snail pie

Snail pie

With a 7kg pumpkin to use up, this weekend I got a little creative with squash. After running through all the usual culprits, inspiration came in the form of a lazy morning watch Sunday Brunch.

The dish? Pumpkin Snail Pies.

Snails? Really? Well not actual escargot… Just a filo pie in the form of a snail. They looked so pretty, bejewelled with pomegranate seeds that I couldn’t wait to try them.

It was the perfect dish for a chilly October evening – full of warming spices. The ideal wine to pair with this dish would be a Viognier, with its aromatic quality and creamy body it would be more than a match for the pie.

But with the nights drawing in white wine is not currently in my vocabulary. Hence I plumped for the Catena Malbec from Argentina (Waitrose £12.99) which was just the red to pair with my Mediterranean dish. The spiciness of the dish reflected well in the wine, while not overpowering the delicate sweetness of the squash. It was more than adequate for my purposes, but if you really want your pairing to shine then the Viognier is the wine to go with.

Pumpkin Snail Pies
Serves 4
Maria Elia joins Sunday Brunch to cook these spicy and sweet squash-stuffed filo pies, served with a minty yoghurt dip.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  2. 1 tsp coriander seeds
  3. ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  4. 1 tsp ground cumin
  5. 1 tsp sweet paprika
  6. 6 tbsp olive oil
  7. 600g green pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
  8. 2 banana shallots, finely chopped
  9. 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  10. 80g whole blanched almonds, roughly chopped
  11. 100g cooked chickpeas, drained
  12. 50g raisins, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
  13. 2 tbsp lemon juice
  14. ½ bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  15. 8 sheets filo pastry
  16. 100g unsalted butter, melted
  17. 1 free range egg, beaten
  18. 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  19. 4 tbsp runny honey
  20. Pomegranate seeds and shredded mint leaves, to serve
For the pomegranate mint yoghurt
  1. 200g Greek yogurt
  2. Seeds from ½ pomegranate
  3. 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  4. 1 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped
  5. Pinch of ground cumin
  6. Pinch of sugar
  7. 1 tbsp lime juice
  8. Sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Dry-fry the cumin and coriander seeds in a small pan over a medium heat.
  2. Grind using a pestle and mortar and add the remaining spices, a pinch of salt and half the olive oil.
  3. Place the pumpkin or squash in a roasting tin and toss with the spiced oil mixture. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the shallots and cook until they start to caramelise, about 6 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and almonds and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, then remove from the heat.
  6. Add the chickpeas, drained raisins and pumpkin or squash and coarsely mash. Add the lemon juice and coriander and season to taste.
  7. Lay a sheet of filo on a clean work surface, brush with melted butter and top with another layer.
  8. Spoon a quarter of the pumpkin filling along the longest side, leaving a 2cm gap at each end; fold in the sides, then loosely roll up and twist into a coil.
  9. Place on an oven tray lined with parchment and repeat with the remaining pastry and filling.
  10. Brush the tops with beaten egg, scatter with sesame seeds and bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes.
  11. For the yoghurt, mix the ingredients in a bowl, season with a little sea salt and refrigerate before serving.
  12. Drizzle the snail pies with honey and serve hot or at room temperature, sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and shredded mint.
Julia Bailey http://juliabaileywine.co.uk/