Family Food and Feelings
Cauliflower Cheese Pastries
‘Family, Food and Feelings by Kate Berry, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Kate Berry’
“Cauliflower cheese is a staple of the country pub bain marie, which is probably why I love it so much. Nothing makes me happier than counter meals in far-flung places, but I also like putting my own spin on them at home. So instead of serving this as a side for a huge chunk of roast meat, I wrap it in flaky pastry and make little hand pies.”
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 onion, sliced
4 thyme sprigs
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
3 sheets ready-made puff pastry, thawed
1 free-range egg, beaten
50 g (½ cup) grated parmesan
2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
For the cheese sauce:
60 g butter
3 heaped tablespoons plain flour
750 ml (3 cups) milk, heated
large handful of grated mature cheddar
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
(optional) salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 225°C (fan-forced).
Pop the cauliflower florets, onion, thyme, garlic and olive oil on a large baking tray, season with salt and pepper
and gently toss to combine. Roast, tossing occasionally, for 35–40minutes or until almost tender. Remove and set aside but leave the oven on.
While the cauliflower is roasting, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, then whisk in the flour to create a smooth paste. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking constantly, then cook for 5–10 minutes or until the sauce is thick and smooth. You want it to be slightly thicker than a normal bechamel.
Take the sauce of the heat, then add the cheese, mustard and cayenne pepper (if using), and season to taste. Stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Add the roasted cauliflower and gently stir through. Set aside.
Place the pastry sheets on a clean bench and cut each sheet into four squares (so you have 12 all up).
Line two baking trays with baking paper. Place a pastry square on one of the prepared trays and pop a heaped tablespoon of the cauliflower mixture in the middle. Bring the four corners together into the centre and pinch together.
Repeat with the remaining pastry squares and cauliflower cheese.
Brush the pastries with beaten egg and sprinkle with the parmesan. Pop them in the oven for 15–20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with thyme, then serve with your fave relish or sauce.