There were a couple of culinary firsts for me this week.
Firstly, I made a vegetarian hot water pastry, based on one I found in my Pie cookbook.
Instead of using lard, I used a bit of vegetarian suet.
I’ve never, ever eaten a pork pie (I’ve been vegetarian since the eighties). I had to ask Justin if my pastry was anything like it is meant to be… seeing as he eats this kind of raised pie on a regular basis. In fact he eats pork pie every Thursday without fail – sharing it with Fudge on their walks after an early flea market forage.
My other first was cumin-spiced pumpkin & chickpea pies.
We bought a pumpkin at Halloween so I was looking for a new way of using it.
I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie. Granted, I’ve only had it the once, but it didn’t leave fond memories.
I much prefer these squash type vegetables savoury rather than sweet.
It certainly makes a good substantial filling for this type of pie – great flavour too with the addition of the very complimentary curry spices.
This recipe makes quite a few, small pies. If like us you’re only likely to eat a few at a time, they can be frozen both before and once cooked.
They’re the perfect little autumn pies!
- 275g/10oz plain flour
- 1tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 60g/2oz butter
- 60g/2oz vegetable suet
- 110ml/4 fl oz cold water
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 1tbsp cumin seeds
- 1tbs curry powder
- 1tsp chilli flakes (optional)
- 1 tin chickpeas (180g/6oz net)
- 750g/1lb 10½oz pumpkin, cut into ½cm cubes
- 2tsp salt
- cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl
- Make a well in the centre and crack in the egg, then use the empty shell to flick a little of the flour over the surface of the egg so it's hidden
- Put the water, butter and suet into a small saucepan and set over a medium heat, stirring until everything dissolves and the water is just coming to a boil
- Remove from the heat and pour the hot mixture over the flour and egg
- Mix continuously with a metal spoon (I used the dough hook and my electric mixer) until the mixture comes together into a ball
- Tip on to a lightly floured work surface, knead briefly for about a minute before wrapping it in cling film, forming it into a fat sausage shape as you wrap
- Chill in the fridge for 30-45 minutes to firm up before using
- In a large saucepan over a low heat, soften the chopped onion in the olive oil
- Add the cumin seeds and then curry powder and chilli flakes and stir
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas under the tap using a strainer before adding to the saucepan
- Add the pumpkin, bay leaf, salt and black pepper, combining everything well before putting a lid on the pan and allowing it to cook for about 10 minutes
- Once cooked, set aside and allow to cool completely
- Cut a number of 1cm strips (2 per pie) of baking parchment to line the pie tin (I used a silicon muffin tray, see my image above). This is to help remove the pies easily once cooked
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
- Remove the pastry dough from the fridge, remove the cling film before slicing into 1cm rounds
- Roll out or flatten the rounds and put half of them into the lined pie tins so that there is an overhang
- Fill each pastry case with filling right to the top, before using the other pastry rounds to top the pies
- Fold the overhanging pastry over the pie lid, crimping the edges to seal
- Pierce the centre of each lid to allow steam to escape when cooking
- Brush a little beaten egg over each lid
- Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes
- Allow to cool on a wire rack