The Harry Potter party has COME AND GONE, and many guests remarked prior to the occasion that they were pretty excited for my Pumpkin Pasties. I can’t blame them – they are delicious. And handily sized! And delicious. I need to emphasise this. They’re also vegan, because making pastry with vegetable shortening isn’t too difficult* as long as you’re not looking to win any awards for flakiness o’ crust.
Which I am not. Is that even an award? Mary Berry would know.
Anyway, these are really “Pumpkin” Pasties, given that pumpkin is a little harder to find in January than the books would have you believe, so I use a combination of butternut squash and sweet potato instead. The flavour comes from cooking everything on the hob, nice and slow, with a little liquid and some spices, before finishing everything off with soya cream. While optional, this does help to give the filling a nice creamy texture, which seemed to be a hit.
The one thing I will say is that there’s quite a few steps to this. Is it difficult? No. But it is certainly a lot easier if you have a food processor; I do, but I’ve included instructions on how to make the pastry without one. If you’re not vegan, feel free to use ready-rolled shortcrust pastry! Or, if you are vegan but you can’t be bothered to make your own, you could use filo instead, though that will make them a bit less pasty-like. Maybe there’s a vegan pastry brand out there??? I have no claim on such closely-guarded vegan secrets.
These are quite small, since they were made for a party, but if you want some proper chunky pasties, just cut bigger circles. Sometimes life really is that simple.
Vegan Pumpkin Pasties (Gluten-free*)
Makes 8-10 pasties (with filling left over – see notes at the end of this post)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Food processor (alternatively, a large-ish bowl and pastry cutter – or very cold fingers); rolling pin; circle cutter (15-20cm diameter); lined baking sheet (may need two, or just cook in batches); large frying pan; clingfilm; metal spoon; knives, cutting board, etc.
For the pastry
- 225g plain flour (+ extra for rolling)
- 100g vegetable shortening
- Pinch of salt
- Splash of ice cold water (2-3tbsp)
- A little dairy-free milk for sealing and glazing
For the filling
- 1/2 butternut squash (can buy pre-prepped for ease – roughly 250g)
- 1 sweet potatoes (300g)
- 1 regular potato (150g)
- 2 white onions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 vegetable stock cube (I use reduced salt)
- 2 tsp low salt soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Salt & pepper
- 1 tbsp oil
- 150ml soya single cream
- 100-200ml water, to be added as needed
- Let’s get busy. No need to turn on the oven yet, as we need to make and slightly cool the filling, and make the pastry. Phew! Roll up your sleeves, or get someone else to do it for you if you got overzealous and already started chopping stuff – we’re making the pastry first. If using a food processor, dice your vegetable shortening and pop it in there with the flour and a pinch of salt. Pulse until just combined – it should look like breadcrumbs – then add the water, a tablespoon at a time, and pulse again until it’s coming together to form a dough. (If making by hand, rub the shortening into the flour and salt with your fingertips, or use a pastry cutter, then add the water and bring together with your hands.) Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently shape it into a rough, flat-ish disc, then wrap in clingfilm. Keep in a cool place, but don’t put it in the fridge, as it will be pretty much impossible to roll it without cracking. Wash your hands too. And have a glass of water – you must stay hydrated. These are all important steps.
- Get your pan on a low heat and add the oil. While this heats up, prep your veg, starting with the onions and garlic. Peel and finely dice the onion, and do the same to the garlic. I’m sure I’ve shared this tip before, but I find the easiest way to peel garlic is to crush it slightly with the flat of your knife, then cut off the hard, flatter end – the papery skin should come right off without too much of a fight. Set aside. Peel and chop the potatoes (sweet and regular) into small chunks – about 2cm cubes – and then stare at your behemoth of a squash in horror. No fear! Put everything you’ve chopped so far into the pan, and relax as I teach you how to chop a butternut squash.
- You’ll need a good sharp knife for this, so don’t approach this recipe with an old bread knife or you’re going to hurt yourself, others, and possibly also the knife. Lay the squash on its side and, with the part of the blade closest to the handle, dig into the squash where it starts to get wider, effectively giving you one skinny bit and one bulbous bit. To cut all the way through, press down firmly with the knife and, using the flat of your other hand, put pressure on the (completely blunt and safe) top of the knife. It will still be fairly difficult, but you shouldn’t have to use, for example, a hammer. It should be easy to cut off either end of the squash and then place both pieces upright. You can either use a very robust peeler to take the skin off, or just carefully run your knife down the sides to remove this**. Remove the skin from the bulbous part, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits with a metal spoon. Chop the squash into the same sized chunks as your potato, then add it to your pan. Voila!
- Cook everything in the pan for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and everything is starting to colour, then add the stock cube, spices, salt & pepper, and around 100ml of water. Leave to cook for a further 10-15 minutes, adding more water if it becomes very dry and starts to stick, and come back to stir it every so often. Once everything is soft, turn off the heat and add your soy sauce and soya cream. Stir together and leave to cool for around 20-30 minutes. Toddle off and maybe watch The Good Place or something. They’re not paying me to say this, I just kind of want Ted Danson as a father-in-law.
- We’re back, and ready to make pasties! Pop your oven on at around 200, and re-flour your work surface. We’re going to roll out the pastry, so if you’re a bit concerned about sticking, you can do this between a couple of sheets of greaseproof paper. Unwrap your pastry disc and flour the top of the dough, as well as your rolling pin. Roll out your dough as thin as you dare – a couple of millimetres is ideal. Lightly flour your pastry/biscuit cutter and cut out circles from the pastry – you should be able to get 8 or so circles out of your dough. Pop about a tablespoon or so of the filling onto half of each pastry circle, then brush the edges with dairy-free milk (or water) using your finger or a pastry brush. Fold it in half over the filling to make a pasty, then seal the edges by crimping with your fingers, or with a fork. Move the pasties over to the baking sheet(s) and brush with a little more of the milk to glaze. Pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until nicely browned.
There, that wasn’t so hard, was it? There’s a lot of waiting around with pasties, but the filling is pretty low maintenance and the result is tasty – it’s a winner all round. If you can get actual pumpkin then go for your life, but all gourds are largely the same. Don’t skip the potato! And tuck your shirt in.
What else is in the Great Hall?
- Vegan spinach, artichoke and pine nut tart – lovingly named “this tart is as green as a fresh-pickled toad”…
- Vegan carrot cake from the inimitable Minimalist Baker
- Vegan Butterbeer – recipe here!
- Pumpkin pasty filo slices! Layers of filo and the leftover filling from the above recipe, brushed with melted vegan spread on every layer and baked in the oven. Slices up into vegan squares of deliciousness.
- “The Bloody Baron” – a cocktail that is now mandatory at all parties I have for the rest of my life: 1 litre of vodka, 70cl Cherry Sourz, 1 litre of cherry juice, 2 litres of cherryade. Mind-blowingly moreish.
*Fun fact! I was already a bit drunk when I was attempting to roll out my pastry this year, so I ended up just doing the pumpkin pasty filo slices, as well as a batch of pasties using GF puff pastry (ready-roll). Do not drink several glasses of prosecco and a generous amount of “The Bloody Baron” before attempting to make these pasties. Please. Learn from my mistakes.
**You can, in fact, leave the skin on if you like – it’s edible once cooked! However, the texture is better when you roast it, so for the purposes of this recipe I’d recommend skinning the bugger, or buying some ready prepped, diced stuff.