I was inspired to make this dish after reading Anna the Red’s blog, which features a series of posts in which she recreates dishes from films by Studio Ghibli. Most of it isn’t vegetarian but I still really enjoy seeing what she’s come up with. Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of my favourite Ghibli films (a witch, a little black cat, a boy who turns his bike into a flying machine — so much adorableness) and I had a pumpkin lying around so I decided to make a version of this pumpkin pot pie.
The meals Kiki eats in this film aren’t particularly exciting. She’s just started her own business and she stretches her budget by living on pancakes (milk for Jiji the cat) while she’s building up a customer base. Running her delivery service out of a bakery, though, she does find herself surrounded by food. This particular dish, which is described in the film as a “pumpkin and herring pot pie” is one of the first things that Kiki carries across town after starting her new job.
If you search blogs and Youtube you’ll find quite a lot of people who have already replicated this pie. Many of them follow a similar recipe to Anna the Red’s: a layer of pumpkin puree, a layer of fish, and a layer of white sauce topped with pie dough. We never actually see the inside of the pie in the film, though, and since I was going to make changes to veganise the pie anyway I ended up just making a completely different dish. I used mushrooms instead of fish, added beans for extra protein, and cooked the pumpkin into a stew with onions, leeks, and herbs. The main similarities with the pie from the film are the decorations on top and the fact that it contains pumpkin.
My pie dough is based on the one from Vegan Brunch. I didn’t have the right ingredients and completely messed it up at first, but in the end I could roll it out reasonably well and even cut out something resembling a fish. :) The end-result was quite good, but I didn’t write down an exact recipe. It went something like this:
Sauté sliced mushrooms (250 g) and minced garlic in a frying pan until browned. Transfer them to a bowl and use the frying pan to sauté an onion (halved and sliced), a leek (also halved and sliced), and more garlic. Add cubes of pumpkin (I used a 700 g butternut squash) and dried herbs (mine were thyme, sage, and rosemary). Stir to combine, add half a litre of vegetable stock, cover the pan to bring it to the boil, and let simmer for about 10 minutes or until the pumpkin has softened. Then add chickpeas or white beans (about 250 g) and add the mushrooms back to the pan, too. In a small bowl, mix together a few tablespoons of flour or cornflour with a little water to form a slurry. Add this mixture to the stew, add some black pepper and minced fresh parsley, stir well and continue to simmer until the stew has thickened a bit. Transfer the contents of the pan to an oven dish and cover with a sheet of pie dough. Decorate with additional pieces of dough and olives if you like. Bake — I’ve forgotten to write down how long and at what temp, but I’d say about 30 minutes at 180 °C (375 °F)? — until the crust is nicely browned.