Cauliflower cheese, but make it pie. This dish was once described as ‘molten-hot-cheese-lava’ and we think that’s pretty fitting for the ultimate comfort of comfort foods.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (21 votes)


  • 1 large cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-size florets (700 g)
  • 2 tsp mild curry powder
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g unsalted butter, 50 g cut into roughly 3-cm cubes and 50 g melted
  • 75 g plain flour
  • 675 ml full-cream milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1½ tbsp English mustard
  • 150 g mature cheddar, roughly grated
  • 6 sheets good-quality filo pastry (we use feuilles de filo)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped parsley, to serve
  • 1½ tsp lemon zest, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced. Line the bottom and sides of a 23-cm springform cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Put the cauliflower on a large, baking paper-lined baking tray and toss with the curry powder, half the oil, ½ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until cooked through and lightly coloured.
  3. Set aside, and turn the oven temperature down to 170°C fan-forced.
  4. Meanwhile, make the béchamel. Put the cubed butter into a medium saucepan on medium-high heat and, once
    melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 1–2 minutes – it should start to smell nutty (like popcorn). Turn the heat down to medium and slowly add the milk a little at a time, whisking continuously to prevent any lumps, until incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Cook, whisking often, for about 7 minutes, until thickened slightly. Off the heat, stir in the garlic, mustard, cheese and ¼ teaspoon of salt until the cheese has melted.
  5. Keep your filo sheets under a damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out. In a bowl, combine the melted butter and the remaining 1½ tablespoons of oil and keep to one side.
  6. Working one sheet at a time, brush the exposed side of the filo with the butter mixture and drape it into your prepared tin (buttered side up), pushing it down gently to fit. Continue in this way with the next filo sheet, brushing it with butter and then laying it over the bottom sheet, rotating it slightly so the overhang drapes over the sides at a different angle. Do this with all six sheets.
  7. Spoon half the béchamel into the base and top with the roasted cauliflower florets. Spoon over the remaining béchamel, then crimp up the overhang so that it creates a messy ‘scrunched-up’ border around the edges, leaving the centre of the pie exposed.
  8. Brush the top of the filo border with the remaining butter mixture, then transfer the tin to a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Using a tea towel to help you, carefully release the outer circle of the springform tin and return the pie to the oven for another 20–25 minutes, or until the sides are nicely coloured and everything is golden and bubbling. Leave to settle for 15 minutes.
  10. Top the pie with the parsley and lemon zest and serve warm.


Recipe and image from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen by Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad, Penguin Books, RRP $49.99.