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Three Vegan Pastry Recipes: Biscuits, Samosas, and Rolls

Freelance writer from the northeast coast of England with a fondness for vegan food and punk rock.

Vegetable stew with American biscuits

Vegetable stew with American biscuits

American vs. British Biscuits: What's the Difference?

I think I’m right in crediting George Bernard Shaw with the statement ‘England and America are two countries divided by a common language,’ but like many such quotes, its origin cannot be definitely proven. Whoever did originate the saying was correct though; there are many differences between American English and British English, some of which can be confusing.

In America, they drink from a faucet, while we use a tap. Their babies wear diapers while ours wear nappies. A mechanic checks under the hood, while ours lift the bonnet, and so on. Needless to say, some linguistic discrepancies also exist in the world of food. American potato chips are crisps in England, and chips here are fries. Peanut butter and jelly becomes peanut butter and jam after it crosses the pond from west to east, and English jelly is what’s in a trifle, and is called Jell-O in America.

Then there are biscuits.

  • British biscuits: Here in Merrie England, a biscuit is what our Stateside cousins call a cookie, the word translating from the French for twice-cooked. A vegan cookbook I have, which is American in origin, has a recipe for biscuits and gravy, which, on my first reading, conjured up an image of someone dunking custard creams into a gravy boat filled with Bisto. Not an appetizing thought.
  • American biscuits: These are closer to scones than British biscuits, but the buttermilk gives them a delicious moreish flavour.

1. Vegan American Biscuits

Can't find vegan buttermilk at the store? Refer to the note above about how to easily make your own at home with vegan milk and a little lemon juice.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegan buttermilk
  • 250 grams (2 cups) plain/all-purpose flour
  • 60 grams (4 tablespoons) vegan butter, chilled
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F.
  2. Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, and whisk or stir to mix the dry ingredients.
  3. Rub in the vegan butter between fingers and thumbs, until a uniform mix is achieved. The desired texture has been variously described as resembling fine breadcrumbs or damp sand.
  4. Stir in the buttermilk until a ball of pastry forms.
  5. Rest the biscuit pastry in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  6. Roll the pastry on a floured work surface to a thickness of about 1 inch.
  7. Press out your biscuits using a scone/cookie cutter, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  8. Brush the tops with buttermilk and bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Vegetable stew with pie crust, similar to American biscuits but without the buttermilk

Vegetable stew with pie crust, similar to American biscuits but without the buttermilk

Vegetable samosas

Vegetable samosas

2. Vegan Vegetable Samosas

Last summer I was in London for an animal rights march, and there were street vendors giving out free vegan food to hungry marchers. Being rather peckish myself, I gratefully partook of a rather large vegetable samosa. Now, over the years I have eaten my fair share of these pastry delights, both store bought and homemade, but nothing came close to the one I had that day in London. It was scrumptious.

Having said that, homemade samosas are as tasty a snack as you’ll need. Easy to prepare and packed with spicy filling, these are deep fried rather than baked.

Quick samosa spice mix

Quick samosa spice mix

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Read More From Delishably

The pastry for samosas differs from the other two in this article, in that oil is stirred into the flour, rather than solid fat rubbed in. Two cups of flour should yield ten samosas.

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 250g (2 cups) plain/all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Vegetable oil to deep fry

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (or spice mix as above)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup garden peas
  • Vegetable stock (about 1 cup)

Method

  1. Mix the oil with the flour, using chopsticks or a whisk.
  2. Stir in the water a bit at a time until a dough forms.
  3. Bring the pastry together to make a single ball, but don’t knead it.
  4. Set aside in the fridge.
  5. Heat the oil in a pan, and saute the onion until soft.
  6. Add the curry powder or spice mix.
  7. Stir in the potato, carrot and peas.
  8. Add enough stock just to cover, and bring to a simmer.
  9. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally and adding more stock if needed.
  10. When the vegetables are tender, remove from the heat and set aside.
  11. Note: if the vegetables are all separated, mashing them a little will bring the mix together.
  12. Flour your work surface, and roll out the pastry to a thickness of about ¼ inch.
  13. Using some sort of cutter, or a circular template you can cut around, such as a small plate, create pastry discs, about 6 inches in diameter.
  14. Cut each disc in half.
  15. Load each semi-circle with a spoonful of filling on one half of the pastry.
  16. Wet the edge with a pastry brush (or fingers), and bring the bare half of the pastry over the filling, pressing to seal.
  17. Deep fry over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
  18. Drain and serve.
Vegan wellington with name of punk band in pastry letters

Vegan wellington with name of punk band in pastry letters

3. Vegan Wellington Rolls

This is s substantial dish that is ideal for big occasions. In fact, have had a wellington roll for Christmas dinner on more than one occasion. Listening to the punk band Crass while I prepared the wellington one Christmas inspired me to emblazon their name across the top in pastry letters.

In this recipe savoury veggie mince is spread over a sheet of traditional short-crust pastry, and then rolled up, baked and sliced.

Savoury wellington roll

Savoury wellington roll

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 250 grams (2 cups) plain/all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 100 grams (4 tablespoons) vegan butter, chilled
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup vegan mince
  • vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour/cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water

Method

  1. Heat the oil and saute the onion until soft.
  2. Add the potato, carrot and mushroom, and stir.
  3. Pour in enough stock just to cover, and bring to the boil.
  4. Turn down the heat, and simmer gently for about 16 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more stock if needed.
  5. Add the veggie mince and cornflour/cornstarch mix, and simmer for another 6 minutes, stirring regularly.
  6. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  7. Whisk the flour and salt together in a large bowl.
  8. Add the vegan butter and rub it into the flour between fingers and thumbs until uniform in texture.
  9. Add cold water and mix until a ball of pastry is formed. Do not knead, but set the bowl aside in the fridge to rest.
  10. Turn out the pastry onto a floured work surface, and roll out to a thickness of about ¼ inch.
  11. Trim the pastry to leave a rectangular sheet, portrait orientation.
  12. Spread the filling over the sheet in a uniform layer.
  13. Carefully roll up the sheet, and trim the ends.
  14. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.
  15. Remove from the oven, and cut into thick slices.
Stages of a wellington roll

Stages of a wellington roll

Pastry Prep Playlist

Sometimes, less is more.

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