• 900g butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into small cubes
• 2 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp maple syrup
• 4 unpeeled whole garlic cloves
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 x 375g packs of ready-rolled puff pastry
• 100g baby spinach leaves
• 85g shelled pistachios
• 1 red chilli, deseeded and diced
• 100g grated Cheddar cheese
• 4 tsp green pesto
• 4 tsp cranberry sauce
• 1 medium free-range egg, beaten
Makes 2 (serves 4-6)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 50-60 minutes
Butternut Squash Festive Wreath
These colourful puff pastry wreaths are easier to assemble than they look and make a fabulous centrepiece for Christmas Day lunch or dinner.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.
Place the squash and red onions on two other baking trays and drizzle with the olive oil and maple syrup. Tuck the garlic cloves in between, season lightly with salt and pepper and roast in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until tender and starting to caramelise.
Meanwhile, roll out the pastry sheets, if necessary, until they are about 6mm thick and big enough to cut a large round from. Place each one on a lined baking tray. Using a 27cm flan tin or a dinner plate as a guide, place it on top of each pastry sheet and cut round it to make a large circle. Set aside the pastry trimmings. Next, use a smaller plate to lightly score out an inner circle in the centre of each round. Use a sharp knife to cut through the pastry of the inner circle, first lengthways, then widthways, and again through the quarters to create 8 sections.
Squeeze the garlic out of the skins and stir into the hot roasted squash and onion mixture. Add the spinach and leave it to wilt slightly and soften. Place spoonfuls of the mixture in a ring around each pastry disc, avoiding the outer edge and the central star. Sprinkle with the pistachios, chilli and grated cheese. Drizzle alternately with pesto and cranberry sauce around the ring on top.
Work your way round each disc, raising the outer edge a little and pulling the point of each cut inner section over the filling towards the pastry edge. Pinch them together with your fingers to seal.
Lightly brush the pastry with beaten egg and, if using, attach some pastry stars with a little more beaten egg. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until puffed up, crisp and golden brown.
Tips & Variations:
• Use swede or pumpkin instead of squash.
• Add diced brie instead of grated hard cheese.
• Sprinkle the wreaths with sesame seeds before cooking.
• Roll out the pastry trimmings to make ‘stars’ to decorate the tops.
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This flavoursome vegetarian tart is one of those quick and easy recipes that can be thrown together in next to no time, with no special skills or equipment needed!