Cheese & onion ploughman’s plait

  • Serves 4
  • Preparation Time 25 Minutes
  • Cooking Time 30 Minutes

Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free


I have been cooking plaits before my children were born, over 38 years ago. Every Christmas, buffet, party or family gathering, that’s a lot of plaits. Back then they were neither vegan nor gluten-free, although a lot were vegetarian.

My favourite has always been the cheese and onion one. Golden soft onions combined with potatoes and a few different kings of cheese, all encased in crisp flaky puff pastry. The pickle came later when an idea came to make a ploughman’s quiche. Sometimes it gets added or sometimes I add mustard or even vegan cream cheese now.

Vegan cheese has improved so much lately and there is a wide variety to choose from. I like to add a stronger one together with one that melts such as vegan mozzarella. It is not exactly health food although it is delicious. I like to have a slice warmed and served with a huge salad or in the winter some lovely vegetables.

  • Tangy
  • Crispy
  • Tasty
  • Savoury
  • Moreish

For this recipe I used Violife Epic strong cheese and their mozzarella version too.

Vegan” egg” washes

Normally before we place pastry baked goods in the oven we brush them lightly with an egg wash. This consists of a whole egg and some milk or egg yolk with milk. As vegans we still want our food to look golden and glossy These are some of the ingredients you can use to achieve that look.

  • Melted vegan butter
  • Vegan butter and soy milk
  • Soy milk
  • Almond milk
  • Aquafaba

How long does it keep?

Once this has cooled down on a cooling rack it will keep for 3-4 days wrapped tightly in the fridge. It can also be frozen once baked for 3 months in an airtight bag.

An added twist

If you prefer a softer silkier filling you could always cook the potato and mash it with butter and seasoning. Then stir through the cheese and onions. Either way, you decide to make it, it will be gorgeous.


Ingredients

  • 1 packet of vegan/gluten-free puff pastry
  • 600g of potatoes peeled and finely diced or sliced
  • 1 large white onion thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 25g of vegan butter
  • 1 thinly sliced leek
  • 200g of strong vegan cheddar grated
  • 150g of vegan mozzarella grated
  • 6 tbsp of Branston pickle, Dijon or wholegrain mustard

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C
  2. Add the oil and butter to a large frying pan and heat it slightly, then add the sliced onion and leek. Cook on a low heat until they are soft and golden, this should take Place into a large bowl and leave to cool. This should take around 15 minutes.
  3. Once the onions are cooled add the potatoes to them along with the grated cheese, and season well. Gently mix together.
  4. Open the pastry and unroll it, keeping it flat on the parchment paper included. Divide it into 3 equal sections down the short size. Cut 1- inch sections diagonally from the centre out. Do not cut the centre.

5. Down the centre of the pastry spread the pickle or a small amount of Dijon mustard if using. Next pile the filling down the centre.

6. Brush the ends of the cut strips with dairy-free milk and then start braiding. Starting at one end, bring one piece at a time across the centre, overlapping and alternating as you go.

7. Keep going until you get to the end, folding over the bottom edge. If you want to achieve a gloss to the finished look, then you could brush it with one of the vegan egg washes listed above. Slide it along with the paper onto a hot baking sheet. Bake until crisp and golden which should take approximately 25-30 mins.

 If you like this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Twitter as @veganalchemist1 or my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/146887870900498 I love seeing your versions of my recipes and I love hearing your comments.

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