Saturday, May 28, 2011

Megan's Perfect Pasties

These are the best pasties you'll ever taste!
I am so thrilled to have made these. I adore bakery pasties and recently had a horrible experience of (not) eating a truly awful pastie from the local bakery in town. The pastry was lovely, but the filling was a hard lump  of something that tasted rather like cardboard.

For the pastry, make a batch of Rough Puff Pastry, using the method described here. Roll and turn about 6 times and then cut in half and refrigerate for half an hour or so.

If pushed for time, use ready rolled puff pastry. I prefer Pampas 25% Fat Reduced. It works a treat.

To make the filling:
250g lean beef mince
3 carrots
2 onions
1 turnip
½ to 1 parsnip
1 small potato
2 Tbsp rolled oats (soaks up liquid - thanks Judy!)
4 tsp beef stock powder
2 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
a few frozen peas
1 beaten egg for glazing.

I don't bother peeling the root vegetables. Just chop roughly.  Just make sure carrot is cut a little smaller than other vegies as it's harder.
Place mince, stock powder, peas and pepper into a large mixing bowl. Stir together.
To chop vegetables, place into food processor or Thermomix and chop on speed 5 for a couple of seconds at a time. Use the spatula to stir around and chop again if necessary. Add to mince with the remaining ingredients.

To make pasties:
Preheat oven to 200C. Line two trays with baking paper.
Roll out pastry and cut circles using a small side plate (I sometimes make smaller ones using my pie maker cutter).  Brush inside with beaten egg and place filling on one half, avoiding edges. Fold other half over and seal with finger crimping. Prick with a fork and place on baking tray.
Brush with beaten egg and bake for half an hour.
Remove from tray and place straight onto oven racks and bake for a further 10 minutes. If using bought puff pastry, there's no need to do this. I just bake until they're cooked and remove to a cake rack to cool.

 Filling the pastie

 Ready for the egg glaze and baking

 I used 3/4 of the pastry and made 10 pasties. The remaining pastry was made into 2 pastie sized apple turnovers, a croissant and some spirals with sugar on top.

Hints and Tips:
I now make snack sized pasties using the larger ring cutter from the electric pie maker - 12 cm diameter. I make 2 lots of pastry and cut into circles, laying each circle on a plate with baking paper in between (keep the baking paper in a plastic bag for next time).

If you make the filling a day or so before, place it in a colander over a bowl in the fridge. Just put a plate on top to stop it drying out. This will allow liquid to drain. Because there's salt in the mixture, it draws liquid from the meat and the vegetables.

My puff pastry making is now perfected and puffs up so much more than previously. Here's a photo of a recent batch.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rough Puff Pastry

It's been a while since I've posted here. Skinflint business has been busy and, although I've been doing a lot of cooking still, I haven't had time to blog about it!

Today I wanted to make sausage rolls to put in the men's lunch boxes for seeding. I had a little of the Pampas 25% Fat Reduced Puff Pastry in the freezer, but have had it in my mind to make some Puff Pastry, so that's just what I did.

I've been looking at a recipe on this site for Rough Puff Pastry and I thought that this was the way to go.
I honestly didn't think it would be that great, I'm not a good pastry maker. But, I was in for a pleasant surprise - it was wonderful! Certainly not difficult, maybe a little time consuming, but still not terribly hard to do.

I wanted to use my Thermomix as my hands are way too hot to try to rub in butter without it melting. The key to making great pastry is to have everything really cold.  Checking the recipe in the EDC, it appears that you throw everything in to the Thermomix and use the dough setting.
So, that's just what I did (I put iceblocks in the water to chill it) and it turned out to be too much for the poor machine. So I tipped half of it out and just did it in two batches.
Edited some time later to add: I don't know that this makes much sense. Today I made this again and just made two lots, halving the recipe. I've reduced the water from the original recipe as 125ml of water is way too much. I also don't throw it all in at once anymore and have added lemon juice as it helps the pastry to puff.

So, this is the edited version:

Here's the method:

250g flour
250g cold butter, cut into chunks
110ml icy water
squeeze lemon juice

Weigh the flour and butter into the Thermomix bowl or food processor.  Chop on speed 4 for around 5 seconds.  Add the water and process on speed 4 until it comes together. If there is still a little ice, take speed up to 8 for a second. Tip on to well floured bench or silpat mat and press together, using the mat to bring the mass into a rectangle shape.

Roll pastry out to a long thick rectangle, about 10 x 20, short end facing you. Fold the top 1/3 down and the bottom 1/3 up to meet in the middle. Fold the bottom over the top. This is called a book fold. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes, longer in summer. (Putting it in the freezer is even better)
Place dough onto floured mat. Roll out again to make the rectangle shape, but this time 20 x 30cm.

Roll out again, keep flour on your bench all the time.  Try to keep the rectangle shape, push in the edges each time you do the book fold.

Repeat the above step three or four more times (refrigerating between to rest), constantly flouring the bench and the top of the pastry. Rest the pastry after the final roll for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
It should look like this with lots of layers.

When ready to cut shapes from pastry, roll out as evenly as possible, making it about 1mm thick, the same as ready rolled Puff Pastry.

Here's a few things I made with the pastry the very first time I made it. I've since perfected my pastry making and my pastry is a lot puffier these days.

Wow! Gobsmacked! Just like Puff Pastry!

On returning from the second trip to the farm, I cut the remainder of the piece into rectangles for Cream Matchsticks, my husband's favourite.

 Again! Amazing Puff Pastry!

So, since I originally started this in order to make sausage rolls, I thought I'd better do so!

I squished out the filling from 1 packet of  the wonderful butcher's sausages I buy from our local store into the Thermomix (a food processor would work). I then added 3 slices of bread, a large squirt of tomato sauce and some herbs from the garden - thyme, parsley and rosemary. Blitz for 30 seconds or so and use for sausage rolls.

I like to shape the filling and lay it on the pastry, so I wet my hands and take a large lump of sausage mine and roll it in my hands.

Bake sausage rolls at 200 for about 15 minutes. 


Here's my most recent pastry that was used for snack sized pasties:

The pastry is golden and flaky and a stand out success. The pastie recipe is here