Vegan Thanksgiving pithiviers

Vegan Thanksgiving pithiviers

vegan thanksgiving pithiviers

Is anyone else finding it hard to cope with these super short and dark days? I do big time, I must admit. I’ve been generally struggling with my mood lately, but the lack of sunlight is definitely not helping. I notice that on the rare days when the sun is shining I am instantly feeling better, so there is definitely some connection here. Well, short of moving to a different part of the globe (‘no more!!’ I cried some time ago), there is not much one can do other than wait for spring, I guess. I’m still doing the running 4-5 days a week and that’s definitely helping my mood, but it can only do so much.

It’s just as well that I’ve ramped up my running, as with Xmas only a month away, I start to gravitate towards comfort foods and I’m experiencing an unusual (for me) dislike for salads, unless they are warm (so not really salads at all 🙂 ). This little dish of mini pithiviers (French pies) might come in handy for those of you who are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow and are expecting some vegan guests – I bet they will be really happy to be offered these little parcels of plant deliciousness in the place of turkey.

They are also quite handy if, like us for Xmas, you are going to bring your own food to a non-vegan friend’s house. They travel well and their number can be easily scaled up or down depending on how many people you are catering for. They are quite cute and because of their diminutive size they take very little time to heat up. They go well with cranberry sauce, balsamic glaze or a vegan gravy and all the usual trimmings. I can promise you that they will leave you satisfied but not so overly full that you’ll go into a food coma straight after eating and kill the party mood 😉 (based on a true story…)

vegan thanksgiving pithiviers process

vvegan thanksgiving pithiviers baked

vvegan thanksgiving pithiviers cut

makes
2
PREP
45 min
COOKING
30 min
makes
2
PREPARATION
45 min
COOKING
30 min
INGREDIENTS
  • 300 g / 10.5 oz solid part of butternut pumpkin / squash or sweet potato*
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small shallots, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • a few springs of thyme, leaves picked or two pinches of dry thyme
  • salt, to taste
  • 200 g / 7 oz (weight assumes leaves only) spinach
  • black pepper, to taste
  • a good pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 sheet vegan puff pastry**
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp plant milk (soy milk works well), to glaze

METHOD
FILLING

  1. Heat up the oven to 200° C / 390° F (20° C / 70° F less if using fan function) and line a baking tray with a piece of baking paper.
  2. Peel your butternut pumpkin / squash or sweet potato and cut it into 1.25 cm / 0.5″ thick slices.
  3. Brush the slices with olive oil and pop them on the prepared tray. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the slices are soft and lightly caramelised. Allow to cool and season well.
  4. Heat up 1.5 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the finely diced shallots and fry on a low-medium heat until gently caramelised. Add the chopped garlic, thyme and a pinch of salt. Stir-fry until softened and fragrant.
  5. Add in the chopped spinach and allow the spinach to wilt into the pan. Season with salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg.
  6. Once the spinach has wilted, allow all the moisture to cook out gently. Cool the mixture off.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Cut two smaller circles (about 10 cm diameter) and two slightly larger ones (about 12 cm diameter) out of a sheet of puff pastry. I used two upside down bowls as a guide, running a knife alongside the outer edge. The smaller circles will form the bottoms of your pithiviers and the larger ones will become the top.
  2. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the surface of the smaller circles leaving a small margin all around for sealing the pastry.
  3. Place a circle of roasted butternut squash on top, follow by a pile of spinach and top with a generous layer of chopped pecans.
  4. Drape the larger circle over the filling to create a dome, sealing it with the end of a fork or your fingers all along the base.
  5. Make a pronounced hole in the top of the dome to allow the steam to escape during baking. With the blunt side of a pairing knife, make shallow incisions (take care not to pierce the pastry) that go from the bottom of each pithivier to the top, following a slight curve.
  6. Place them in the fridge for 30 minutes while you heat up the oven to 200° C / 390° F.
  7. Brush the pithiviers with a little plant milk and optionally sprinkle with some coarse salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds or nigella seeds.
  8. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until the pastry is beautifully puffed and golden. Serve with a cranberry sauce and your favourite side dishes.

NOTES
 *It’s a good idea to pick a butternut pumpkin / squash or sweet potato that is quite thick so that the dense part is roughly 9 cm in diameter when sliced. If that’s not available, that’s okay too (and you could totally use a different type of dense pumpkin too) – simply fashion the base from a few different pieces that weld nicely together.

