Saturday, 6 December 2014

Chestnut and Vegetable Lattice Bakes

Chestnut and Vegetable Lattice Bakes
This is my latest Christmas Dinner recipe, for those who want something a little different from a nut roast but don't want to resort to meat substitutes. I made two different versions of these individual lattice bakes; one to my taste and one for the rest of the family. I love the combination of sweet vegetables and fruits together, so mine contained mushrooms, sweet potato and cranberries. The others hate that sort of combo, so I cooked theirs with mushrooms, white potato, celery and no cranberries!

If you don't want to make these lattices which have quite a chunky filling, you can blend the mixture to fill sausage rolls or to make a nut roast.
If you haven't cooked with chestnuts before, it's worth trying them out. On their own they have quite a strange, slightly sweet taste, but they add a great depth of flavour and texture to vegetarian and vegan dishes.

Makes 4 individual bakes or around 20 small sausage rolls.
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 100g/4oz cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped. I used Merchant Gourmet vacuum packed chestnuts.
  • 100g/4oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 50g/2oz walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 50g/2oz macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato (swap for 2 medium parsnips, 1 large, white baking potato or a mixture of chopped root vegetables), peeled and diced into 1cm chunks- approx 200g/8oz peeled weight
  • 25-50g dried cranberries, optional (for the more savoury version, use 2 sticks of chopped celery, or just omit the cranberries)
  • 1-2 tsp dried sage or 2-4 tsp chopped fresh sage, to taste
  • nutmeg and black pepper to season
  • 1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry
Heat the oven to 190C/180C Fan/Gas 5/375F.
Drizzle your chosen root vegetable/s in olive oil and roast for around 30 minutes until golden brown and soft, turning once or twice.
Meanwhile, heat a drop of olive oil in a large pan and soften the onions. Add the mushrooms and celery (if using). Cook down to evaporate most of the moisture.
Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients (except the pastry!).
Season and add sage to taste.
Remove the root vegetable/s from the oven and crush/mash lightly, so that you still have recognisable lumps of vegetable. Turn the oven up to 210C/200C Fan/Gas 6/400F
Mix all ingredients together.

*At this point you can decide whether to blend the ingredients, to make a nut roast or sausage roll mixture.

If making the lattices, cut the pastry into 4 equal pieces.
Cut 8 lines into the outer thirds of the pastry (see photo).
Spoon a good 2-3 tbsp of mixture along the middle of each piece of pastry, and press down to form an oval mound.
Dampen the edges of the pastry and cross over the first 4 strips from each side alternately. Repeat from the other end of the lattice, so that you end up crossing the last strips over in the centre.
Brush with oil and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.

*Alternative cooking instructions: If making sausage rolls, reduce the cooking time to 20-25 mins.
If making a nut roast, blend the mixture, tip into a greased and lined loaf tin and press down.
Cover tin with foil (uncover for the last 10 minutes).
Bake for 40-50 mins at 180C/170C Fan/350F/Gas 4.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before turning out and slicing. 
Freezing: If you want to make any of these in advance and freeze them. Slightly under cook and allow to cool. Wrap in foil and freeze. Defrost completely before re-heating. 

For more Christmas recipes, including exclusive step-by-step videos from Alex Mackay, and details of the full product range visit

I received some complimentary Merchant Gourmet products for recipe development. All views expressed are genuine. 
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