Earthy and rich, these wonderful pies make a great hearty vegetarian meal by themselves. I also sometimes make a single large pie to serve alongside roast beef.
Step 1: Mushroom Filling
Place a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add the oil, along with the onion, celery, garlic, thyme and sage. Cook on a low heat for 20 minutes or so, until the vegetables are soft.
In a large skillet or fry pan, sauté the mushrooms in batches in a little butter. Deglaze the pan with some white wine with each batch. Add the mushrooms, mushroom powder and port to the cooked vegetables and cook out for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and fold in the roasted shallots and garlic. Set aside.
Add the butter to a small saucepan and place on a medium heat. Once melted, stir in the flour. Using a whisk, add the warm milk a bit at a time, whisking between each addition to eliminate any lumps that might form. Turn the heat down low and cook out the sauce for 10 minutes before removing from the heat and stirring into the mushroom and vegetable mix. Stir through the chopped Italian parsley and season to taste. Refrigerate until cold and set.
Step 2: Making and Baking
Roll the pastry out to a 2-3mm thickness. Find a plate or bowl with a diameter of approximately 12cm, and cut out 12 circles from the pastry. Its fine to heap together the off cuts and roll them out again. Use the offcut circles for the pie bases.
Spoon a heaped pile of the mushroom mix in the centre of the 6 pie bases, leaving about 1cm of pastry around the outside. Brush the pastry edges with egg white, then carefully take the top circles of pastry and gently place them on top of the mushroom filling. Pinch six evenly spaced crimps on the top pastry, then fold up the base layer and pinch this layer together with the other crimps.
Refrigerate the pies until you are ready to cook them.
Step 3: Cooking and Serving
Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees.
Spread the pies out evenly on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush the pies with the egg yolks and snip a couple of vent holes in the top of each pie.
Cook for 20 to 25 minutes until golden all over and crisp. Remove from the oven and let sit for ten minutes before serving. A crisp salad of greens with a sharp vinaigrette would work wonderfully well with these pies.
Photography by Kieran Scott