pastry (23x36cm)
1 egg, beaten
fine sea salt and black pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 190C fan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the squash, maple syrup and cinnamon with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Place on a large oven tray and bake for 15 minutes until just cooked through. Remove from the oven and transfer back into the mixing bowl to cool for 15 minutes then refrigerate until needed.
  3. Put a medium saucepan onto a medium high heat and add in the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir in the leeks, spring onions, garlic and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for 8 minutes until the leeks have softened, then add 1 tablespoon za’atar and cook for one more minute. Add in the chard with 1 tablespoon of water and cook for a further 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl and set aside to cool for 15 minutes, then refrigerate until needed.
  4. Meanwhile, place the cream cheese and feta into a medium mixing bowl and mix with a spatula until the cream cheese has softened and combined with the feta. Add in the butternut squash, mix to combine and refrigerate until needed.
  5. Next, unroll the two sheets of puff pastry and roll them out to 25x40cm. Cut one sheet down to 15x40cm, and, if you like, use a small christmas cookie cutter to cut out shapes from the trim (optional). Place the untrimmed sheet onto a large, lined baking and place the cut-outs alongside. Refrigerate until ready to use. Place the trimmed puff pastry sheet on a large lined baking tray, pierce all over with a fork and use a knife to lightly mark a 4 cm border around the edges.
  6. Spoon the cooled leeks on top of the base of the trimmed sheet, avoiding the edges, then spread the butternut squash on top. Brush the border with the beaten egg, then take your refrigerated sheet of pastry and drape it over the pie. Use a fork to press down and seal all along the border, then trim and discard any rough edges. Brush the pie and the cut-outs (if using) with any extra beaten egg, then arrange the cut-outs on top of the pie. Sprinkle the pie evenly with the remaining 1½ tsp za’atar. Refrigerate the pie on its tray for at least one hour or overnight if getting ahead.
  7. Preheat the oven to 210C fan.
  8. Bake the pie from cold for 15 minutes, until golden. Reduce the temperature to 170C fan and cook for a further 45 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for at least 20 minutes. Transfer onto a platter and serve warm or at room temperature.