Thursday, 17 December 2015

A Vegan - Vegetarian Christmas Centrepiece Hand Raised Pie

I've been a long time fan of Cranks - The cookbooks an I am a member of the Vegetarian Society, so you can imagine my delight when I learned that Cranks have officially been Approved by the Vegetarian Society, a UK brand as longstanding and veggie obsessed as Cranks are and to celebrate this new partnership, as well as raise awareness of vegetarianism and veganism this season, I thought I would create an old fashioned Vegetarian Hand Raised (moulded by hand) Pie made with hot water crust pastry.
There have been some negativity around vegetarian classics like nut roasts, and traditional vegetarian fare in favour of fancy named grains, pretentious jazzed up salads dressed up with exotic sauces and festive green shake smoothies topped with cranberries.  I note this snobbish attitude often comes from those that are neither vegetarian or vegan, but lifestyle foodies who jump on the bandwagon of the next foodie gimmick or fashionable grain.  Please don't get me wrong I do love the versatility of vegetables and admire the creativity of cooks and chefs alike, but I don't like pretense or pretentious food.  I want proper hearty food full of flavour and textures on my festive plate not just a scattering of this, that and the other.  
You don't have to be a vegetarian or vegan, maybe you just want to reduce your meat intake. Take a gander at the Cranks Kitchen for some inspiration. But here is my festive offering for the season...not a mushroom nut roast though...  sorry to disappoint.  A homemade Vegetarian Christmas Raised Pie is also a Vegan Christmas Pie filled with vegetable goodness.  
Bring on the Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, roast potatoes and good veggie gravy.  If you still want to serve it with a slice of mock turkey, that's fine - but no need for the side of vegetables as this pie is filled to the brim with carrots, parsnips, sprouts and chestnuts. Jewelled coloured fruit - a mixture of fresh and dried cranberries and apricots.   If you don't like dried fruit, then feel free to omit them.  This centrepiece pie is best made a day in advance which makes it easy to remove from the tin.  It can be eaten at room temperature, or feel free to reheat it in the oven to maintain its crisp pastry. 

Vegan Christmas Centrepiece Hand Raised Pie
Serves 6 - 8
You will need a 8 inch round baking tin, with removable 
2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
250g carrots, peeled and grated
250g parsnips, peeled and grated
180g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
250g Brussels Sprouts (or broccoli chopped small)partially cooked and drained.
1 generous teaspoon caraway seeds
1 generous teaspoon yeast extract (Marmite)
Salt and pepper to taste
Method for the pie filling
 Gently fry the onion and garlic in the oil until soft. Then mix in all the other ingredients and season to taste and cook until the vegetables begin to look tender. 
Set aside and allow to cool.
Now make the hot water crust pastry.
For the hot water crust pastry
To line deep 8  inch round spring form round cake tin
Ingredients for the hot water crust pastry
350g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon thyme
100g solid vegetable shortening, chopped (I use Trex)
100ml water
Optional: Olive oil or Soy milk to glaze
Mix together the dry ingredients.
Melt the vegetable shortening in the water and heat until melted. 
Add the liquid to the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough is formed. 
Now you have to work very quickly, as the dough will get cold and be tough to work with. 
Keep some of the dough back for the lid, then roll out the rest quickly and line the tin, pressing down so that it is snug to the tin and in its grooves. 
Then fill the tin with the cooled filling. Press gently down with a spoon. Cut of excess dough around the tin and roll out again so that it fits the top of the pie filling as a lid. It will overlap, just cut off the excess with a knife to make it look presentable. 
Place the lid over the filling, then gently press or pinch into the side of the pie so it seals or with a fork.
Optional: with the excess pastry cut out  Christmas shapes with cookie cutters and place gently on top of lid coated with a little soy milk. 
Optional: Brush with olive oil or soy milk.
Make a small steam hole in the centre of the pie.
Bake in preheated oven Gas mark 5/200 for 45 to 1 hour till golden. 
Serve warm or cold.


  1. Snap, Shaheen! I'm a member of the Veggie Soc. and I love Cranks too! Your pie looks, and sounds, so delicious. Darling Hubbie and I both love water pastry too! I will give this a go, but not sure when! (I have a guest who isn't keen on Brussel Sprouts, what could I use instead? )
    Barbara xx

    1. Good to know Barbara. I haven't ever eaten at Cranks, but I have probably all of their cookbooks and look forward to trying out some of their food soon. You can sub the sprouts for broccoli.
      I am hoping to make another pie soon!

  2. I cannot see how a green smoothie would be a festive thing to have for Christmas dinner, but I can totally see how your wonderful pie would be a very festive thing to have for Christmas dinner! Much better than a smoothie! A real celebration on a plate! Happy Christmas! xx

    1. You'd be surprised Amy.
      And thank you so much for your warm wishes x

  3. This is such a beautiful pie, I wouldn't mind a slice!

    1. Thank you VegHog, I'd be so happy to share a slice with you.

  4. That pie looks so pretty!

    ~Have a lovely day!

  5. What a great pie - I agree that this is not the time for fancy pants salads - when everyone else is eating a hearty christmas meal, I also want some hearty food. Even in Australia! I would love this pie at the christmas table with all the trimmings

    1. Thank you so much Johanna. You will be surprised at the fancy pants dishes going around at the moment, even green pudding made from Chia seeds and topped with cranberry chia jam. Don't get me wrong, I like to try different foods and techniques, but this is a time for a proper Christmas veggie meal.

  6. Stunning, and by the looks of it, tasty pie.

  7. Ooh excellent. I've been looking for a pie recipe that uses chestnuts and this sounds perfect. Thank you!

    1. Thank you. I hope you have a good Christmas.


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