This Vegetarian Pork Pies recipe is a great meat-free alternative. They're delicious enjoyed either warm as a family meal or cold as part of a buffet, picnic or a filling packed lunch. The hot water crust pastry is forgiving, robust and easy to work with.
Made with a few veggies and Quorn pieces you can enjoy a homemade meat-free pork pie!
Hot Water Crust Pastry
The pastry surrounding a traditional pork pie is known as hot water crust pastry. It's such a robust and forgiving pastry (not to mention delicious).
Although you don't need to handle hot water crust as carefully as you do other pastries, it does need to be shaped whilst it's still warm and so long as you do that it is hard to go wrong.
Traditionally pork pies are made by 'hand-raising' them around a cylindrical wooden mould called a "dolly". You may have seen home bakers on Great British Bake Off over the years struggling to release the pastry from the dolly.
To avoid that struggle I have made and baked these vegetarian pork pies in individual pudding moulds. It may not be the traditional method, but it's certainly easier to do and they look very similar.
If your pudding moulds are in good condition and not too scratched inside you should be able to turn the pies out fairly easily if they are well greased, although I do find it helps to line the base with a disc of parchment.If they are very scratched then consider fully lining the basins.
To line the moulds with pastry, partially roll out the piece of hot water crust pastry until you have a thick disc. Ease it into the mould. Use your thumbs to ease the pastry up the sides of the mould, turning the dariole mould as you do so.
Bring the pastry up the side of the dariole mould until it is slightly above the lip of the container. Aim to ensure the pastry is roughly the same thickness all over. You can patch the pastry if it breaks. Once lined chill until required.
The Vegetarian "Pork" Pie Filling
The filling itself is a mixture of Quorn pieces and vegetables, the Quorn bringing 'body' and protein whilst the veggies bring colour as well as extra flavour and nutrition.
Quorn is a cheap form of protein, low in fat and high in fibre.
To make the filling, I have added sautéed mushroom, sweetcorn, and chopped orange pepper to this recipe but you could easily substitute some other vegetable. You can skin the pepper first if you prefer.
To skin the pepper – Char the pepper until the skin is blackened either with a cook’s blowtorch or gas flame on the cooker. Picking a pepper with a long stem will make it easier to turn. Do be very careful while doing this. Once charred place the pepper in a bowl, cover and allow to cool.
When cold enough to handle peel off the charred skin, rinse under a running tap. De-seed the pepper and chop the flesh.
Alternatively, you can char the pepper by roasting in a very hot oven for 20 -30 minutes. cover and cool as above.
You may also like to add some onion or leeks which work well.
The vegetarian "pork" pie jelly
Fans of the traditional pork pie will know that the pies, once baked, have a liquid jelly poured into them through the circular hole in pastry crust. That jelly is normally made with a gelatine, a meat-based product.
For this recipe, I have substituted for Dr Oetker's Vege Gel. Vege gels are great, being flavour free they're useful in both savoury and sweet recipes (have you seen our Salted Caramel Pie with Chocolate Sauce which uses vege gel?). The only drawback with them is that they set fairly quickly meaning that you do need to work swiftly.
When making the pies make sure you make the hole in top wide enough to be able to pour in the jelly.
I have made these little beauties a few times now. And yes, they certainly are beauties - they tasted divine and the pastry is scrummy as I remembered (even with the vegetarian modifications).
Interestingly the vege gel doesn't melt when the pies are reheated making them perfect to be enjoyed both warm as a meal with perhaps beans and potatoes or other vegetables, or cold as part of a buffet spread, as part of a picnic or as a filling packed lunch.
So, here's how to make Vegetarian Pork Pies.
Vegetarian Pork Pies
For the Hot Water Crust Pastry
- 175 g (6oz) plain flour
- 50 g (2oz) strong white bread flour
- 20 g (2oz) butter
- 50 g (2oz) solid white vegetable fat
- 90 ml (3floz) boiling water
For the vegetarian Pork Pie Filling
- Vegetable / sunflower Oil
- 150 g (5oz) Quorn ‘chicken’ pieces
- 3 mushrooms cleaned & diced
- 75 g (3oz)sweetcorn niblets
- 1 small orange pepper seeded and chopped
- 1 tsp thyme leaves chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg lightly beaten, to glaze
- 200 ml (7floz) vegetable stock
- 1 sachet vegetarian gel I used Dr Oetkers
- 4 x 160ml (6 fl oz) individual pudding moulds
- Rolling Pin
- round cookie cutter a little larger than the tops of the pudding basins
- Grease 4 pudding moulds well and place a disc of baking parchment in the base of each
To make the hot water crust pastry
- Place 175g (6oz) plain flour and 50g (2oz) plain bread flour in a bowl. Rub in 50g (2oz) butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre.
- Place the hot water 90ml (3floz) and 50g (2oz) white vegetable fat into a pan and heat until the fat melts and pour into the centre of the flour mixture. Use a knife to cut through the mixture (it’s hot) to mix to a dough. Once the mixture starts coming together use your hand to knead the dough for a minute or so until smooth.
- Divide the pastry into 5 roughly equal pieces (1 will be for the lids). Place one piece onto a lightly floured work surface and cover the other 4 with clingfilm to keep them warm.
- Roll out the piece of hot water crust pastry until you have a thick disc. Ease it into the mould. Use your thumbs to ease the pastry up the sides of the mould until it is slightly above the lip, turning the mould as you do so. Chill and repeat until all the moulds are lined.
- Roll out the remaining pastry on a lightly floured work surface. and cut out 4 circles of pastry a little larger than the tops of the mould. Place the ‘lids’ onto a baking tray or large plate and chill.
To make the filling
- Preheat the oven to 200℃ (180℃ fan)400°F/gas mark 6. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and cook 150g (5oz) Quorn pieces for about 12 – 15 minutes until nicely coloured. Add 3 chopped mushrooms and continue cooking for a further 2-3 minutes. Tip into a bowl to cool then add 75g (3oz) sweetcorn, 1 chopped orange pepper and 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves. Mix well and season to taste.
To assemble the pies
- Remove the chilled pastry moulds from the fridge. Carefully fill the pies with the filling, trying not to leave any large air pockets. Place the lids on top of the pies and carefully seal them by crimping the pastry with your thumb and two forefingers. With a sharp knife cut a small hole in the top of the lid.
- Using a pastry brush, paint the pastry lids with some of the beaten egg. Place the pies on to a baking tray. Place into the centre of the oven and bake for about 40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Carefully remove the pies from the moulds and place on a cooling rack.
- Make the jelly using the vegetable stock according to the packet instructions. Set over a medium heat on the hob. Allow to come to the boil. Pour the hot gel into the pies via the hole in the top of the pies. Allow it to settle before adding more if necessary.
- Set the pies aside on a cooling rack to allow them to finish cooling and the stock to set before serving, about 2 hours.
- Skin the peppers first if desired.
- When making the hole in the top of the pie make sure it is large enough to be bale to pour in the jelly after baking.
- Work quickly when adding the jelly as vege jelly sets quickly
- The pies are also delcious served warm.
- The vege jelly does not melt upon reheating.