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 the goods


1 2/3 cups pastry flour

4 oz butter

4 oz gruyere cheese, grated

1 egg

1 tspn salt

3 tblspns water


8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated

3 tspns powdered English mustard

2 tspns Wocestershire sauce

1/3 cup beer


1 medium head cauliflower

2 leeks

olive oil

egg white

salt and pepper



active: 20 mins

pastry resting time: 30 mins

baking time 45 mins 

you will need:

  • large saucpan or stockpot with lid and steamer attachment 
  • large pie dish
  • grater
  • small saucepan
  • skillet
  • food processor
  • baking parchment


Cauliflower 'rarebit' en croute

This started out as one of those terribly good ideas that occurs to me during some extreme hunger pangs. I love Welsh Rarebit; a tasty combination of cheddar cheese, mustard and beer which is usually served over toast. I also love cauliflower. The idea of combining them both and baking them in pastry just sounded too good to be true!

I made this to go along with my garlic and herb crusted roast lamb and, indeed, they baked alongside each other.

If you deign to do likewise, try following this timeline:

  1. make the pastry crust (5 mins in food procesor) and put it in the fridge to rest.
  2. make the garlic herb crust for the roast. (5 minutes).
  3. get the oven hot and start the roast cooking.
  4. sautee the leeks. Steam the cauliflower for 10 minutes, then plunge it in an ice bath.
  5. roll out your pastry and line the pie dish.
  6. baste the lamb and veggies.
  7. assemble the cauliflower, brush the pastry and pop it in the oven .
  8. remove the lamb and cauliflower when done.
  9. finish off the potatoes and gravy .
  10. eat!


Place the flour, salt, cubed butter and grated cheese into a food processor and pulse to blend. Add the egg and water and pulse. the mix should form a ball. Remove the pastry and wrap it in clingfilm, pat it into a disc shape (about 6 -7 inches) and sit it in the fridge to gather its wits.

Cauliflower and leeks:

Trim the caulflower of any leafy bits and cut the stem so that the whole thing sits flat. Place it in a steamer and let it steam for 10 minutes, until it starts to feel tender. Remove it from the heat and run it under cold water and / or cover it with ice cubes.

Slice the flayed tops off the leeks, then slice the bottoms off. The remaining stalks will be about 7 inches. Slice them down the middle lengthways, give them a rinse and then slice them into 1 inch chunks. Heat a little oil in a skillet and add the leeks. Season with salt and pepper and sautee over a medium heat. If you do this as the cauliflower starts steaming, they will take about the same time. Do not let them brown, they should just wilt. Their purpose here is to support the cauliflower in its pastry casing (and to add their lovely flavour!)

Melt the grated cheddar, mustard, worcestershire sauce and beer in a small saucepan. Low heat. Stir occasionally.

Butter or grease your pie dish. Place a large sheet of baking parchment on your work surface and place the unwrapped pastry in the centre. dust it with flour and, using a rolling pin, roll it out into a circle about 17 inches wide and about 1/4 inch thick.

Place your hand under the parchment and slide it to the centre of the pastry round. Carefully invert it into the pie dish and peel back the parchment. Let the excess pastry flop over the sides. Brush the entire surface of the pastry with egg white. Place the leeks in the middle of the pastry. Place the cauliflower on top of the leeks. Spoon the 'rarebit' (melted cheese) sauce over the cauliflower. Make sure to cover the whole head of the cauliflower.

Gently bring the excess pastry up around the cauliflower. Brush the outside of the pastry with egg white. The crown of it will remain uncovered and, indeed, the pastry will probably slump down a little during baking. That's fine. Trust me, I had a room full of grown men whimpering and cooing like babes suckling on the breast...they loved this gruyere rich crust.

This takes about 45 minutes to really just want the pastry to bake crisp and golden and for the cheese sauce to do likewise on the cauliflower. If you pop it into the oven halfway through the baking time of the roast lamb, it will all be timed very nicely.