Sunday, February 15, 2015

Curried Veggie Pie with Buttermilk Crust

Someone gave me a bag full of parsnips. "What will I make with these?" I asked myself. My love of all foods encased in dough caused me to Google "parsnip pie"; a recipe popped up that I tweaked to my liking. The result was a deep, creamy pie full of veggies, cashews, and raisins encased in a tender crust washed in egg and sprinkled with black sesame seeds. Perfect comfort food for a cold winter's night.

for a 9.5-inch pie dish





1 1/4 cup white flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
salt and pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
2 sticks cold butter, sliced
splash or two cold buttermilk
egg (for the wash)
black sesame seeds (for sprinkling on top; optional)




4 parsnips, sliced thinly
4 carrots, sliced thinly
8 shallots, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
4 small golden potatoes, diced
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 1/4 cups whole milk
4 oz grated sharp cheddar
salt and pepper





Sift flours and add salt, pepper, and oregano. Cut in the sliced butter (I usually crumble it in my hands until the flour is uniformly coarse, with some pieces as big as peas). Add the buttermilk a splash at a time, mixing with your hands until the dough comes together in a ball. Divide the ball into two, flatten into discs, and wrap each disc in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or freeze for later use).



Place parsnips, carrots, potatoes, and shallots into a large pot or Dutch oven. Cover with water and heat until the water comes to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes then drain the veggies, saving 1 1/4 cups of the stock.

While the veggies are simmering toast the nuts on a pan over high heat until they are golden-brown (a little burnt is okay).

In your pot, melt the butter. Add the flour and curry powder and stir for two minutes. Add the veggie stock and the milk. Simmer for two minutes, stirring until the roux becomes uniformly thick. Remove from heat and add the cheese (it's okay to keep the pan on the heat for a minute or so if the cheese doesn't melt; I use Grafton cheddar, which is particularly resistant to the charms of fire). Stir until the cheese dissolves to make a thick, creamy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the veggies, peas, cashews, raisins, and cilantro. Mix well. Your kitchen will be the envy of all your neighbors as they inhale the warm Spice Islands aroma.

Let the mixture sit as you roll out the pie crust.

Preheat the oven to 400. 

Place one of your discs on a large piece of parchment paper. Place another large piece of parchment paper on top. Roll out the disc until it fits in your pie pan as the bottom crust. Poke a few holes in the crust with a fork, place some pie weights on top, and bake the crust for 10-15 minutes, until it begins to turn brown.

Meanwhile, roll out the remaining disc in the same way.

Allow the crust to cool (20 minutes is okay). Pour in the filling. Place the top crust on top and pinch along the edges. Hopefully, everything fits like a dream. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up the top crust.

With a large knife, slice from the center of the top crust to the middle of the crust. Do this in a circle all around the crust. You'll have 6-8 slices radiating from the center of the crust to its middle. It will look fancy and delicious, like a pie in a stock photo. Beat the egg and brush it on top of the crust (I use my hands; the Tipsy Crumpet has no pastry brush). Sprinkle liberally with black sesame seeds. Your pie looks stunning!

Place the pie in the oven, but wait! Be sure there's a layer of aluminum foil on the bottom rack so that you don't have any burning pools of curry smoking up your kitchen as the pie begins to bubble. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the curry simmering beneath it. If you've refrigerated the pie longer than 30 minutes (you can leave it in the refrigerator overnight), bake for 40 minutes.

Remove and dig in!


  • You can use any combination of veggies you like for this recipe. Next time, I'm going to sub 1 cup each of chopped cabbage, small broccoli florets, and small cauliflower florets for the parsnips. The parsnips tasted better to me over time (this pie ages well and will taste just as good, if not better, five days after baking), but at first, their sweetness seemed to clash with the savoriness of the other veggies. Green beans sliced into manageable pieces would also be killer in this pie.
  • I used to enjoy a similar pie at Sally Lunn's, an English tea shop in Princeton, NJ that has since closed. I added the raisins in homage to Lunn's. 
  • You could easily make this pie vegan by subbing coconut milk for the regular milk; in fact, this might work even better with the curry. I didn't taste the cheese at all after baking, so you could probably use another Tbsp of flour as a substitute. 


5 stars. This is wholesome and winsome, with flavors to die for. The crust perfectly complements the spiced veggies in their curry cream, and a small slice goes a long way. This is a winter dinner to last all week.

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