As a child, I loved pork pies. I’ll correct that, I loved the hot water crust pastry surrounding pork pies! My poor mum exasperated as I ate the pastry, leaving the jelly and pork filling! Such a wasteful child!
These days, with our household being vegetarian pork pies are something I never buy during our weekly shop, but with a few veggies and Quorn pieces we can enjoy a homemade meat free pork pie!
The pastry surrounding pork pies, as I’m sure you may know, is called hot water crust. It’s such a robust and forgiving pastry (not to mention delicious). Although you don’t need to handle it with kid gloves, as with some pastries, it does need to be shaped whilst it’s still warm and so for that reason wait until you’ve received that important phone call before making the pastry!
Traditionally pork pies are made by ‘hand-raising’ them around a ‘dolly’, a cylindrical wooden block. 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 the recipe for these vegetarian pork pies is definitely easier having been made and baked in a dariole mould. I confess it’s not the traditional method, but it’s still delicious and certainly easier to do.
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. We used sautéed mushroom, sweetcorn, and a charred orange pepper but clearly there is a whole host of items you could use in your version of the vegetarian pork pie.
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, which we 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 draw back with them is that they set fairly quickly meaning that you do need to work swiftly.
Mr E & I have made these little beauties a few times now. And yes, they certainly are beauties – they tasted divine and the pastry was as
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. – Angela
So, here’s how to make Vegetarian Pork Pies.
Vegetarian Pork Pies
For the Hot Water Crust Pastry
- 165 g plain flour
- 33 g strong white bread flour
- small pinch of Salt
- 41 g butter unsalted & chilled
- 50 g Trex or other white block vegetable fat
- 83 ml boiling water
For the vegetarian Pork Pie Filling
- Vegetable / sunflower Oil
- 160 g Quorn ‘chicken’ pieces
- 3 – 4 mushrooms cleaned & diced
- 65 g sweetcorn niblets
- 1 orange pepper see note a below
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp thyme leaves chopped
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 sachet vegetarian gel we used Dr Oetkers
- 1 egg lightly beaten, to glaze
- Prepare the greaseproof paper. Cut 4 long strips of greaseproof paper about 5mm wide. Cut each strip in half and position two in each dariole mould so that they cross in the base of the dariole mould and come up the sides of the mould. This will help remove the pies if necessary. Cut a circle of greaseproof the same size as the top of the dariole mould to act as a template for the pastry lid if you don’t have a plain cookie cutter to the same diameter as the top of your dariole mould available.
- Make the hot water crust pastry. Place the two flours, salt and butter into a large bowl. Dice the butter. Rub the butter into the flour between your thumb and finger tips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Place the boiled water into a pan. Add the Trex. Set over a low heat on the hob to allow the fat to melt. Make a well in the breadcrumb mixture and pour the melted fat and water mixture in. Use a knife to cut through the mixture (it’s hot) to create 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. 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.
- Line the dariole moulds. 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. Patch the pastry if it breaks. Place into the fridge to chill. Repeat with the remaining 3 dariole moulds.
- Make the pastry lids. Roll out the final piece of pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Use a plain cookie cutter the same size as the top of the dariole moulds (or use the grease proof paper template & knife) to cut 4 discs from the pastry. Place the ‘lids’ onto a baking tray or large plate. Place in the fridge to chill.
- Start to make the filling. Place a little oil into a frying pan, set it over a gentle flame. Cook the quorn pieces for about 12 – 15 minutes until nicely coloured. Add the chopped mushrooms and continue cooking for a further 2-3 minutes. Tip into a bowl to cool. Add the sweetcorn, seasoning & thyme leaves. Mix together.
- Prepare the pepper. Char the pepper either with a cook’s blowtorch or gas flame on the cooker. Do be careful doing this. Once charred wrap the pepper in cling film. When cooled unwrap the pepper and peel off the charred skin, rinse under a running tap. De-seed the pepper and chop the flesh. Add to the bowl and mix again. Allow the filling to cool completely. Cut the pieces of Quorn ‘meat’ in half if they seem a little large. Pre-heat the oven to 200c / Fan 190c / Gas 6.
- Fill the pastry cases. Remove the chilled pastry moulds from the fridge. Carefully fill the pies with the filling, trying not to leave any large air pockets. Avoid over filling the pies.
- Affix the lids. 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. This will be where the stock is poured into the pie once cooked.
- Glaze the pastry lids. Using a pastry brush, paint the pastry lids with some of the beaten egg. Try not to get any egg on to the moulds, as this may ‘glue’ the pies to the mould & prevent them from turning out successfully.
- Bake. Place the dariole moulds on to a baking tray. Place into the centre of the oven and bake for about 40 minutes. Rotate the tray after 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Once the pies are cooked through and the pastry is golden brown remove them from the oven. Place on a cooling tray. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Tip the moulds to remove the pies, use the greaseproof paper ‘handles’ if needed. Place directly on the cooling tray.
- Make the jelly. (These specific directions are to make with Dr Oetker’s vege gel. If using a different brand follow their directions aiming to make a jelly with half a pint of oxo gravy) Crumble your stock cube into a measuring jug. Add half a pint of boiling water. Stir to mix. Pour it into a pan. Add a little cold water to a cup. Sprinkle half of the contents of the Vege Gel sachet into the cold water. Stir to dissolve. Pour the mixture into the oxo gravy. 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. Do this carefully & slowly either with the help of a funnel or with a measuring jug with a spout. Allow it to settle before adding more if necessary. Be aware that Vege gel starts to set quite quickly.
- Allow the jelly to set. Set the pies aside on a cooling rack to allow them to finish cooling and the stock to set before serving. This will take about 1.5 to 2 hours. Enjoy.