OK. So vegan puff pastry. Yep. Cannot stop thinking about it. It worked out so well in my 3-Flavor Vegan Creme Horns that I really wanted to make more, but I cannot just live on Creme Horns. Oh..but if I could… Anyway, I wanted to make something using puff pastry but savory. I also had some fennel I finally got brave enough to buy at Whole Foods. I love the anise flavor and wanted to incorporate the fennel so I roasted it along with carrots, onions, leeks, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, even a very ripe apple for sweetness. This roasty filling was perfect in my Vegan Puff Pastry Shiitake and Fennel Hand-Potpie! Fun and easy to make and even better to eat. Get your rolling-pin out!
I knew nothing about fennel so bought a small bulb of it the first time. Wrong!
I will buy a big bulb of fennel from now on as it is delicious sliced thinly and eaten raw. The anise flavor is strongest when eaten raw. It can also be braised or roasted where it becomes silky and the licorice-anise flavor is softer. The fennel stalks are similar to celery and can be thinly sliced for salads. The fronds are also edible and are lovely as garnish. Fennel is in the same family as carrots but I think more similar to celery in how it’s formed. Slice off the base in a V-shape much like a cabbage, and then slice the bulb in half. You can then place the half bulbs with flat side down and thinly slice. The fennel slices are delicious raw with a celery-like texture and a somewhat sweet, anise taste. Immediate love. It will be used in my salads from now on as the crunchy texture is just so good.
While I prepped and chopped the veg, I added my baking pan with a swish of extra virgin olive oil to a 400 degree oven. I like to add the veg to a hot pan with hot oil. It jump starts the baking process and leads to less sticking. I added sliced fennel, carrots, red onion, white onion, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, sliced leeks, ginger, and even a very ripe yellow delicious apple I had at the bottom of my fruit bowl. I added that for just a bit of sweetness. Not really needed with the carrots and onions, but it needed to be used up and I hate to throw food away. It worked out great. Use or not. Up to you. Roast the veg until caramelized and browned, about 50-60 minutes. Stir and flip everything about half way through roasting.
Oh btw..what is not pictured here are potatoes. I forgot to put them on the baking sheet and didn’t remember until about 30 minutes in. Threw on the chopped up potatoes and continued roasting.
Another shot of this veg. I could enlarge this image and hang in my kitchen. Might be future painting. It looks like music to me with the bars of carrots and shiitakes rounded out by leeks.
Now for the Roux:
Roux is awesome. There is no way around that. Easy too, just need a bit of patience. Add a couple of tablespoons of flour to a hot pan and toast the flour. This process seems to go nowhere and then browned flour happens all at once. Kind of like boiling water. Will this water ever boil? Oh my will this water ever start boiling! I do not have all day to wait arou….oh here we go. Browning flour smells…toasty. Do not however answer the phone or go check the dryer. Flour will burn. I have tried to use whole wheat flour and not had good success. The end result is not smooth. The texture of the gravy is gritty. If you have success with another type flour, please let me know. Until then, just use white flour for roux.
Once you have browning flour, add your fat. I have been moving towards using Miyoko European-style Vegan Butter. “..the only butter alternative on the market without palm oil.” I love the taste of Earth Balance but I have seen too many images of badly burned orangutans. I don’t feel that I can support this brand as long as they continue to use palm oil. Miyoko is also absolutely fabulous. It really looks and tastes just like dairy butter. It worked great in this filling base and I cannot wait to bake with it.
Continue stirring the roux.
You want to achieve a rich brown color. The darker the color, the deeper and richer the flavor. Careful though. Burned flour is not good. I decided to add some chickpeas to this mix for some plant-based protein, and I love the texture of sautéed chickpeas. They get brown on the outside and tender on the inside.
Roasty veg! Roast them until the potatoes and carrots are done and the onions are caramelized. The fennel, onions, garlic, and apple all cooked down into a kind of jam. The potatoes were nice and golden brown. I pulled from the oven and separated the veg into corners. This will help during pureeing as you can quickly add more potato or shiitake for savory, or more carrot for sweetness.
