Chestnut Pie

Forever ago, in the 70s I remember Delia published a recipe for chestnut pie in the London Evening Standard. I cut it out and put it in one of those little scrap books many of us had in our kitchens when we were young, eager and acquisitive. A couple of years ago my brother in law Mark made the most delicious chestnut pie when we were staying with them in Bristol and he said it was a Delia recipe. My old scrap book had long been consigned to the bin but I was really pleased when he photocopied it for me (typewritten, faded, spattered with dried-on ingredients).

So. Here we go.

Melt some butter, add a finely chopped onion and celery and a large clove of garlic. Fry until soft then all one chopped skinned tomato, 225g chestnut puree, 200g chopped cashews and walnuts, 125 finely chopped mushrooms, half a teaspoon of paprika, chopped fresh thyme and basil, one beaten egg, 1 tablespoon of brandy. Mix all the ingredients together and season well with black pepper a little salt and a tablespoon of Burgess’ mushroom ketchup. Put in the fridge.

Then fry slices of large field mushrooms in butter and garlic, sufficient to fill one layer of your tin.

I find the pie is easiest to manage (ie serve) if I put it in small loaf tins rather than one big tin. Doing this ensures it is cooked in the middle and the slices are a good enough size without being unwieldly. So I use two small (500g) loaf tins, preferably non-stick.

Cut a big square of baking parchment. Chop off 80% chunk of pastry and roll it out on the parchment till you have a rectangle large enough to fit the base and sides of your tin. Put four little bits of pastry in each corner of the tin and drop in a piece of baking parchment along the length of the tin and up the ends (not sides). Press it down onto the little bits of pastry. Crazy I know. But foolproof. Not all ‘non-sticks’ are non-stick and there is nothing more frustrating than a pie in a tin that won’t budge when you want to get it out. This way, you can just lift it out.

So, with pastry in the tin add the filling and then top with the field mushrooms you cooked earlier. Then roll out the pastry lid, brush a little beat egg round the edge of the pie, roll the lid onto it , press down to make a good seal, then ‘knock up’ the edges with the blunt side of the knife. Brush with egg wash, piece the top and cook in the middle of the oven at 220C for about 25 minutes. It’s yummy.


My dear bruv-in-law has corrected my previous posting about Chestnut, walnut and mushroom pie. And I stand corrected. Here’s what he said:

“actually for the sake of accuracy/credit where credit is due the recipe is by Rose Elliott (rather than Delia), it was her famous Woman’s Hour recipe – back in the days of fact sheets it was the subject of the highest ever number or requests for a WH factsheet and the pdf I sent you was a scan of our original copy. The recipe is now in a Rose Elliott vegetarian recipe book, still described as the Woman’s Hour recipe. It’s a great favourite of ours and works well for a veggie Christmas dinner, non veggie guests like to have some too – it’s like stuffing to go with their turkey or whatever”

Thanks Mark.

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