**I know that Jus-Rol and Pepperidge Farm are definitely vegan and that Dufour definitely isn’t. If in doubt, check the packet for more details.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
411
21%
sugars
6 g
7%
fats
28 g
40%
saturates
5 g
23%
proteins
8 g
16%
carbs
37 g
14%
*per pithivier
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5.0
6 reviews, 17 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Vicki:
looking forward to making this at Christmas
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Vicki, I hope you'll enjoy it! x Ania
Jenn:
Hello! Can this be made as one big “pie?” I would like to make these for Thanksgiving but there are 13 of us
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Jenn,
    How lovely that you have as many as 13 like-minded individuals to celebrate with - that's amazing! Sure you can make it into a big pie but 13 people is a lot. I have some other larger centerpieces that may be suitable but they will feed 8-10 people at the most: vegan wellington, giant vegan sausage roll, vegan roast and squash wellington to name just a few. If making a bigger pie, it may be a good idea to bake on a preheated pizza stone or upside down metal tray to ensure the bottom isn't soggy. Hope this helps! Ania
Laura:
I made this for Thanksgiving last year and came back to find the recipe for this year. These are so good and even my non vegan family loved them. It’s not horribly difficult for something that looks so impressive too. I’m a horrible cook and pulled them off! I was wondering if I could make the night before up to the leave in the fridge for 30 mins part and then bake for dinner time. Thanks for your time and the recipe!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Laura! I am delighted to hear that this dish has gone down so well with you and your non vegan family - given all the negative press around vegan food, that's always such a win, isn't it? Yes, I think making it the night before will work - my only worry is that pastry may get soggy so I would maybe refrain from assembly until just before baking. And thanks so much for taking the time to review, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Pamela Dodds:
Made these for my daughter in law and grandson. They were raving over them. Looked great too when cut open
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Pamela! I am so happy to hear that your guests enjoyed these so much and many thanks for taking the time to let me know - I really appreciate it! x Ania
Lydia Kirkes:
I made these for Thanksgiving and they came out absolutely amazing! I used sweet potato and only about half of the recommended spinach because I under bought. No complaints, they were delicious and looked beautiful!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks for your kind words, Lydia! I am delighted to hear that they were such a success and many thanks for taking the time to review - it helps my work be seen, I appreciate it! x Ania
Tatty:
Hello Ania :) we're making these for Christmas day, they look amazing! Quick question - can they be made the day before and then cooked in the oven on christmas? what would you suggest?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Tatty,
    Yes, I think you should be okay but I haven't tried doing that myself, I'm afraid. The only worry I have is the pastry getting soggy from the filling, but high oven temperature should banish any sogginess. Perhaps it's worth (just an idea, I haven't tried it) increasing the oven temperature a little for the first 5-10 minutes? Ania
Nancy Lou:
Made these at Christmas last year and everyone loved them! So colorful, tasty and healthy... Merci beaucoup 💓 Ania
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you for your kind words, Nancy! I'm so happy to see that you enjoy so many of my recipes and thank you so much for taking the time to leave so many kind comments on them. x Ania
Kathryn Khoury:
Hi, can these be prepared the day before they are baked? Thanks
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi,
    If you want to sure, but there is a chance (I am not sure as I've never done it myself) that the filling will make the pastry soggy. Hope that helps! Ania
Anita:
Can you freeze these and cook them at a later date? Thanks
    Ania
    Ania:
    I don't see why not, however, I have not tried doing that myself! Ania
Christine Baker:
That would be nice with a mushroom on the bottom or the sweet potato/ pumpkin
    Ania
    Ania:
    It sure would!
Ana María de js. Rodríguez Meléndez:
Son buenísimas y fabulosas iidea gracias
Sally:
These are perfect little parcels.. bet you'll have to guard them from the omnivores! I believe a number of Scandinavians use bright light therapy to get them through SAD symptoms, could help'. Bright photographic lights, even though you prefer natural light, could benefit especially with the length of time you spend perfecting everything? I hate to think of you down especially as your site brings so much pleasure to your followers.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks, Sally! You are always so kind and considerate! Yeah, I might have to look into getting one of those lights if things don't improve. For now, I am trying running, meditation and breathing techniques in the hope that they will relieve my symptoms a bit. I hate being in this state of mind :( Thank you for your continued support and encouragement! xx Ania
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