Indian hot-water crust pies

Pork-free picnic pies made with veggie hot water crust pastry - one pie is completely vegetarian and the other has a flavour-packed chicken filling.

Equipment and preparation: for this recipe you will need 2 x 20cm/8in springform cake tins.

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For the vegetarian pie filling

For the chicken pie filling

For the hot water crust pastry (enough for two pies)

  • 900g/2lb plain flour
  • 200g/7oz strong white bread flour
  • 150g/5½oz cold unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp fine table salt
  • 200g/7oz solid vegetable fat (such as Cookeen or Trex), plus extra for greasing
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten, to glaze


  1. Grease two 20cm/8in springform cake tins with vegetable fat.

  2. For the vegetarian pie filling, boil the potatoes for 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain then chop into bite-size pieces.

  3. Soak the lentils in a cup of boiling water for five minutes, then drain them.

  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. When they splutter add the curry leaves, lentils, red chillies, turmeric and onion and mix well. Fry for five minutes then add the salt, ginger, potatoes, tomatoes and coriander leaves and mix well. Transfer to the fridge to cool.

  5. For the chicken filling, put the coriander seeds and whole chillies in a small dry frying pan set over a low heat. Keep on a low heat and toast lightly until they just start to change colour. Once done, put the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar and crush them to split the seeds. Set aside the whole chillies.

  6. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the fenugreek seeds and whole chillies and stir until they turn golden-brown. Add the onions and cook until browned. Stir in the garlic, ginger, crushed coriander seeds, chilli powder and ground coriander.

  7. Add the chicken and fry over high high for five minutes, or until the chicken starts to colour. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, cook for five minutes then add the salt, mango powder and garam masala. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer to the fridge to cool. Remove the whole chillies and discard.

  8. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  9. To make the pastry, combine the flours in a large bowl. Add the butter and, using your fingertips, rub it into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. In a pan, heat 400ml/14fl oz water, the salt and fat until just boiling. Pour the liquid onto the flour mixture and mix using a wooden spoon.

  10. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead to a smooth dough.

  11. Working as quickly as possible, take two thirds of the pastry and divide it in two. Roll out two large circles of dough and, using the rolling pin to help you, line the prepared tins.

  12. Spoon the fillings into the pastry lined tins. Press it down and level the surface.

  13. Using the remaining pastry, roll out the pie lids on a lightly floured work surface.

  14. Brush the top edges of the pastry in the tin with beaten egg yolk and place the pastry lids on top. Crimp the edges to seal and trim off any excess pastry. Make a couple of slits in the top of the pie to allow the steam to escape and brush the pastry lid with egg yolk. Use any leftover pastry to make decorations for the top of the pie.

  15. Bake for 1 hour, or until the tops are golden-brown. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then remove from the tins and leave to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Recipe Tips

If you only want to make one of the pies, simply divide the quantities for the pastry in half.