Imagine for a moment that you are the kind of person who on a summer’s day gets up early, cooks a variety of incredibly fancy food, packs it into a traditional wicker hamper and takes your family out for a picnic. It’s probably eaten sat on a checked blanket. Off proper crockery. And fed to children with names like Caspian and Seraphina. And alongside your smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches and homemade scotch eggs this pie would not look out of place.
I say this but I cooked it in my greasy, hasn’t-been-properly-clean-since-we-moved-in, always-has-a-pile-of-dirty-washing-up-next-to-the-sink kitchen and then ate off my lap in front of the telly. And the day after I ate chicken nuggets, chips and spaghetti hoops for dinner. So it may look, sound and taste fancy but it’s deceptively easy.
A note on feta cheese; do not go all cheap-skate when you’re in the supermarket and buy innocuous ‘Greek salad cheese.’ It is not the same. For one thing it doesn’t melt so you just end up with lumps of it in your mash and secondly I think it might actually have been halloumi. So go crazy and splash out that extra 50p on the good stuff, it is worth it.
Insisting that you use precisely 400g each of sweet potato and butternut squash is a little impractical. They do not come in nice easy sizes like that. So what I suggest you do is buy more than you need, cook and mash it all and then freeze what you don’t want today for another time. It freezes really well and can be defrosted in the microwave in ten minutes (depending on how large a quantity you have of course).
Serves 4, takes just under an hour, makes a medium amount of washing up (my highest priority when I’m cooking is minimising washing up).
400g butternut squash
400g sweet potato
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 clove garlic
100g pine nuts
Salt and pepper
2 tsp oregano
150g feta cheese
12 sheets filo pastry
1 tbsp olive oil
Peel and chop the sweet potato and peel, chop and core the butternut squash, cutting both into 2cm cubes.
Boil in pan of salted water for 25 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Finely chop the garlic.
Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and pine nuts. Toast for 5 minutes.
When soft, drain and mash the sweet potato and butternut squash.
Crumble the feta into the mash, mix in the pine nuts and garlic and season with the salt, pepper and 1 tsp of the oregano.
Spread 4 sheets of the filo pastry on the base of an oven proof dish so that they overlap each other. Brush with the olive oil and season with salt, pepper and a light sprinkling of oregano. Repeat with a second and third layer of 4 filo sheets (don’t worry if they tear, it’s almost impossible for them not to).
Dollop the mash into the middle of the filo sheets and then gather up the edges of the pastry and fold them over the top.
Cook in the oven for 20 minutes until the pastry is golden and crispy.
Serve with a green salad.