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Christmas Tofu Wreath

For the ultimate Christmas showstopper you'd be hard pressed to find something more outstanding than this vegan pastry "wreath" filled with savoury tofu and brandied chestnuts. Our favourite vegan festive traditional centre piece is full of umami flavours, the perfect replacement to a turkey at Christmas, served with all the trimmings it has a real ‘wow’ factor and can be made well in advance.

Top tips

  • The wreath can be made a day or two in advance and baked off directly from the fridge. Once baked you can turn the oven down to 130C to keep it warm until ready to serve.
  • The wreath can be made without the pastry decoration for a gluten free variation, just use tamari instead of shoyu. Keeps for 4 days in the fridge once baked, fantastic thinly sliced in a sandwich or as part of a cold buffet.

And for more holiday cooking inspiration, check out our vegetarian Christmas recipe collection!

Christmas Tofu Wreath with Brandied Mushroom Chestnut Filling

Serves: 8 | Dietary: vegan, gluten free option

Prep time: 2 1/2 hours (including pressing and chilling time) | Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1200g tofu (3x400g cauldron packs)
  • (wrap the tofu blocks in a teatowel and press with a heavy weight overnight in the fridge to remove the excess liquid)
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil (untoasted)
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 8 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 recipe of brandied mushroom chestnut filling
  • 1 recipe of shoyu glaze
  • 1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
  • 1 tbsp olive oil if vegan for brushing onto pastry

Method

  1. Blend the garlic with the salt, black pepper, sesame oil, lemon juice and zest, add 1 pack of the tofu and the nutritional yeast to make a smooth paste. Mash this blend in with the rest of the tofu. Easiest to mash it all up really well with your hands, so the flavour is evenly dispersed and the mixture is not too lumpy.
  2. Line a 10 inch/25cm diameter ring mould with a large square of muslin, leaving plenty of overhang around the outside. Press the tofu into the mould and fold the muslin over the top. Weight it down by placing a heavy chopping board or large pan on top to compact the tofu, place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. While the tofu is being pressed make the mushroom filling.
  3. Scoop the middle out of the tofu ring, making a trough and fill it in with the mushroom filling. Press the scooped-out tofu back on top, which should be slightly domed up above the top of the ring mould, then press again with the weight and place the ring back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. While the tofu is being pressed make the shoyu glaze.
  5. Turn the tofu out onto a large tray lined with baking parchment and remove the muslin. Brush the shoyu glaze all over, it should be thick enough to adhere to the tofu without dripping. Chill the tofu again in the fridge again while you prepare the pastry.
  6. Unroll the puff pastry and cut 3/4 of it into long 1cm wide strips. Cut the remaining pastry with shaped cutters, we used holly leaf and star shapes, but you can use any shapes you’d like to give a Christmassy look.
  7. Keep the pastry chilled, taking each strip directly from the fridge as you go to make it easier to work with. You might not want to use the whole pack of pastry if you want a lighter look to the lattice effect, you can also try cutting different shaped strips and get creative with the pattern.
  8. Lay the pastry strips across the ring of tofu, criss-crossing to create a lattice affect, trimming the ends as needed. Twist a few strips and lay them along the top following the line of the ring and lay some around the base to line both the inner and outer edges of the ring. Finally decorate the wreath with the holly leaves and stars, placing them particularly over the joins of pastry.
  9. Brush the pastry with olive oil.
  10. Bake in the oven at 180CFan/200C/GasMark6 for 40 minutes until the pastry is puffed up and is a deep golden colour.
  11. Decorate with fresh bay leaves, fresh rosemary and frozen cranberries to give a festive look

Shoyu Glaze

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil (untoasted)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp shoyu (1 tbsp tamari if gluten free)
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Method

Boil together for a few minutes to reduce and thicken. Allow to cool before brushing onto the wreath.

Brandied Mushroom and Chestnut filling

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, chopped very finely
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 125g cooked chestnuts, crumbled
  • 75ml white wine
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brandy
  • 1/2 tbsp shoyu (1 tsp tamari if gluten free)
  • 1/4 tsp herb de provence
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Fry the onion in the olive oil for 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and fry for a minute, then add the mushrooms and fry until they have released their juices, add the wine and brandy and cook out of a minute
  3. Then add the chestnuts, shoyu, herbs and black pepper.
  4. Cook gently, until the liquid has been absorbed and the mixture is thick and not wet.
  5. Add the parsley and season with salt and plenty of black pepper to taste.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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