If there’s one Scottish delicacy that’s always intrigued me, it’s the macaroni pie.
In all the time I’ve lived in Scotland, I’ve never been lucky enough to find a vegan version of what is by all accounts a quite spectacular creation (animal exploitation aside). For seven years, I’ve only been able to imagine what these cheesy, pasta-stuffed pastries might be like.
Well, enough is enough. Last week I decided to take matters into my own hands, and recreate the pie I’d heard so much about.
I'm not exaggerating: nothing could have prepared me for the macaroni pie. To be honest, I wasn’t actually expecting to love these pies. To really love them. I think I was wary of getting my hopes up for an overhyped food (I’m looking at you, cronut).
That was a totally stupid and unrealistic expectation, obviously, because what is macaroni pie but two excellent things- macaroni cheese and pastry- combined?
In fact, a macaroni pie is more even than the sum of its parts. The traditional hot water crust pastry, crisp and crumbly, is the perfect foil for those ooey-gooey innards. There’s something other-wordly about the way these things come together, so much so that it’s actually hard to articulate how great macaroni pies really are.
Fortunately, you don’t need to take my word for it. With this recipe, you can experience macaroni pies for yourselves.
Enjoy them hot or, for that bakery vibe, almost cooled with ketchup. I prefer the latter.
Makes: 7 small pies (or 1 mega pie!)
Preparation time: c. 2 hours
For the macaroni filling…
1 litre of soy milk
1 large brown onion, peeled and halved
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
300g dried macaroni
100g vegan butter
80g plain flour
3 tsp strong mustard
7 tbsp nutritional yeast (or more, to taste)
150g vegan cheese, grated
Ground sea salt and white pepper to taste
A note on cheese: Be sure to pick a good-quality vegan cheese that melts. I have used Daiya cheddar shreds and Violife (several varieties) with success.
For the pastry…
500g flour (plus extra, for dusting)
250g vegan butter
250ml water (potentially more)
A generous pinch of ground sea salt
Seven small (10cm) springform tins (or one large one)
One large saucepan
At least two medium saucepans
Large mixing bowl
1./ First, place the onion halves, garlic, and bay leaves into a saucepan along with the soy milk. Set this aside while you make the pasta.
2./ Cook the macaroni until soft, as normal. Drain and set aside.
3./ Place the pan with the milk, onion, garlic and bay over a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes. Turn the heat off and pick or sieve out the onion, garlic, and bay leaves.
4./ In a separate pan, melt the butter over a medium-high heat. Add in the flour, stirring as you do, until a paste (roux) forms. Then pour in the hot milk, a little at a time, whisking constantly. Bring the whole mixture to the boil, then turn down the heat. Stir in the nutritional yeast, the cheese, and the mustard, and simmer for a few minutes, till thickened. Season to taste.
5./ Add the macaroni to the cheese sauce, and combine well. Set this aside while you make the pastry.
6./ Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
7./ Mix the salt into the flour in a large mixing bowl. Place the butter and water in a saucepan and heat until the butter is melted and just about boiling.
8./ Make a well in the flour and pour in the butter and water mixture, stirring in the flour as you do. When mostly combined, work the dough with your hands, bringing it together into a ball; add a little extra hot water if the dough is too dry to work, or more flour if it's too wet. Knead until smooth, then set aside until just about cool to the touch.
9./ Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a even circle large enough to fully line the bottom and sides of your tins (or tin). Make sure there are no holes. Trim any excess from the top, then fill with the macaroni cheese.
10./ Bake in the oven till golden-brown on top. Serve hot or cold.