Hand Raised Vegetable Pie

Hand Raised Vegetable Pie

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Hand-raised pies are an old traditional form of pie, the best known being the "Melton Mowbray Pork Pie". It uses hot water pastry and is moulded by hand before filling. It's not the easiest method but is worth the effort. This version is vegetarian but the ingredients can easily be changed for the pastry and the jelly and the filling can be easily improvised.


Makes: 3 hand-raised vegetable pies

  • Pastry
  • 200g plain flour
  • 55g strong bread flour
  • 55g butter
  • 150ml hot water
  • 75g vegetable suet or similar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Filling
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 swede or 1 turnip, diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg, for brushing
  • Jelly
  • 150ml hot water
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 sachet vegetable gelatine

Preparation:25min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Extra time:30min cooling  ›  Ready in:1hour35min 

  1. Pastry: Mix the two flours together and then rub in the butter (until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs).
  2. In a saucepan, combine the water, suet and salt then bring to the boil. Once boiled, pour onto the flour and mix together with a spoon.
  3. Tip onto a floured board and bring together into a ball. Divide the pastry into thirds and then remove a quarter of each to be used as the lids.
  4. Wrap three jam jars with plastic wrap.
  5. Using the fingers squash the ball of pastry into a rough circle. Place the jam jar in the middle and then lift the pastry up and mold it into the sides. Repeat for the other two. Carefully check the bases for holes and then place in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. Filling: Steam the carrots and swede until tender. Drain and set aside.
  7. Gently fry the onion, garlic and pepper then add to the cooked vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix together well.
  8. When the bases are well chilled, remove from the fridge pour some boiling water into the jam jars to slightly soften the pastry and then gently remove the jars. The bases should stay up on their own but if they look like they are sagging put back in the fridge for a short while.
  9. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  10. Trim the tops of the pastry to make it level then pack with the filling allowing room for the jelly after cooking.
  11. Roll out each of the lids, then place the lid on top and crimp around the edge. Make a hole in the centre to allow any steam to escape. Brush the lids with egg wash.
  12. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until light golden brown all round. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
  13. Jelly: As the pies are baking, bring the water and the stock cube to the boil then add the sachet of vegetable gelatine. When dissolved transfer to a small jug. If at any time this mixture starts to thicken too much simply pop into the microwave for a few seconds.
  14. The gelatine mix now needs pouring into the hole in the lid of the pies. I used a small funnel but a steady hand might suffice. It is important to do this while the pie is still hot or the jelly will not penetrate to the bottom of the pie. After five minutes check through the holes and top up if necessary.
  15. Leave to cool overnight. Best eaten cold with a little mustard on the side.


The vegetable suet can be switched for the more traditional animal based suet. This, together with a filling of chicken or diced pork would make a more authentic pie. Whichever you choose, it is the technique that is on display.

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