Three years ago, my lovely stepdaughter, Cat, convinced me to join twitter. As if I didn’t spend enough time already on my computer!
But it’s fun to follow Dalai Lama (whose tweets are not about food, but food for thought), or the The Onion (“Lucrative New Oil Extraction Method Involves Drilling Directly Into Gas Stations!”)
Usually I look at tweets from baking buddies, food-magazines, and renowned chefs and bakers like Dan Lepard.
|Brown Ale tastes good in and with a pasty!|
When I saw his Ale-Crust Potato Pasties, I jumped on my bicycle (yes, at the end of November! In Maine!!!) to get local brown ale, sharp cheddar and white onions.
Pasties are meat and vegetable filled hand pies, originally the (easy to carry) lunch staple of Cornish coal miners.
Like with many of Lepard’s breads, the dough is minimally mixed, without much kneading. Hands, a spoon or rubber spatula suffice – the butter cubes should remain visible and not melt.
The beer dough is rolled and folded several times, and chilled in between, like croissant dough, to make it nice and flaky.
I spruced up the potato onion filling with a little bacon. The filling would have been enough for nine pasties, so I reduced the recipe amounts accordingly.
The pasties tasted very good, we were especially pleased with the wonderful ale crust.
|These don’t last long!|
ALE-CRUST POTATO PASTIES (adapted from Dan Lepard’s recipe)
325 g bread flour, plus extra for rolling
175 g spelt flour, or whole wheat (I used spelt)
10 g salt, (2 tsp.)
300 g cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm (0.4″) cubes
250 ml Newcastle Brown Ale, or similar
2 slices bacon, cubed
265 g white onions, chopped
¼ tsp. salt
15 ml olive oil
65 g water
salt and pepper, to taste
50 ml heavy cream
350 g potatoes, cooked and diced
70 g sharp cheddar, grated
egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
|Mix the dough only until it’s clumping|
Stir together flours and salt. Toss butter cubes through flour mix. Pour in beer and mix to rough lump (the butter pieces will still be visible).
|This is what the dough should look like|
Transfer dough to floured worktop and roll out into a approximate rectangle, about 1 cm (0.4″) thick.
|Even after rolling the butter pieces remain visible|
Fold it like a business letter, roll it out, and fold it again into thirds. Wrap dough package in plastic foil and freeze it for 30 minutes. Repeat this double rolling and folding 2 x more at 30-minute intervals. Chill the dough for 1 hour in the fridge.
|The dough package needs chilling after each turn|
In a saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Using slotted spoon, take out bacon bits, place on paper towel, and set aside.
Add onions, oil, water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Cook until all water has evaporated, and onions are very soft.
Stir in cream, let thicken a bit (mixture should not have too much liquid). Remove from heat, add potatoes and reserved bacon, season well with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.
|Roll one half of the dough into a rectangle, then cut in thirds|
Divide dough in halves. Return 1 piece to refrigerator. Roll other half into rectangle of ca. 23 x 33 cm (9 x 13″), then cut into thirds (a pizza cutter works well), each about 23 x 11 cm (9 x 4 1/3″).
|Place filling on one half (this is a filling with Christmas dinner leftovers)|
Brush dough stripes with water, spoon filling towards one end, covering about half of piece (leave edges clean, otherwise you can’t seal them!), and sprinkle with cheese. Fold other half over filling, and seal edges with a fork.
Repeat with other pastry sheet. Chill pasties until firm, at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400ºF/200ºC.
|Brush pasties with egg before baking|
Brush pasties with egg, and trim cut sides, if necessary (and if you are a neat freak). Place on parchment lined baking sheets and slash tops.
Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate sheet 180 degrees for even browning, and continue baking for another 15 – 25 minutes, until puffed and golden.
|Freshly baked pasties|
Pasties work really well for leftover recycling of holiday dinners. After Christmas I filled pasties with our roasted goose-, red cabbage and potato leftovers including gravy. They tasted great!
Unbaked pasties can be easily frozen (before applying the egg glaze). You don’t have to defrost them, just brush them with egg before they go in the oven, and bake them a little longer.
|Ale-Crust Pasty with leftovers from our Christmas goose dinner!|
This post, first published December 2011, has been completely rewritten and updated.