Another British favourite, veganised...
Even though I'm coming up to my second anniversary of turning Vegan, I still have fond memories of many meat products from my childhood. Even though the originals won't be passing my lips ever again, I see no harm in trying to recreate the look, texture and taste of them. After all, I didn't go Vegan because I didn't like the taste. The Pork Pie is an institution in England. It's particularly popular at Christmas as part of a buffet tea served with sauces and pickles. This Vegan one has the exact look and feel - even down to the jelly layer in between the meat and pastry. I already knew how to do the hot water crust, so it was just a matter of working on the insides to get the authentic look and taste. I'm extremely happy and proud of the way they turned out on my first attempt. These do have a few steps in the process - but completely worth it if you were a fan of them. I'll give you the ingredients for each element and then we'll go through the method. This recipe makes 6 muffin pan sized pies. I'd recommend reading through the recipe a couple of times before starting.
Ingredients for the hot water crust
300g plain flour
130g vegetable shortening
Pinch of salt
Ingredients for the "pork" filling
4 Linda McCartney's sausages
1 small onion
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 whole fresh nutmeg grated
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp mustard
Salt and pepper
Ingredients for the jelly layer
1 cup cooled chicken style stock (or vegetable if you prefer)
1 tsp Jel-It-In
First we need to make our pastry. Into a bowl with your flour and salt and grate in half of the vegetable shortening. Rub together using your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. Now take a small saucepan and have it on a low to medium heat. Place your water and remaining vegetable shortening into it and heat until the fat has melted and the liquid is hot (not boiling). Pour this liquid into your flour mix and stir together using a wooden spoon. As soon as its cool enough to handle, go in with your hands and bring together to a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge while you make the sausage filling.
Place all your ingredients for the filling into a food processor and blitz. It needs to be quite coarse, but blended enough to hold its shape. To check, pinch some of the mixture between your finger and thumb. It should hold together. Once you're happy, place into a bowl and pop it in the fridge to chill while you deal with the next step.
Now we need to shape the pie bases. Take your pastry out of the fridge and give it a bit of a kneed to warm it up. Divide into 6 equal pieces. Take one piece and remove roughly a 5th of it (this will form the pie lid). Take the large part and form into a ball before placing it on a lightly floured surface and, using your fingers, gently tease and press out into a rough circle. It needs to be large enough to fill the muffin tin and have an overhang to help form the seal for the lid. Press your circle gently into the tin, making sure you don't create any cracks or holes. Repeat the process with the other 5 pieces. Cover the tray and the lid pieces of dough with a damp teatowel while we work on the filling. Preheat your oven to 200C.
Take your sausage mix out of the fridge. We need to pre-bake these before adding them to the pastry cases to ensure they retain their shape when they get their final baking in the pie crust. Take an amount about the size of an apricot. Shape it into a round and just check it against the size of your pie bottoms. It needs to be smaller and not any higher than the pastry case as we need a gap to hold the jelly layer. If you're happy, place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat this process until you have all six done. If you have spares leftover, just carry on shaping, as these can become "Chef's perks" later. Place these into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and then pop one into each pastry shell upside down so that the flat bottom of the sausage is uppermost. Take out your spare dough and give it a quick kneed before pressing out into circles large enough to cover the top of the bases. Brush the edges of one of the base with a little water and lay a lid over the top. Pinch and squeeze the lid and base edges together to form a seal. We're also trying to create a little raised collar to get the traditional look of the pie. Then using a skewer or similar, poke a hole in the centre of the lid. Repeat with the other 5.
Brush with a little milk and pop them into the oven for 40 minutes. After that time, remove each pie from the tray and place them onto a lined baking sheet and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while we deal with the jelly filling.
Place a third of your stock into a small bowl and sprinkle over your Jel-It-In. Don't stir or mix. Take the remaining stock and heat in a small pan until steaming but not boiling. Take off the heat and vigorously whisk in your Jel-It-In mixture. Return to a low heat and carry on whisking for a minute or two. Allow to cool slightly. Now we need to get this mixture into the pies through the holes in the top of the lids. I used a syringe for this, but you can just spoon it in, or use a small funnel. So whatever method you're using, carry on loading up the jelly until it spills out of the hole in the top. Repeat until all six are done and then just leave to cool completely. Serve as part of a huge platter of goodies - but the essential thing is to serve with either ketchup or brown sauce and pickles.