Start by adding a bit of everything to the blender cup of an immersion blender or your blender and splash in about half a cup of mushroom or vegetable stock. Puree roasted vegetables. Taste frequently until you achieve a good balance between savory and a bit of sweetness. Adjust your flavorings adding salt, pepper, or garlic.
By now your chickpeas will be nicely browned and coated with the roux. Splash in some plant-based milk, I used unsweetened cashew milk. Stir and continue simmering until thickened.
Not all of the roasted vegetables get pureed. I added about half of the veg to the browning chickpeas and thickening gravy. Here’s were you can add in your roasted vegetable puree to add depth and flavor to this wonderful pot pie filling. This would be great poured into a baking dish with some fresh pie dough tucked in around it. Or an equally great idea….scooped into a square of puff pastry!
The Vegan Puff Pastry Shiitake and Fennel Hand-Potpie needed some green color and I also wanted to quick cool-down this filling so it didn’t melt the puff pastry. I poured in 1 1/2 cups of frozen peas. Frozen pea caught mid-air! You could add some more cashew milk or stock if you want your filling to be a bit looser, but I didn’t want it running all over the puff pastry while I was trying to seal it up. Taste again once it’s all mixed up for seasoning. Now’s the time to add more salt or even some Penzey’s Ground Fennel which I found I had purchased at some time in the past while I was working on seitan sausages. Teaser: Look for those in the future.
Adding a bit more garlic, salt, and ground fennel spice. Perfect and ready to be wrapped up.
Thaw your puff pastry sheets on the counter while you’re making your filling. Mine sat for about an hour and it was very easy to work with. Just pull from the package and roll out with a bit of flour and rolling-pin. Cut with a pizza cutter into 6 squares. I used a medium cookie scoop to place a mound of filling in the center. This was probably a bit too much filling, and I had to stretch the pastry a bit but I wanted them to be full. There is plenty of filling for 12 Vegan Puff Pastry Shiitake and Fennel Hand-Potpie with a little left over. Have a cup of cold water and with your finger, draw a line of water around the edges of your square of puff pastry for sealing.
Gently form the pastry around the filling and seal the sides with the tines of a fork. Easy pea-sy.
A couple of times, a potato poked a hole in my pastry so I just cut off a bit of the same square with the pizza cutter, and with water just pasted the piece over the break. Like regular pie crust, any mistakes or corrections are erased by baking.
This puff pastry is so incredibly easy to use. The fillings for these little pies are endless, from sweet to savory.
This was my first dinner of Vegan Puff Pastry Shiitake and Fennel Hand-Potpie and I was delighted. Rich, roasted vegetable flavor brought to a new level with the addition of fennel. If you’ve never cooked with fennel, I highly recommend. I had a Vegan Puff Pastry Shiitake and Fennel Hand-Potpie for lunch today and the flavor had developed even more.
Flaky puff pastry and savory roasted vegetable filling enhanced by fennel and shiitake mushroom. Go for it. Slice one open and eat one with a fork on a plate or just grab one on the run!
More comfort food we crave during the cold winter months:
- Drunken Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Beets
- 3-Bean Vegan Chili with Classic Cornbread
- Pasta with Tomatoes, Chickpeas, and Broccoli in White Wine Sauce
How did I make Vegan Puff Pastry Shiitake and Fennel Hand-Potpie…healthier?:
- Fennel is high in fiber and potassium. The high fiber helps lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood, decreasing the risk of heart disease. It’s also quite a beautiful plant and bringing plant-based beauty into your life is always healthy.
- Shiitake Mushrooms bring amazing umami flavor with big boosts of vitamins D, B-6, B-9 and B-12, and many micronutrients.
- Peas and Chickpeas bring a double wammy of double fiber and double protein.
- You'll need a pastry mat, rolling-pin, pizza cutter, and heavy baking sheet. Parchment paper is helpful for baking hand-potpies. A heavy bottomed skillet is recommended for filling.
