Today I’m off to my spiritual home: England. Ever since I was a child I’ve been in love with England: the postboxes, the telephone boxes, the car registration plates (well, you can’t play anagrams with Irish ones: 141-D-157908), the architecture, the accents…I could go on, but you’ll be relieved that I won’t.
Anyway, this is a long recipe, so I’ll stop blathering and get straight to the nosh. The pie has a shortcrust base and puff pastry lid, and is filled with mushrooms, carrots, and gluten-free seitan in a rich and dark ale gravy with a hint of chocolate. If you’re short for time, you can soak some TVP chunks in the broth and use that instead of making your own seitan, and you can buy ready-made vegan pastry.
The perfect recipe is on VeganBaking.net, written by Mattie. I think it appealed to me because the pictures had tape measures in them! The recipe’s easy to follow, faff-free, and makes the best puff pastry I’ve ever had.
600g spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
150g block vegan margarine
110g block vegetable fat
Approx 1 1/4 cup iced water
3 tbsp oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 punnet baby button mushrooms, halved
1 punnet chestnut mushrooms, quartered
4 carrots, sliced
150g TVP chunks or one serving of V-Meat (Gluten-Free Seitan), sliced into chunks
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp and 1 tsp spelt flour
1 tsp mustard powder
400ml dark ale
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 bay leaf
2 tsp mixed herbs (thyme, parsley, rosemary)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups frozen peas
2 heaped tbsp cornflour mixed with hot water
2 cups hot water
3 tbsp soya sauce
2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (I use Biona)
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp of mixed herbs
1/2 tsp ginger
2 heaped tsp cocoa powder
salt and pepper to taste
1) If you’re making the puff pastry, make it at least 2 hours in advance of putting the pie in the oven. If not, have a sip of the 100ml of ale that will be left over in the bottle.
2) If you’re using TVP, soak it in enough boiling water to cover, adding a few sploshes of soy sauce for colouring. If you’re using V-Meat instead, start prepping that now to give it time to rest in the fridge for an hour or so.
3) Make the shortcrust pastry by mixing flour, baking powder and salt. Rub in the fat until it resembles breadcrumbs, and add just enough iced water to bring it together into a dough. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate until ready to use.
4) Mix all of the broth ingredients together.
5) Preheat oven to 170C. Grease and flour a large (and I mean LARGE! This will make two standard sized pies) pie dish.
6) When your pastry and V-Meat/TVP has had time to prepare itself for the coming ordeal, heat the oil in the bottom of a large, lidded saucepan and fry the TVP or V-Meat until browned. Remove from the pan.
7) Add the onions, mushrooms, and carrots to the oil and cover for 7 minutes, or until just browning. Add the V-Meat/TVP, and sprinkle the lot with flour and sugar, tossing to coat. Allow to heat for a minute or so, stirring all the time to avoid sticking and burning.
8) Add the ale, broth, tomato puree, herbs and seasoning, cover, bring to the boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.
9) Add the frozen peas and the cornflour paste, and stir until the mixture thickens.
10) Roll out enough shortcrust pastry to fill the base of your pie dish, leaving about 3 cm overhang of pastry all the way around. Add the filling and smooth out the top. Roll the puff pastry large enough to cover the dish with about 1cm overhang. Moisten the edges of the shortcrust pastry, press the puff pastry to them with your thumbs, trim the excess, and crimp with a fork.
11) Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, until the top is golden and crispy.