Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s Maltese Pumpkin And Rice Pie

Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s Maltese Pumpkin And Rice Pie

Soft, roasted pumpkin tastes better in winter. It’s sheer fact. The same way any recipe to come from Julia Busuttil Nishimura is guaranteed to get tongues wagging.  

So when I (was on a serious scroll and) spotted this delicious looking Maltese pumpkin and rice pie in Julia’s feed, I figured I’d be doing you all a disservice by not sharing. 

One for the weekend made lazily with a wine (or gin!) in hand. 

Serves: 4-6 people

Ingredients: 20

Cooking time: 1-2 hours 

Skill level: Easy



  • 500g plain flour
  • 250g chilled, unsalted butter 
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar 
  • 100-150ml iced water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Pinch of sea salt


  • 1kg kent or butternut pumpkin, cut into large chunks (with the skin left on)
  • 100ml EVOO
  • 1 tsp mixed spice 
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g short-grain brown rice
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 50g pine nuts, toasted
  • 60g raisins
  • 1 roma tomato, roughly chopped
  • Large handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • Large handful of parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of salt and pepper to taste


  1. Tip the flour onto a clean work surface and sprinkle it with salt. Add the butter and toss so that all the pieces are coated. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips, until you have a mixture that’s the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs. (Try to leave some larger pieces, as this will create a flaky crust during baking. 
  2. Sprinkle over the vinegar, then pour the water - just a little at a time, as you may not need it all - to bring it all together with your hands and form a dough. Divide into two, flatten into rounds, and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 180° and line a baking tray with parchment. Onto the filling!
  4. Arrange the pumpkin on the prepared baking tray, skin side down. Drizzle with half of the olive oil and scatter with sea salt and spices. Roast for around 35 minutes until tender. Set aside to cool then scoop the flesh into a large bowl, discarding the skin. 
  5. Cook rice according to the packet instructions, then drain and add to the pumpkin mixture. 
  6. Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over a low heat, and cook the onion with a pinch of salt for 10-15 minutes until soft and just beginning to colour. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute, until fragrant. 
  7. Add the onion mixture to the pumpkin mixture and allow to cool. Then stir in the remaining ingredients and season well. 
  8. Line a 20cm round baking tray with parchment. 
  9. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge 5 minutes before you’re ready to use it (this will make it easier to roll). On a floured surface, roll out the dough into 24cm circles at about 2.5mm thickness. Drape the pastry over the tray, and there should be about 2cm of overhang. Roll out the second piece to be the same size. 
  10. Spoon the pumpkin filling over the pastry base and spread it all the way to the edges. Drape the second piece of pastry over the filling and trim both layers so that there is only 1cm of overhang. Press together, folding and crimping the pie to seal it all in. Everything should now be sitting snugly in the baking tray. 
  11. Whisk 1 teaspoon of water into the egg to make a wash. Make a cut in the centre of the pie to allow steam to escape, and brush the pie with the egg wash, all over. 
  12. Bake for 25-40 minutes until the pie has puffed up and the pastry is golden. 
  13. Do not expect leftovers. 
A Year of Simple Family Food by Julia Busuttil Nishimura, published by Plum, RRP $39.99, photography by Armelle Habib.