A classic of the British cuisine, these are best enjoyed lukewarm and not right out of the oven. That is, unless you want to burn your mouth and NOT enjoy it at all. Also, the pastry is a bad boy, it takes quite a lot of kneading and is the driest I have ever worked with. Still worth the experience, though.
The recipe is Paul Hollywood’s, no credit to me. As this was an overall success, I will be experimenting with new fillings – I am thinking sweet potatoes and, hmm, something else 🙂
- 500g strong bread flour
- 120g vegetable suet
- 1 tsp salt
- 25g butter, at room temperature
- 175ml cold water
- 1 free-range egg, beaten with a little salt (for glazing)
- 350g beef skirt, rump steak or braising steak
- 350g waxy potatoes
- 200g swede
- 175g onions
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Put the flour, vegetable suet, salt, butter and water in a big bowl and mix with a metal spoon until roughly combined. As in with all pastries, you might have to adjust the consistency by adding some more water or flour (1 tbsp at a time). Slowly bring it together with your hands.
- Tip on a working surface (no need to dust with flour as it is quite a dry dough) and start to knead until it is soft, pliable and smooth. Use the heel of your hand to stretch the dough. Roll it back up into a ball, then turn it, stretch and roll it up again. This will take between 6 and 10 minutes. Slam the pastry on the working surface if necessary, this pastry deserves a rough treatment.
- Once the dough is smooth, wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for about 60 minutes.
- While you wait for the dough to be ready, start peeling the vegetables (potatoes, swede and onions) and cut into small cubes. Tip into a bowl. Dice the meat and add to the bowl. Sprinkle some ground pepper on top but don’t add salt as of yet – salt takes the moisture off the meat.
- Once the pastry has rested in the fridge, take it out and cut into 4 equal portions. Roll out each portion to a disc more or less the size of a dinner plate.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius (fan oven).
- Spoon a quarter of the mixture (roughly) into one half of the disc and leave the rest clear, so you can fold it over. Join the edges with your fingers and push it to seal, then crimp it using the twist and pinch technique. Fold the edges under the pasties for a smooth finish.
- Line two baking trays with baking parchment and put two pasties on each (they are huge). In a small bowl, whisk the egg with some milk using a fork and brush thoroughly on the pasties. This will give a nice shiny finish and produce the desired browning of the outer surface.
- Put the pasties in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Once cooked, they should be browned all over and sound hollow when tapped on top.