Spring has arrived! Our coats have been promptly put away and our calendar is full of exciting brunch plans. This creamy cauliflower cheese pie fits in perfectly with our al fresco state of mind.
I was recently in charge of bringing a veggie dish to a friend’s place for brunch. I immediately started panicking. Does this happen to anyone else or am I the only person who stresses out about what to cook for days on end? I felt like this was an opportunity for people to taste the food that I take videos of and blog about. I cannot just dig into the freezer section of my favourite supermarket and pass off whatever comes out as my own. I have to make something gorgeous to prove that my Instagram feed is not a lie and in fact, I do love cooking and can pull it off most of the time. No pressure then.
What vegetarian dish can I make that will: a) feed a crowd, b) survive a 50 minute train journey and c) impress the socks off everyone? Creamy cauliflower cheese pie! It’s decadent enough for a party and perfect with a big, bright salad on the side.
Recipe adapted from Sainsbury’s
Creamy Cauliflower Cheese Pie
Bring this creamy cauliflower cheese topped with puff pastry to brunch and you'll be the talk of the party! It's goes well with a fresh green salad on the side.
- 800 ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1/2 onion
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cloves
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 60 g butter
- 60 g plain flour
- 200 g strong cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 large cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
- 375 g ready made low-fat puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C.
Pour the milk in a large saucepan with the onion, bay leaf, cloves, and nutmeg and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside to infuse for 10 minutes before straining. Discard the onion, bay leaf and cloves.
In another saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, then switch off the heat and slowly add the infused milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Turn the heat back on and bring the mixture to the boil for 5 minutes, until thick and creamy. Whisk in the cheese, English mustard, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add the cauliflower to a microwave-friendly bowl and fill with boiling water. Microwave for 4 minutes, until just softened. Drain and mix with the cheese sauce.
Pour the cauliflower cheese mixture into a baking dish and top with the ready rolled puff pastry, folding in any excess pastry around the edges, or cutting it off if you prefer.
Brush the pastry well with the beaten egg and pierce a hole in the middle to allow steam to escape. Decorate with any leftover pastry.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is deep golden. Leave to sit for 10 minutes before serving with a green side salad.
You can cook the cauliflower on the stove if you do not wish to microwave it.
Dust the pastry with a little flour and roll it out slightly to make the edges even. Do not take the pastry out of the refrigerator until you are ready for it as we don't want the butter to leak out. I even took the precaution to chill my cauliflower cheese for a few minutes before covering with the pastry.