Somehow I managed to marry a man who does not get excited about food. It is a constant wonder to me. For some reason I still ask "what do you want for dinner?" knowing that I'll hear the usual "I don't care" in reply. There is, however, one food that does induce a little excitement in my food-indifferent mate: pasties.
Pasties (pronounced PASS-tees) are an English food. It's basically a pocket of meat; like a pot pie but you can hold it in your hand and it's less liquidy. Jonny lived in London for awhile and discovered this tasty treat/meal there. I came across a recipe for pasties a couple of years ago and received immediate encouragement from my husband. Oooo, make that! he suggested hopefully. So I did. But...it was weird. The recipe for the crust was strange and it offered no instruction to cool down the meat before packing it into the uncooked crust. The result was a drippy crust that melted apart when I tried to transfer it to the baking sheet. And the end result was disappointingly dry. But, I went with it a couple times until after several attempts I decided it just didn't seem to be working. And I haven't made them since.
If you've read my personal blog lately, you know that Jonny recently completed a big milestone in his education. Tonight, I wanted to treat him to a good dinner, something that he would get excited about. I decided to try pasties again. But this time I did some research. I spent a better part of the evening reading recipes for pasties and the history of pasties. My final consensus was: just use a pie crust recipe you trust and - and this is the kicker - don't pre-cook the filling! Ah hah!
So, this evening I set about making my all-butter 9" double crust recipe (but I left out the sugar), cutting the beef into small chunks (1/4 inch), and assembling 4 pasties. I didn't follow a recipe for anything but the crust. I just cut up the meat, sliced some potatoes very thin (1/8 inch thick, 1/2 inch wide), and diced some onion. Then, I divided the dough into quarters and rolled it out. On half of the circle, I layered potatoes, then beef, then onion, leaving almost an inch of space between the filling and the bottom edge of the crust. Salt and pepper and a dab of butter, a bit of water along the inside edge of the crust to make it adhesive, and then I folded the dough over the filling and crimped the edges. I did a milk wash (you could also do egg yolk) over the top of the crust, cut some slits, and then put it in the oven. 350 for about an hour.
I'm not sure I can overstate how good these were. I'll let the pictures do the talking. I will say that we wished that it was a cold winter's night - these seem suited best for winter weather.