Curried cauliflower cheese pie – Ottolenghi


Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Serves: Serves 6 :

This curried cauliflower cheese pie turned out utterly, incredibly delicious. It’s an amazing vegetarian master piece to impress your friends and family.

This recipe is from « OTK : Ottolenghi Test Kitchen – shelf love », new Ottolenghi’s cookbook co-wrote with Noor Murad. They described this pie as a «  molten hot cheese lava », I couldn’t find better words to describe how indulgent, creamy and very delicious this pie is.

It’s true that is very easy to prepare, but I have to say that it takes some time. So I decided to make it Friday for lunch as a weekend project. The weekend in Dubai starts Friday afternoon until Sunday, yes 2 days and half.

How to make this stunning curried cauliflower cheese pie ?

First the cauliflower florets are seasoned with curry, salt, black pepper and a little of olive oil, then roasted for about 20 minutes. The curry brings this Indian touch to the dish which I loved.

Meanwhile, the sauce béchamel was made. Once it’s ready you add the garlic, English mustard, grated mature cheddar as you can use any cheese like Gruyère, comté….and some salt to season. Let you imagine how much this béchamel is delicious .

When the cauliflower and béchamel are ready, it’s time for you to cover a springform cake tin with buttered filo sheets. Make sure to use a very good quality of filo.

Cover the base with half of the béchamel, then add the roasted cauliflower florets. The remaining béchamel is added on top to cover all the cauliflower florets. The pie is baked for 30 minutes, after that the springform’s side was released and the pie was returned to the oven for another 20 minutes so the pie is crunchy and golden all over.

Ottolenghi and Noor suggest to serve the pie with a simple salad, ( lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, radish…. And very easy dressing (lemon juice, olive oil,salt and black pepper)).

This pie is crunchy, cheesy and very delicious. It’s an impressive vegetarian dish, definitely a winner.

If you are a cauliflower and Indian flavours lover check this « Mustardy cauliflower cheese gratin » from « Simple ». It’s one of my favourite ways to make and eat cauliflower.

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Curried cauliflower cheese pie - Ottolenghi

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Total time: 2 hours 05 minutes
  • Serves: Serves 6 :

Ingredients :

  • 1 large cauliflower (700g), trimmed and cut into bite size florets
  • 2 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 75 g all purpose flour
  • 675 ml full fat milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp English mustard
  • 150 g mature cheddar , roughly grated
  • salt and black pepper

Assembly & Baking :

  • 6 sheets of good quality filo pastry
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 40 g melted unsalted butter , or melted clarified butter
  • 1 Tbsp roughly chopped parsley, to serve
  • 1-1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest , to serve

Method :

  • 1)

    Preheat the oven to 180C fan. Line the bottom and sides of 23cm ( I used 20cm) springform cake tin with baking parchment.


  • 2)

    Put the cauliflower florets on a large parchment – lined baking tray and toss with the curry powder, the olive oil, 1/2 tsp of salt and a good grind of black pepper.


    Roast for about 20 minutes, until cooked through and lightly coloured. Set aside and turn the oven temperature down to 170C Fan.



  • 3)

    Meanwhile make the béchamel. Put the butter into a medium saucepan on a medium – high heat. Once melted whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, its important to cook the flour, it should start to smell nutty. Turn the heat down to medium and slowly add the milk a little at a time whisking  continuously to prevent any lumps. Cook whisking often for about 7 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened.

    Remove from the heat, stir in the garlic, the mustard, the cheese and season with 1/4 tsp of salt and a good grind of black pepper, stir until the cheese has melted.


  • 4)

    Keep your filo sheets under a damp tea towel to prevent from drying out. In a bowl, combine the (40g) melted butter and (1-1/2 tbsp) olive oil.

    Working one sheet at a time, brush the exposed side of the filo with the butter mixture and drape it into your prepared tin (buttered side up), pushing down gently to fit. Continue in this way with the next filo sheet, brushing it with butter and the laying it over the bottom sheet, rotating it slightly so the overhang drapes over the sides at a different angle. Do this with all six sheets, until you cover the tin in a harmonious way.



  • 5)

    Spoon half the béchamel, into the base.



  • 6)

    Top with the roasted cauliflower florets, and spoon over the remaining béchamel, cover all the cauliflower with the béchamel.



  • 7)

    Crimp up the overhang so that it creates a messy scrunched – up border around the edges, leaving the center exposed.



  • 8)

    Brush the top of the filo border with the remaining butter mixture, then transfer the tin to a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes (170C Fan).



    Using a tea towel to help you, carefully release the outer circle of the springform thin and return the pie to the oven for another 20-25 minutes or until the sides are nicely coloured and everything is golden and bubbling.

    Leave to settle for 15 minutes, top the pie with the parsley and lemon zest and serve warm.



  • 9)

    Serve the pie with a crunchy salad. Enjoy !!




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