Aug 1, 2013

Healthy Vegan Vegetable Mini Pie

I have become a part of the Eggless Baking Challenge Group where we are given challenges every month to convert a egg filled delicacy to eggless. July's challenge was one of my favourites because not only was it something I wanted to try from a long time but the twist was that it was savoury. A welcome relief from all the sweet bakes that I have been doing.

I have been wanting to bake a pie from forever but the quantity of butter required and the sheer size of a pie was holding me back. When this challenge came up the first thing I did was to logon to Amazon to buy pie pans. After browsing through a lot of options, I couldnt make up my mind on the large pans vs the mini ones. I found that the mini pans were also 4.5 inches or more in diameter and felt it was a bit too big. I prefer individual portions than an overwhelming big size. And thats the same reason I prefer cupcakes to cakes. I then stumbled upon some images of pies being made in muffin pans and I had the tool I was looking for right in my kitchen.

I also found a recipe for making the pie crust without butter (which I cant seem to find again to link to) and adapted it further to incorporate whole grains into it by substituting half the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour.

My tips for a happy experience:

1) Use parchment strips/aluminium foil strips lining each cup in a way that lifting the strip would lift out the mini pie. Aluminium foils are easily pliable and can line the cups better. Ensure that both ends of the strip jut out of the muffin cavity.
2) I found it easier to flatten a ball of dough with my hand using my palm. Since the pie dough is usually hard it is tough to roll it out using a rolling pin even if sandwiched between sheets of parchment/wax paper. I flattened the dough to 1/5 inch thickness and used a round cutter to cut out the pie bottom and top.
3) Cooling the ingredients before mixing and mixing it barely ensures a flaky texture. No muscle power required.
4) If placing a top crust then brush with little oil to get a better taste before baking.

This pie crust is a keeper because its low calorie and really good.

Healthy Vegan Vegetable Mini Pie

Servings: 6 Mini Pies (2 inch wide)
Prep Time: 2 hrs   Cook Time: 30 mins


For the Pie Crust

3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/4 cup Oil (I used Canola)
1/4 cup Cold water
Salt to taste

For the savoury filling

1/2 Medium onion
1 Carrot
1/2 Capsicum
1/2 cup Corn
3 tsp Oil
1 tsp Cumin powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Black pepper powder
Salt to taste


To make the savoury filling

  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan and saute finely cut onions till transcluscent.
  2. Add in the grated carrot, finely cut capsicum and corn and saute for a couple of minutes.
  3. Mix in the spice powders and salt and saute for another couple of minutes till its done. 
  4. Set aside to cool.

To make Pie 

  1. Line the muffin cavities with aluminium foil strips such that the two ends of the strip jut out of the cavity.
  2. Lightly grease the cups
  3. Mix the all purpose flour and the whole wheat pastry flour in a bowl and freeze for 30 - 45 mins
  4. Freeze the oil for the same amount of time
  5. Mix salt into the chilled flour, add the oil and mix lightly. 
  6. The flour becomes crumbly and should remain that way with big clumps
  7. Add water very little at a time to form a hard ball of dough. Do not add too much water and also ensure that the dough does not become soft and pliable. 
  8. Pinch off a golf ball sized dough and flatten it to form a 1/5 inch thick disc.
  9. Cut the dough to a 3 inch diameter circle using a round cutter. (I used a container cap)
  10. Push the circle into a muffin cup and lightly press against the walls of the cup to form a pastry shell.
  11. Optionally, leave a little bit of the dough outlining the mouth of the cup especially if its an open pie
  12. Spoon in a tablespoon of the filling into the shell, topping it with cheese optionally.
  13. Cut out a 2 inch dough circle and place on top of the filling. Press a fork all around the top crust so that it seals the pie. Lightly brush oil on the top to aid browning.
  14. Bake at 350 F for around 30 mins. The top may not brown all that much if using whole wheat flour. It is done when the dough gets crusty.
  15. Serve warm optionally topped with cream cheese. 

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