Preparing Rainbow picnic pie

This rainbow picnic pie ticks all the boxes when you’re aiming to eat a variety of different coloured veg. Ideal as a vegetarian option for feeding a crowd at a picnic or party.

Equipment: You will need a 20cm/8in springform tin, base lined with baking paper.


For the shortcrust pastry

  • 450g/1lb plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 225g/8oz cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 8 tbsp ice-cold water
  • 1 tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the filling

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large courgettes
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
  • 400g/14oz young leaf spinach
  • 200g/7oz roasted red peppers from a jar, drained
  • 500g/1lb 2oz ricotta cheese, well drained
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 2 tbsp chopped flatleaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp green olive tapenade
  • 100g/3½oz feta, crumbled


  1. To make the pastry, tip the flour into a bowl, add the butter and season well with salt and pepper. Use your fingertips to rub in the butter.

  2. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, add the iced water and vinegar. Using a palette knife and then your hands, bring the dough together into a ball. Flatten into a disc, cover and chill for 2 hours until firm.

  3. For the filling, preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Peel the butternut squash, cut in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Cut the flesh into 3–4mm/⅛in thick slices, tip into a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season well with salt and pepper and mix to coat. Arrange the butternut squash slices on a large baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes, until tender.

  4. Meanwhile, slice the courgettes into 3mm/⅛in thick discs. Arrange on another baking tray, add the garlic cloves, drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, scatter over the thyme leave and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes until tender. Leave the squash and courgettes to cool to room temperature.

  5. Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Cut off two-thirds of the pastry and roll out to form a disc, 2–3mm/about ⅛ in thick. Use it to line the base and sides of the springform tin, leaving any excess pastry hanging over the edges. Chill the pastry case while you prepare the remaining filling ingredients.

  6. Steam the spinach until just wilted, squeeze hard to remove any water and season generously with salt and pepper. Cut the roasted peppers into 2cm/¾in wide strips and set aside.

  7. Squeeze the roasted garlic into a bowl, add the drained ricotta, Parmesan, chilli flakes, dried oregano, 1 beaten egg and the chopped fresh herbs. Season well and mix to combine.

  8. Increase the oven temperature to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5 and place a heavy baking sheet on the middle shelf to heat up.

  9. To assemble the pie, scatter the dried breadcrumbs over the base of the pastry case and arrange the roasted butternut squash slices on top. Spoon half of the ricotta mixture over the squash and spread evenly. Spoon the spinach in a layer on top of the ricotta, followed by the sliced peppers. Spoon over the remaining ricotta and arrange the courgette slices on top. Spoon over the tapenade and sprinkle over the feta.

  10. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the remaining pastry to a 23cm/9in disc. Brush the edge of the pastry case with water and carefully lay the pastry disc on top to cover the filling. Press the pastry edges together to seal, then use a sharp knife to trim off any excess pastry. Crimp the pastry edges between your thumb and fingers. Roll out the pastry trimmings, cut out leaf shapes and stick to the top of the pie with a little water.

  11. Beat the remaining egg and brush over the top of the pie. Place on the hot baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 and bake for a further 25–30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.

  12. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

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