Ena, dio, tria…mini pasties!

The most famous of all pasties are those made in Cornwall.  This little trio of pasties is a far cry from the giant Cornish beauties, but they are delicious!

I was ill last weekend and felt so rough, that I didn’t even cook.  It’s left me feeling eager to cook and write this week.  To begin with, I needed to use up some puff pastry in my freezer to make a little room.  I had such a great time making pasties last year that I thought it would be a good starting point for something new.

One of my favourite ingredients is Chorizo, so I thought that a nice chicken and Chorizo pasty would be fun.  Some peppers, some onions and some potato for substance.  Having bought the chicken, I then started toying with the idea of another filling and soon I’d made my mind up to try making a pesto chicken pasty.

Before I knew it, I’d added a third idea; a cheese and onion pasty.  Cheese and onion pasties are popular in these parts and I thought it would be good to add a veggie option to the gang.

The idea is simple enough: choose some ingredients to make a filling for a little parcel that can be baked in the oven and then eaten hot or cold.

With my decision made, I spent time preparing each filling and began my mini pasty experiment.  I was excited to see which one would turn out best.  Deep down, I knew the cheese and onion would work, but what of the other two?  I’m happy to say that my productive afternoon ended with smiles and I’ve been feeling very satisfied since.  My favourite was definitely the chicken and Chorizo pasty, but see what you think.

Mini pasties- chicken & chorizo, pesto chicken, cheese & onion

500g puff pastry

1 egg (beaten)

For the chicken & Chorizo filling

2 potatoes (cubed)

125g Chorizo sausage (cubed)

1 cooked chicken breast (cubed)

1 onion (diced)

1 red pepper (diced)

handful of chopped fresh coriander

salt

For the pesto chicken filling

2 potatoes (cubed)

1 cooked chicken breast (cubed)

A dozen mushrooms (diced)

1 tblspoon pesto

3 tblspoons grated Grana Padano

1 tblspoon olive oil

salt

For the cheese & onion filling

2 potatoes (cubed)

1 onion (diced)

5 tblspoons grated Cheddar

2 tspoons Dijon mustard

To make the chicken and Chorizo filling, I boiled the cubed potatoes for ten minutes and then drained them and set them aside to cool.  In a frying pan, I heated a little oil and fried the onions, Chorizo and pepper until the onions had cooked through and the Chorizo had released a beautiful red oil.  I stirred in the potatoes and the chicken along with some salt before finally sprinkling in the coriander.  The first filling was done!

For the pesto chicken, it was even easier.  I boiled the potatoes and drained them.  Next I put the potatoes, chicken, pesto and cheese in a bowl and stirred thoroughly.  I fried the mushrooms and stirred them in.  A little salt to season and some pepper finished the job.

Finally, the cheese and onion filling was made by boiling the cubed potatoes and letting them cool before putting them into a bowl with the Dijon mustard and cheese.  I fried the onions and then added them to the bowl.  All that was left to do was mix it all together gently and season everything.

I rolled out the pastry until it was very thin and made use of a small saucer from an espresso cup to cut a circle.  A couple of tablespoons is all that is needed to fill the pasty and it’s important not to overfill it (tempting as it is).

Brushing the edge of half the pastry circle with egg wash helps to seal the pasty when you bring the edges together.  Just crimp the edges with a fork or fold and press them to stop the filling oozing out in the oven.  Place the pasties on a baking tray lined with baking paper and use a pastry brush to add the egg wash to each one.  This will give the pasties a lovely golden glaze.

Pop the little beauties in the oven for about twenty minutes at 180C or until they are golden.  You’ll know exactly when to take them out.

These make a great little snack and can be eaten cold.  If you make mini pasties as I did, you’ll be able to get about forty by making all three of the fillings.  Obviously, if you decide to make just one type of filling, you will definitely not need 500g of pastry!

I think I might make giant pasties next time and have them as part of a main meal.  I’m so happy with how these turned out.  Let me know if you decide to give them a go!

120g Chorizo sausage (cubed)

Strangers in the night exchanging pasties.

Goodness knows why I chose to start making them so late, but it was after midnight before I’d finished photographing my piping hot pasties!  Now, I can guess what you’re thinking.  “You said that Saturday was pie day”.  Yes I did.  Truth be told, I had my heart set on a big steak and ale pie with a deep, dark gravy and tender pieces of fatty beef within.  No sooner had I made my decision and begun to plan my recipe, then I was distracted by a recipe that looked like lots of fun.  So I write to you now with mixed feelings because first of all, I’ve made some pasties which are a type of pie, but not what I had planned, and secondly, the recipe is not my own.  The last point is particularly hard for me to admit because I so wanted to share with you a pie recipe of my own design.  However, I won’t dwell on it because the recipe turned out to be magnificent and has given me lots of ideas for future pastry-based concoctions!

Since my overriding intention is to share good food and ideas that really work, it would be a shame to omit a good recipe just because it didn’t originate in my butter-filled mind.  It would also be downright dishonest to claim this joyous medley of ingredients as my own.  I thoroughly enjoyed testing this recipe out and was delighted with the results.  My only issue was the timing of the cooking.  I’d started very late and this meant that there was no daylight left when it came to photographing the end product.  Food doesn’t look its best when photographed at night and the yellow tinge, coupled with shadows, gives things an unappealling look.  I decided to go ahead regardless.  My photography is anything but professional, but my insistence on showing what actually comes out of the oven pushed me to do my best.  The fact that the spotlights in the kitchen have stopped working means that for the next couple of recipes, I’ll be trying to take pictures while the sun is still out.  Meanwhile, let me assure you that this recipe is well worth trying and that cooking the pasties late at night was oddly exciting.  I think I’d enjoy being a nocturnal pie man.

Cheesy bacon and leek pasties

1 pack puff pastry

250g smoked bacon lardons

2 leeks (sliced)

150g Cheddar cheese (grated)

1 Golden Delicious apple (peeled and finely cubed)

1 potato (peeled and finely cubed)

75ml double cream

1 egg (beaten)

1 tspoon Dijon mustard

vegetable oil

knob of butter

pepper

Fry the bacon lardons in a little vegetable oil until brown and crispy and then add the leeks with the butter.  Cook them until soft and then stir in the double cream and the mustard.  Grind plenty of black pepper in at this point.  Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese.  Keep stirring until the cheese has completely melted.  Now it’s time to fold in the apple and potato.  They should be uncooked when added.

Flour your work surface and rolling-pin and roll out the pastry until it is about half a centimetre thick.   Place a small plate on top and cut round it.  Take a large spoonful of the cheesy mixture and place it on one half of the pastry circle.  With some water, wet the edges of the pastry and bring the empty half to meet this edge.  Press down firmly and use a fork to help seal all the way around.  You’ll have to crimp the edges now by folding over the pastry a little at a time from the edge inwards.  This will create a good seal and prevent all of the filling oozing out during cooking.

Brush the whole pasty with egg wash and bake in the oven at 170 degrees Celsius, on the middle shelf, for forty-five minutes.  I would let these beauties cool for a few minutes before serving.  They also taste great cold.  I reckon I’ll be making some mini versions for a picnic soon!

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