I love pasties! And my friend Suzie Kuflik is the Queen of pasties. And the Queen of other fine foods like her Thai Chicken Salad, Sausage Rolls, Lemon Tarts and I could go on and on. Suzie grew up in England and has a flair for fine food, along with a beautiful British accent. Enjoy!
Let’s talk about pasties. Pasties originated in Cornwall on the southern tip of England as a lunch for miners. The miners wives would bake meat, potatoes and vegetables (usually carrot, onion and rutabaga) into one end of the pasty and then fruit (usually apple) into the other end. This tasty treat was standard fare and provided a convenient hand-held lunch that was easy to transport down the mine.
Today the humble pasty is sold in every bakery in the United Kingdom and comes in several varieties from cheese and onion to chicken curry. The tradition of baking fruit into one end as a dessert has long been lost and I can’t decide if that is for the better or not…
I always keep puff pastry on hand in my freezer. I buy it from the Cash and Carry in Bellevue (right behind Skate King) and it costs around $25 for a box of 108 (very good quality I may add) 5” squares. With these handy-dandy pastry squares I can bake up sausage rolls, fruit tarts (simply place fruit on the square leaving a small border and bake) and of course pasties in no time at all.
I have come to love transforming leftovers or all kinds into pasties but probably my favorite is Moo-shu chicken or pork which I make fairly often. I have come to adore the pasty more than the actual moo-shu itself and find myself making it just to have leftovers to make pasties with the next day. Simply place some hoi sin sauce in the middle of the pastry and top with moo-shu, seal and bake. Chicken curry is my husband’s favorite pasty, while my children adore cheese and mashed potatoes.
So the next time you are in the grocery store grab a box or two of frozen puff pastry and throw it in your freezer and the next time you have interesting leftovers transform them into pasties… you won’t be sorry!
CHEESE AND POTATO PASTIES
18 5” squares or rounds of puff pastry or regular short crust pastry
1 lb mixed shredded cheese (cheddar, white cheddar, parmesan, smoked gouda) your choice
3 cups of mashed potatoes
½ cup of caramelized or sautéed onions (optional)
½ stick of butter
2 Tbsp of flour
1 cup of milk, warmed
½ tsp of each or the following: salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder plus a pinch of nutmeg
Milk for sealing
Melt the butter in a heavy skillet and add the flour and seasonings. Stir with a whisk or wooden spoon until well combine and continue to cook for one minute.
- Gradually stir in the milk and continue to cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens (it will be quite thick)
- Stir cheese, potatoes and onions if using them into the thickened roux mixture and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper; this will stop the pastry for sticking.
- Place about 3 Tbsp of the filling onto the middle of each piece of pastry and brush milk around the edges. Fold the pastry over and press out all of the air. Seal the edges with a fork.
- Transfer the pastries to the baking sheet and make a couple of small slits in the top of each pasty, this will allow steam to escape and help avoid them from bursting during cooking.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pasties are golden brown.
- If some of the pasties burst during cooking don’t worry… simply use a butter knife to scoop the filling back inside.
Note: if you need to reheat the pasties place them in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes. Resist the urge to microwave them since microwaved pastry becomes soggy.