Roasted Vegetable and Smoked Tofu Plait
1 medium zucchini, sliced
Preheat the oven to 400°F
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 ounces shallots, peeled and cut in half (or quarters depending on size)
8 cloves smoked garlic, peeled and left whole
8 ounces smoked tofu, cut into small cubes
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 pound puff pastry, thawed if frozen
flour for rolling out
1 egg, lightly beaten or 1 tablespoon soya flour and 2 tablespoons water*
sesame or poppy seeds to decorate
Arrange the vegetables on a baking tray together with the smoked tofu. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in the preheated oven until the vegetables are tender and starting to char slightly. Season and leave to cool.
Gently toast the pine nuts under the grill until golden. Mix into the vegetables.
Roll out the pastry 8 ounces at a time on a floured surface, to an oblong 8 x 13 in and place on a greased baking tray. Arrange half the filling down the center of each piece. Cut strips 1/2-inch wide on either side of the filling leaving 1/2-inch uncut on either side of the filling. Bring alternate strips over to enclose the filling, securing with egg wash or soya flour paste*. Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash or soya paste* and decorate with sesame or poppy seeds.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until crisp, well risen and golden. Note: If you prefer you could use marinated tofu in place of smoked or for a non-vegan version you could leave out the tofu and top the vegetables with pieces of vegetarian Brie just before enclosing the filling in the pastry.
A dear friend and her sister served this to me for Xmas dinner in 2009. It had such a delightful mixture of savoury flavours, I wanted to eat the whole thing. This is a recipe that could easily take its place next to four-fork-rated recipes on Epicurious.com (four forks is the highest rating a recipe can be given on Epicurious).
Not all smoked tofu has the right balance of smoked flavour and delicate texture for this recipe. A chewy, heavily smoked tofu would not do this recipe justice. Buy two or three packages from different manufacturers and taste test them before using them in this recipe.
A picture of the dish would be good to help you determine how to do the plaiting (braiding) correctly. The Vegetarian Society, who claims copyright for this recipe, used to have the recipe and an image of the pastry on their website. It doesn't appear to be there now (12 December 2010). I suggest you email them or the webmaster of this site and ask for a picture if you think you will have difficulty figuring out the braiding. It looks beautiful when correctly done.
Glenna - Vegan from Canada, Location not stated.
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