6 sheets of filo pastry (but I used all of the defrosted sheets, about 10)
23 cm spring form tin
2 tsp curry powder (or whatever spice)
675ml whole milk
75g plain flour
50g butter (plus about 15g for brushing the filo sheets).
1 1/2 tbsp English Mustard
2 cloves of garlic
Greens or herbs
Zest of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 180 Fan. Toss cauliflower in olive oil, curry powder, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes.
While the cauli is roasting, melt 50g of butter on a medium heat. Stir in the flour and make a light roux. The flour is cooked when it smells toasty and tasty – like popcorn according to Noor.
Slowly add the milk to the butter-flour roux pan, whisking all the time to get rid of lumps. I can’t remember the last time I had a perfectly smooth béchamel so don’t stress about it.
Once all the milk is in the pan, crush the two cloves of garlic straight into the pan, followed by the mustard. The English mustard gives this sauce a satisfyingly vivid hue, but dijon would also work fine. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until the béchamel is thick and luxe.
Add the cheese to the béchamel and stir till the cheddar has melted into an even more luxe sauce. Leave to one side.
By this point, you should have your roast cauliflower and your cheese sauce. Turn the oven down to 170 Fan and get your filo and pie dish ready. Noor uses a springform cake tin, but mine have such high sides, I used a loose bottomed flan dish of roughly the same size. It’s not too prescriptive. Just make sure you line your dish. Filo is an untidy pastry, so I used pressed a big sheet of greaseproof into my dish rather than cutting it to size.
With your prepared cake tin, flan dish or roasting tin in hand. Melt 15g of butter with 2 tablespoons of oil. Clear a bit of space as you’ll need somewhere flat to prep your filo.
Working methodically, lay one filo sheet out and brush lightly with the butter-oil mix. If you don’t have a pastry brush, drizzle half a teaspoon of butter-oil and spread out with a clean hand. If you rip the pastry, who cares! Keep going. Put the buttery, oily filo sheet into your chosen pie-vessel and move onto your next filo sheet. Lay it out, butter it, into tin. Lay it out, butter it, into tin. You get the idea. Keep going till you’ve used all your filo.
Spread half the cheesy-mustardy béchamel onto the bottom of your filo pie dish. Neatly (or haphazardly) arrange your cauliflower in the pie dish. Smother with the remaining half of the cheese sauce.
Fold any filo hanging over the sides of the dish on top of the filling. Brush any remaining butter-oil on this fold-over crust. Bake your cauliflower cheese pie for 30 minutes in your preheated oven.
Disclaimer: I actually missed this next step altogether. My pie was cooked, but in hindsight the sides weren’t as golden as Noor’s finished filo.
Take the pie out of oven. Remove the sides from your springform tin or flan dish. Remove the greaseproof paper from the sides of your pie. Perhaps easiest to snip away the excess from around the base of the pie dish. Return the pie to the oven for a further 25 minutes.
Once your crispy, golden, cheesey pie is out of the oven, allow to stand for 10-15 minutes. Use this time to make a side salad, or reflect on your accomplishments today. Grate over the lemon zest and sprinkle over some greens or herbs. I chose flat-leaf parsley.