Week 22: Picnic Pot Pies

I was saying to a friend of mine that mid-September called and wants its weather back. Doom sensations aside, I’m not going to complain that it still feels like a great idea to have snacks with friends outside in the sun! These lil guys should technically be transport ready for your lunches or lake-side catch-up sessions. I will say that my own attempts will not be winning any bake offs any time soon, but the FILLING is really what the recipe is about and the filling is 100% a winner. And actually, despite the pie aspect’s aesthetic failure, the crust itself is delicious, crumbly, but sturdy until you bite into it, which is exactly what’s required of a picnic pie. No soggy bottoms here!

There’s a lot of different ways to make a pot pie, but because I was hoping for small and sturdy lil handfuls, I went with a hot water crust. I used this recipe from King Arthur Flour, and I used vegetable shortening to see if the whole recipe could be vegan. I also added some thyme to the oil and water as it was melting. This crust is SO easy to make, but working with it quickly is a must, so definitely make the filling well before you make the crust.

And because last week you didn’t get ANY pictures, this week you get PROCESS PICS! But don’t worry, I’ll put them after the recipe because no one needs to scroll that much at the end of a long day. Check them out if you need assurance that things are going to plan!

Picnic Pot Pies


  • 5-8 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 bag potatoes chopped
  • 1 handful sage chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp or so thyme pulled off the stems
  • 6 tbsp fat (oil, butter, ghee, lard, follow your heart)
  • 1/2 cup milk, cream, or substitute
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • salt, pepper, soya sauce, other spices you like to taste


  1. Start by chopping your carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, spinach, and sage.

  2. Heat two pans on the stove, both with a little bit of fat of your choice in them.

  3. In one pan, toss the potatoes and carrots and some sage. In the other, toss the mushrooms and also some sage and thyme!

For Mushrooms

  1. Cook them medium-low and stirring often until they soften and shrink and release their juices. Add milk/cream/substitute and continue heating and stirring until it takes on the colour of the mushrooms – add some salt and/or soya sauce and pepper if you like. Shake in some flour and stir thoroughly and let that thicken things up a bit. Once it's got a bit of gravy vibe, lower the temp and add it to the potatoes and carrots and spinach if they are ready.

For the Potatoes and Mushrooms

  1. Once they are in there and coated and stuff, throw a lid on their pan and let them do their thing – occasionally get in there and stir. Once the potatoes break apart a bit and the carrots are easily forkable, take the lid off and add the spinach. Stir that around until the spinach is bright green and has shrunk down a bit. Then you can add the mushroom gravy situation if that's ready!

For the Pie

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 once the filling is done.

  2. Once the filling is made, this is the moment to make the dough – hot water crust needs to be worked with quickly and while it's still warm! It's fast to make but then a bit of a rush to get it shaped in the time provided. I recommend NOT doing what I did, and instead working with portions of the dough instead of all of it at once. Once you turn it out on the counter, form it quickly into a lump and cut it in quarters, tossing the 3/4 quarters you are not working with under the warm bowl it was just in.

  3. For muffin tin pies, roll each quarter into a longer tube shape and then roll it flat and cut it into large-ish circles. Then fold it into each lil muffin pocket. Fill all the muffin pockets with dough and then quickly cut out covering circles for each muffin pocket, THEN fill with filling.

  4. Poke or cut holes into the top of your tiny pies.

  5. If you like, use a bit of egg yolk and water to dab the top for a bit o shine.

  6. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, depending on your oven – you want to hear some sizzling and see that the edges of the pies are getting some colour.

Once you’ve diced the mushrooms and a bunch of sage and cooked them until they shrink and release their juices, I added about 1/2 cup cream, which could be replaced with oat milk or coconut milk!
In the pan next door, toss the potatoes and carrots in butter or oil, pepper, salt, thyme, and sage. Cook until the potatoes start breaking down and the carrots are soft.
At that point, throw in some roughly chopped spinach and mix thoroughly and cook until the spinach is bright green.
Here’s the whole delicious melange! Once you’re at this point, turn to the pie crust recipe above or whatever your favourite pie crust is.
Ok so not winning any beauty prizes, but they worked! Even this messy, they held together well and would easily keep themselves together in a container rattling around in a backpack.
Everything always looks a bit like something from a 70s cookbook in this lighting, but I hope this communicates a delicious crumbly crust, a warm savoury filling, and just a very cute overall experience.