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp vegan butter - I used Miyoko’s
- 1.5-2 cups unsweetened cashew milk
- 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
- 5-6 small Carrots, peeled
- ½ White onion, quartered
- ½ Red onion, quartered
- 1 small Fennel bulb, sliced
- 1 small Apple, quartered
- 1 Leek stalk, sliced and cleaned in a bowl of large bowl of water
- 4 oz Shiitakes, sliced
- ¼ tsp Penzey’s Roasted garlic
- 2-3 tbsp Spice World Minced garlic
- ¼ tsp Penzey’s Ground fennel
- ¼-1/2 tsp Salt
- 2-3 tsp lemon juice
- 1½ Cup - 2 cups Mushroom or vegetable broth
- 9 small Yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite sizes pieces
- 1½ Cup frozen peas
- 2 sheets, Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry thawed and rolled until half as thin, cut into 6 squares each sheet
- small bowl or cup of cold water for sealing pies
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place Puff Pastry on counter to thaw 50-60 minutes
- Place the heavy baking pan with a swish of extra virgin olive oil into the oven to heat while preparing the vegetables.
- Clean, peel, slice, and chop all vegetables.
- Remove hot pan from the oven and carefully place all chopped veg in a single layer on the pan.
- Sprinkle the vegetables with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, minced garlic, salt, lemon juice, and ground fennel and evenly distribute seasonings among all the vegetables.
- Place pan in the oven and roast vegetable for 50-60 minutes, turning vegetables with a spatula half way through the roasting time.
- While your vegetables are roasting, make the base for the filling by toasting the 2 tablespoons of flour in a heavy bottomed skillet. Be careful not to burn flour.
- Once the flour starts to brown, add the vegan butter and begin to stir with a rubber spatula. Continue to stir often and brown the roux.
- Once the roux is a deep brown color, add your protein. I used chickpeas, but any choice of beans would work. You may also substitute cubed tofu or tempeh.
- Coat the protein in the roux and continue to sauté.
- When the chickpeas are browned, add the plant-based milk. I used Silk Unsweetened Cashew Milk. Stir and continue to cook, reducing and thickening until desired consistency. You can always add more milk or mushroom broth if it gets too thick.
- When your vegetables are roasted to your liking remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. With a spatula, separate the various vegetables into sections to make puree selection easier.
- In a blender or in an immersion blender cup, place about half of a selection of all vegetables. Add about a half cup of mushroom broth and blend the roasted vegetables into a puree. Taste and adjust flavor adding more potato or shiitake for more savory, or onion, carrot, or apple for sweetness. You want a good balance between them. Add more broth as needed to keep it from getting too thick. When your puree flavor profile is as you want it, remove about a half a cup and add it to the chickpea gravy base. This is to add layering of deep flavor as well as thickening.
- From your roasting pan, add the unblended vegetables and stir to coat with the gravy base. Add more puree if you want to thicken, or add more plant-based milk or broth to thin out.
- Taste again and adjust for salt, garlic, lemon juice, or fennel.
- Add frozen peas and stir to combine and bring down the temperature of the filling.
- On a pastry mat or prepared counter, add a bit of flour and roll out a sheet of puff pastry until about half as thick. Cut sheet with a pizza cutter into 6 squares.
- With a medium cookie scoop, place a mound of filling in the center of each square.
- Dip a finger in the cold water and draw a line of water around the square.
- Carefully form puff pastry square around filling and seal into a triangle. Crimp edges with the tines of a fork.
- On another heavy baking sheet or after cleaning the same after roasting the vegetables, place a sheet of parchment paper.
- Place each finished ready for baking Vegan Puff Pastry Shiitake and Fennel Hand PotPie on the prepared pan. When all are ready to bake, place pan in 400 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- The puff pastry will be puffed and lightly browned. The bottoms of the hand-potpies will be browned.
- Serve immediately with a green salad for dinner or with a sliced green apple for lunch. You can also top a warm Vegan Puff Pastry Shiitake and Fennel Hand PotPie with sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, and a drizzle of lemon juice and dash of salt.
The post Vegan Puff Pastry Shiitake and Fennel Hand-Potpie appeared first on Designing Vegan. If you make this recipe, I’d love to see your photos! Please post your pics to Instagram or Facebook and remember to tag them with #designingvegan