See also Nettle Soup for tasty soup plus general nettle notes
Use ready-made puff or filo pastry if you prefer: you might even have some lurking in your freezer.
1 large leek, trimmed, cut into ¾ cm slices
500g boiled, sliced root vegetables: carrot, parsnip, swede, and celeriac (retain 100ml cooking water)
3 x level tablespoons cornflour
Freshly ground black and ground white pepper
1 vegetable gel stock pot or similar
4 x gloved handfuls of young nettle tops, washed, dried and chopped
Generous handful of chopped chives and parsley
340g strong bread flour (for extra flakiness)
170g cold salted butter, diced
5 tablespoons cold water
1 small egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Preheat oven to 180C (fan oven) gas mark 6 or equivalent
You will need a buttered 24cm pie dish
Steam leeks until tender. Set aside.
Mix the cornflour to a smooth paste in a heavy-bottomed pan with 2-3 tablespoons of milk.
Gradually add the remaining milk and vegetable cooking water, stirring constantly. Change to a whisk as it loosens.
Bring to the boil still whisking. Lower the heat and whisk until smooth. Stir in the pepper and stock pot.
Combine with the vegetables in the pie dish. Cool.
Whiz the flour and butter into fine crumbs in a food processor. Add water and whiz until large clumps form. Remove from the machine and knead gently into a ball.
Roll out and mark a circle to fit the top of your dish.
Grease the dish rim and line with a strip of pastry. Brush with egg-wash and lift pastry circle on top. Indent the edges to seal with a knife handle or similar.
Brush with egg-wash and decorate with pastry leaves. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Using Filo Pastry
If you’re using filo pastry you’ll need about 6 sheets more or less.
Brush melted butter over the first sheet and lay butter side down over the filling in the dish.
Fold the edges back over themselves inside the dish and tuck in. Brush with melted butter.
Repeat with the remaining sheets.
Filo a bit worse for wear at the bottom of the freezer? No worries!
Has forgotten filo from the depths of the freezer got a bit dry and papery? No worries, just carry on, butter any broken fragments on both sides and distribute between the layers. The butter, heat and steam will soften them up during baking.