By: Steve Catanach
Meal Type: Lunch, Dinner
Cook time: 15 Minutes
Servings: 8" Flan Dish
I love a good pasty! In fact I fed the troops that helped me move house with them to galvanise them before they embarked on hulking boxes up the steps to my door! Cheese & Onion is my favourite, with a little leek or chive and a strong cheese, whats yours?
We asked @stevecooksmakesbakes for his favourite pastry recipe and top tips so that you can explore pasty flavours! The weather seems to be celebrating the pasty too! As this unseasonably mild weather is perfect for travelling out with a picnic rug, a flask and a buttery golden parcel.
Here to entice you into dusting your work surface and getting your crimping fingers ready is a pic of Steve's pies, using this pastry recipe..
Steve's Shortcrust Pastry (for pasties pies and more...)
- 200g plain flour
- 100g fat (Steve uses a 50:50 combo of lard or hard vegetable fat (Cookeen) and cold butter or hard baking spread (Stork block)
- A pinch of salt
- Cold water to bind
- Put flour, salt and fats into food processor with steel blade and pulse until evenly distributed. Don’t worry about a few larger lumps of fat, they make for flakier pastry.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of cold water and pulse or slow mix - continue to add teaspoons of water until the mixture JUST starts forming into clumps. Stop at this point.
- Tip out the pastry onto lightly floured piece of cling film. Gently form into a ball and flatten slightly, wrap well and chill for at least 30 minutes. This is important - if you work with just made pastry, the unrested gluten will work against you and it will break easily and shrink on cooking.
- Once rested, put the pastry on a floured surface and gently roll out to desired thickness. Don’t press the rolling pin down hard and turn the pastry frequently as you roll, lightly re-flouring underneath if you need to and the top that you are rolling. By whatever method you feel confident with, transfer the pastry into a greased and floured flan tin and make sure you gently tease it into the bottom and sides.
Top Tip: "tear off a bit of extra pastry and use this as a ‘dibber’ to push the pastry case into shape."
Trimming - "You can either run the rolling pin over the top of the case to get a perfect finish but you run the risk the case may shrink slightly on cooking and be too shallow. Or, trim it roughly leaving about 2cm overhang and then trim the cooked case with a sharp knife after blind baking." (Steve switches between the two methods depending on his mood!)
Blind bake - Steve is not a fan of the ‘you don’t need to blind bake in an Aga range cooker’ method when making filled pastry. Steve says "You can fill the raw case now and bake it on the floor of the roasting oven but I think you run the risk of burning the pastry and over cooking the filling, so I blind bake cases. Prick the bottom of the case gently with a fork (don’t go mad or the filling may later leak), cover with greaseproof paper and baking beans and blind bake in the baking oven for about 15 mins, then remove the paper and beans and return to oven for another 5/6 mins to let the case dry out and crisp up. It needs to be slightly pale and underdone as it will cook again when filled."
Steve's 3 biggest tips -
- You must rest the pastry between mixing and rolling or you’ll end up trying to do patchwork.
- Don’t be heavy handed rolling out - glide and slide
- Blind bake. I really don’t think you can skip this - every time I’ve tried it, I’ve been unimpressed.
To use this recipe for pasties -Roll out and cut into 25cm circles, an average dinner plate size. Take your cooled filling (if precooked ) and place slightly off the centre line (leaving a full semi circle of pastry to pull over), don't be tempted to overfill. Take a beaten egg and brush to seal the edges, fold over the circle to encase your filling and crimp! Cook for around 30 mins, on a baking sheetwith liner.
What dish do you favour to cook pastry in? Steve has used a rather nice bit of vintage enamel ware here for a tasty pie, but some swear by the slower conductivity of stoneware. Our silver anodised aluminium baking range is super effective at even heat distribution, so bottoms are browned as well as tops! The loose base makes for easy retrieval of your bake from the tin too!
Thank you to Steve for your wisdom and text! Katy x