I wasn’t impressed when I found out this week’s signature challenge – raised game pie? Possibly the least healthy, least vegan bake they could think of. Still, all the more fun for me!! I was determined to make this one as tasty as any old pie but without the hydrogenated fat – artificial fats associated with major health problems when they take the place of ‘good fats’ in the body. Traditional hot water crust pastry is made with butter and lard (fat from the abdomen of a pig, yuck!) – I used vegetable suet for my hot water crust instead which is made from non hydrogenated vegetable fat combined with rice flour.
For the filling, I created a meaty texture and an earthy taste from portabella mushrooms, seitan (a protein derived from wheat that can be found in most wholefood shops) and butter beans and flavoured it with fresh thyme, parsley, sage and all spice. If you can get your hands on shitake mushrooms these would also work very well in the filling, they produce a woodsy, meaty flavour and texture when cooked and have medicinal properties – just substitute some of the portabella mushrooms.
Earthy Hot Water Crust Pie
Serves 6-8. Prep time: 40 minutes, Cooking time: 1 hour
For the filling:
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 500g portabella mushrooms (or mixed mushrooms), sliced
- 200g seitan, minced
- 1 tin butter beans, drained and rinsed
- 50g chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped sage leaves
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp all spice
- ½ tsp himalayan salt and ½ tsp pepper
For the hot water crust pastry:
- 150ml boiling water
- 115g veg suet
- 330g plain white flour
- ½ tsp salt
- Almond/soya milk, to brush
To make the filling: Gently fry the shallots in oil until soft, before adding the remaining ingredients, reserving some of the mushrooms, and cooking together for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the remaining mushrooms and take off the heat.
To make the hot water crust pastry: Heat the water in a pan until boiling before adding the vegetable suet and stirring vigorously, then remove from the heat. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and add the suet mixture. Gather the mixture in a ball and knead for 5 minutes.
Assembling the pie:
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C and lightly grease a 20cm spring-form cake tin.
- Roll out about 2/3 of the pastry and carefully line your pie case leaving any excess pastry hanging over the side – adding the filling, pressing down and leveling the surface.
- Fold the excess pastry over towards the centre of the pie, leaving a lip of around 3cm. Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid and place it on top of the pie, using your fingertips to pinch together the two layers of pastry to seal in the filling. Try to make sure there are no cracks or holes.
- Brush the top of the pie with almond/soya milk and make a hole in the middle of the lid for steam.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until the pastry is a golden brown. Serve with vegetarian gravy!