Everybody loves pasties, don’t they?

No picture, because everybody knows what a pastie is. And they all got eaten before I thought to photograph.

Actually, come to think of it there could be confusion. So, a pastie is a small pastry case wrapped around some sort of sweet or savoury filling, but usually savoury.

There is a question over what sort of pastry to use, though: puff or shortcrust? Do you need it to be very stable and substantial – ie, thick – pastry in order to hold the filling together, or would you like something ephemeral and seemingly lightweight but which has a fat content half as much again as shortcrust? We’ll come back to that.

The point was that we went for a short stroll on Saturday around Temple Newsam where S had spotted some cheese pasties in the cafe the last time we were there but wasn’t up to eating one, no matter how tasty they looked, so we figured we’d see if they had any this time. Unfortnately they didn’t but there was a classic car rally going on, as well as two weddings and it’s easy to find spaces where there’s nobody else around at Temple Newsam as well, so we had a good wander around, got a little sunburned and had a poke around in the greenhouse which looked amazing and had some very cool leafy plants in which blew my tiny mind.

Getting back on topic, though. Seeing as the cafe was out of cheese pasties I offered to make some, an invitation which was taken up with alacrity. The problem was, I had no idea how to make a cheese pasty. I’d not eaten one in… well, I don’t know how long. Possibly ten years, maybe longer. I don’t go into high street bakery chains because I worked in one when I was 17 and it was an experience which resulted in never wanting to eat a cream bun or pre-frozen pasty ever again. I must have eaten a pasty since, but I’ve not touched a cream bun since. And again I’ve gone off-topic.

The filling; a cheese pasty contains potato and onion as well, so… it can’t be rocket science to figure out a mix, surely? I boiled some new potatoes, sautee’d off an onion and some shallots with quite a lot of fresh thyme, and grated a boatload of cheddar and comte. Crush (don’t mash, or it’ll go gluey) the spuds, mix in the onions, leave to cool and then mix in the cheese and some more thyme. And honestly I could have just sat there with a spoon and ate the lot. No flour, no egg, no MSG or xanthan gum or emulsifiers or ReelCheez(tm) or SimulaSpud(tm).

Pastry? No problem. 1 part fat, 2 parts flour, seasoning, maybe a few dried herbs, same as always. It’s warm out so use cold fat and iced water to bind, and keep it in the fridge before rolling it out. I did roll it out a bit thin; although it was lovely and crisp all the way through – no damp undersides here – it was a bit fragile, so maybe rolling it thicker than usual would be an idea, maybe to a £1 coin thickness. Then cut out circles of whatever size you like, spoon in a blob of mix, paint the edges with milk, fold over, crimp, more milk wash (I think egg wash is a waste unless you’re doing a lot at a time) and bake at 180ish until the pastry is cooked and golden.

They didn’t last long enough to photograph, but these things were a joy to make and a delight to eat. And next time I make them I’ll take photos before they get a chance to vanish.

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One Response to Everybody loves pasties, don’t they?

  1. I worked in a bakery when I was 16. Put me off sausage rolls for life.

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