So, ho-hum, looks like that was Spring. Spiffing. What a tease March is. So bracing is it in fact that for tonight I have dug some oxtail from the deeper reaches of the freezer to make a stew with spinach dumplings – in a way, something of a relief, otherwise I would have found a frozen lump of bone come November and thrown it in the bin.
Anyway, pasties. Yum. Depending on your preference of course. And so topical right now. However, I’m not really talking about proper Cornish pasties and the like; gorgeous though they are (and for the record I’m a West Cornwall Pasty Co girl), there are trillions of recipes out there for the real deal. I’m talking pastry and filling and lots of both.
You will need 2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry and a beaten egg. This will feed 4-8 people, depending on how much restraint you can show after they come out the oven. I got carried away because the first one looked so good, I had to make another because I didn’t think there could possibly be enough to satiate. I might have been a tad ambitious in my thinking, but they reheat well enough for lunch the next day.
Lay out your puff pastry sheets and slice each rectangle in half to make 2 squares-ish. Place one half on a sheet of baking paper on a baking sheet, then top with one of the following fillings, leaving a small margin round the edge with which to seal it.
Filling no 1: Slice a large handful waxy potatoes the width of a pound coin. (NB I was using Sainsbury’s Vivaldi potatoes, which are actually incredibly delicious – much recommended here and baked with herbs and olive oil). Boil in salted water until tender, then drain and dry thoroughly.
Meanwhile sweat 2 finely sliced leeks in an indecent amount of butter with a touch of salt until slippery and soft and sweet. Add to the potatoes, along with 2-3 tbsp crème fraiche, a tbsp wholegrain mustard and a good 2 handfuls grated Cheddar or other similar cheese. Stir gently to combine.
Filling no 2: In plenty of olive oil, cook a chopped onion, a finely chopped aubergine, 1 large chopped field mushroom and some garlic until tender. Drain off any excess oil, then add a good handful sliced salami and sprinkle in some dried chilli if desired. Check seasoning then stir in some cubed mozzarella – you may not need the whole ball.
Back to the pasties. Top with the remaining pastry half, squidge firmly round the edges to seal, brush with the egg and make a couple of slits in the top. Bake at 200C for 40 minutes until golden brown and cooked underneath. Leave to cool for ooh, 30 seconds, before picking at the corners then slicing off thinly, then again, and again….