I love this time of year. For me, it’s all about those lovely little excuses to grab your nearest and dearest and spend some quality time together. I think it’s safe to say that with Bonfire Night and Halloween over, we are now deep into ‘pie season’ territory.
Pies are great because they’re simple to make, they serve many people and can easily be made vegan friendly. I personally love puff pastry, and many supermarkets use margarine in their pre-made puff pastry rolls making them vegan friendly! But if you want to go that extra mile, here’s my recipe for a crumbly vegan suet pie that is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face!
You will need:
⦁ 200g Self-raising flour
⦁ 125g vegan suet (I bought mine from Morrison’s)
⦁ 125ml milk alternative (I used oat milk)
⦁ Vegan butter
⦁ A pinch of salt
1: Preheat your oven to about 200 degrees.
2: Combine 200g of self-raising flour, 125g of vegan suet, 125ml of plant-based milk and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Use your hand like a claw and mix it together until it becomes a shaggy dough.
3: Sprinkle out some flour onto a work surface and tip out the dough, kneading it slightly so that it starts to come together. (The vegan suet will make the texture of the dough quite lumpy and crumbly. Don’t worry if it breaks apart quite easily. If you’re having a bit of difficulty combining it, feel free to add more milk but don’t overwork the mixture).
4: When you have a nicely formed dough, separate it into two balls – one smaller ball for the lid and a large ball for the base.
5: Take a pie dish and rub a thick layer of dairy-free butter along the sides and into the corners. Using a rolling pin, roll out the bigger ball of dough until it’s about the thickness of a one-pound coin. Then, gently place it in the base of the dish, pressing it into the corners and trimming away the excess.
6: Cover with some parchment paper and place some baking beans in the base. Bake for about ten minutes. (If you don’t have baking beans, any heavy dried goods will do such as rice, lentils or pulses).
7: Once the base is baked, remove it from the oven, discard of the paper and baking beans and pour in a filling of your choice. Roll out the second ball of dough to the same thickness as the base and place it on top of the pie. Use a fork to seal it shut and poke a few holes to let out any steam. (At this point I popped some decorative cutouts on top for presentation).
8: Using a pastry brush, generously cover the top in some plant-based milk to make it lovely and golden brown.
9: Bake for about twenty/twenty-five minutes until golden brown and then serve!
Why not try some of these fillings for your pie?
⦁ Lentil and sweet potato
Par-boil lentils and cubed sweet potato until soft. Meanwhile, fry some onions and garlic in a little oil. Add the lentils and sweet potato to the pan with any other vegetables of your choosing. For the sauce, add 150ml of vegetable stock, a tablespoon of tomato puree, two tablespoons of soy sauce and a teaspoon of cornflour. Add salt, pepper and herbs to taste. (I recommend using some rosemary in this). Simmer for about 10 minutes until nice and thick and then transfer to your pie base.
⦁ Creamy mushroom, leek and soya chicken pieces
Pan-fry onions and garlic in some oil. Add some Quorn-style chicken pieces, chopped leeks and mushrooms and fry until softened. Add 150ml of plant milk, a handful of vegan cheese and a tablespoon of cornflour until thickened. Season with salt, pepper and herbs to your taste (I use a few sprigs of fresh rosemary), and then add to your pie base. Add an Italian twist to this by popping in a tablespoon of green vegan pesto.