Scotchless pie

steakless steak pie3

I’ve been experimenting with vegan hot water pastry for a while and while there’s been success it wasn’t quite what I remember of Scotch pies. Now I’m not going to win any points for presentation but for taste – well I reckon I’ve got it in the bag now.

I’m saving one of these bad boys for my fat Saturday (the one day of the week I allow myself to indulge without worrying about it). I’m going to make chips and serve with baked beans – oh yes, I’m going all out. The rest will find homes with my family for taste testing purposes.

I had a couple of ugly pies where the side didn’t quite stay upright – it was then my husband who has experience of these things told me that’s why they pack them into trays to stop that from happening! Argh… oh well, I might just have to make them again. In fact I’m going to – I’m going to make a mince pie and onion pie version next.

There’s a couple of elements to this, it takes a while but if you get it right, you’ll find a flow… good luck and let me know how you get on.

Filling ingredients – ‘mince’

  • 200g brown lentils
  • 1 tsp vecon (a concentrated veg stock)
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 stick of celery, finely diced
  • 5 chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp mace
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion granules
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa

As with all my recipes, please adjust the above to suit your palette, I like spicy so am very generous with my seasoning measurements.

Filling method – scotchless pie

  • Place the lentils and veg stock in a pot with water and boil until softened
  • In a frying pan sauté the mushrooms, onion and celery until softened then in a food processer, process into a paste
  • Add this paste and all the other ingredients to your lentils once they are ready, make sure the mixture isn’t too dry – this has got to go into the oven with the pastry cases so you want it to keep some ‘gravy’
  • Set aside to cool while you make the pastry.

The chocolate and maple syrup give this a slightly sweet taste. Chocolate is common in savoury dishes and as well as lifting the flavour, it gives this steakless steak a lovely rich colour too.

Pastry ingredients

  • 225 ml of water
  • 175g Trex (vegetable alternative to lard)
  • 500g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper (optional)

Trex is available in most supermarkets in the UK and is the perfect alternative to lard. Adding black pepper to pastry is something I do with shortcrust too – it gives it a bit more depth but of course you don’t need to add it. The pastry will work fine without it.

Pastry method

  • Put the Trex and water in a pan and carefully heat until the fat is completely melted
  • Place the flour and pepper in a bowl and mix together, making a well in the centre
  • Once the fat has melted carefully pour it into the centre of the flour and start mixing. This will be hot and you may need to give it a couple of minutes before putting your hand in to finish the mixing
  • Once all the ingredients have been mixed thorough you are ready to start creating your pies.

I made eight pastry cases out of this mixture and had enough filling for seven pies – this was my test batch of course so perhaps a few more lentils would let you fill the eight cases. However it depends on the size of your ramekins.

To create the pie case, you’ll need some ramekins, oil and cling film – cover the ramekin in cling film and then oil.

Roll out your pastry and cover the ramekin – don’t mould it too tightly or you’ll not get it off (trust me on this one). Make sure you cut out tops for each of your pies too. I used a snowman cutter for the centre seeing as it’s Christmas – this lets heat out and can help stop the pie from imploding in the oven.

Place the pastry covered ramekins into the fridge for about 20 minutes to chill.

Now would be a good time to put the kettle on and start heating up your oven- about 190 degrees centigrade.

Once chilled, take the pies out of the ramekins- very carefully, steady hand, take your time it will move. If it needs to be neatened up, use a very sharp knife to fix the edges.

Finally, fill three quarters of the pie with your filling and place the lid on top. Brush each pie with non-dairy milk and put in the oven until golden brown (approx. 30 minutes).

Serve hot or cold on its own or with chips for the ultimate comfort food. You can also freeze these so you have a batch for indulgent emergencies.

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