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For the second weekend in a row, I am so full of pasties I think I'm going to burst.1 All in the interests of research, however!

As many of you have probably noticed, much of my catboxing of late has been about pasties. Hallowe'en is upcoming, and I've recently gotten involved in a LiveJournal community devoted to 'domestic' activities, that encourages forays into Harry Potter fandom. This, added to an earlier decision I had to attempt to make a Harry Potter cookbook for the fun of it, has given me impetus to the document you see before you. All the recipes below have also been posted by me at the LJ under the subject lines Pumpkin pasties (savory) and Pumpkin pasties (sweet).

Bipolarbear has been invaluable in my search for the quintessence of pasty baking, and for this I offer up many many thanks.

After much discussion, the first thing I did was test a recipe to see what an authentic Cornish Pasty is supposed to be like. I'm still not sure, as there's some variability to the recipe that's not accounted for. So I'll just have to assume that my pumpkin versions are adequate. Bipolarbear located the recipe, as well as a picture for me.
Recipe: http://www.greenchronicle.co.uk/connies_cornish_kitchen/cornish_pasty_recipe.htm
Picture: http://www.warrensbakery.co.uk/pasty.htm

All of this work has been so I could diverge into the fandom with something which has an air of authenticity. And then, just so I could make tasty pies for lunch. I went through a similar process with lembas, although this has been considerably faster as there was a base recipe from which to depart.

I have arranged the wu into sections, as it is somewhat involved:

Introduction: which you are reading
Crust:
Which crust to use
Durable butter crust
Sour cream crust
Fillings:
Thoughts on Squash
Notes on variation
Savory fillings and process:
With Beef
Plain
With Cheese
Creamy, with Cheese
Sweet fillings and process:
Creamy
Buttery
Serving, storage, and re-heating
Comments

1 Please refrain from stripper jokes and breast innuendo. It was funny, maybe, the first time. But after three weeks, they have gotten more than a bit old.

Crust:

Which crust to use
I have used the durable butter crust (the recipe is restated from the Cornish Pasty recipe bipolarbear found for me) for all the savory variants. The crust is perfect for pasties as it is considerably more durable than other butter crusts I've used. It has a lower proportion of butter, which leads to a flaky yet strong crust. The recipe makes 12 5.5x1/8'' rounds.

I have used a sour cream crust for the sweet variants, as it is lighter and flakier, which is a more appealing counterpoint for a dense, sweet, and moist filling. The recipe makes 10 5.5x1/8'' rounds.

Can you use the durable butter crust for the sweet variations? Yes. Just note that it is not as light in texture. This recipe makes more crust (12 instead of 10), and can be filled more as the crust does not expand as much to compress it's filling. On the other hand, because of the wetness and density of the sweet fillings and the nature of the crust, I would still only fill the pasties with about 1/3c. for aesthetic reasons. Since the recipes below make about 4c. of sweet filling, you should be fine.

Can you use this crust for the savory variations? Yes. However, this recipe makes less dough (enough for 10) and cannot be stuffed as full (1/3c. filling as opposed to 1/2c.), so you'll need to scale back the filling or scale up the dough accordingly. The recipes below make 6c. of savory filling, which would require half again a batch of crust, or reduction of the filling by 1/3. Also, this is not a durable crust, and it does not keep as well. Fresh from the oven, it is unbelievably crisp and flaky. It's best within 3 days, toasting to restore the crispness. They can also be frozen for up to 2 weeks, again, toasted in the oven to restore crispness.

Either of these crusts can be made in advance and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Defrost them in the refrigerator overnight, and then roll out as directed.

Durable Butter Crust
454g all purpose flour ( 3.5 cups unsifted, or 1 pound)
0.5 pound unsalted butter, chilled (1c., or 2 sticks)
1/8 tsp. salt
about 3/4 c. cold water

Cut the butter into the flour and salt until all the flour is coated in butter. Add most of the water and mix to form a dough. Add a few additional drops of water as necessary to make it come together, but avoid using too much water and getting a sticky dough.

Roll out to 1/8th of an inch thick or so and cut out 12 5.5" rounds, using a plate or some other item as a template. Re-roll the scraps until you use up all the dough. Also, you can make them smaller, bigger, or close in size, 5.5" is just the size of what I used for a template. The bigger they are, the thicker the dough will need to be. Go up to 1/4" for very large pasties. Also, the smaller they are, the more crust is needed in proportion to filling if the dough is rolled to the same thickness.

These pasties will not really be strong enough to wrap in a cloth and stick in your pocket. If you want something truly durable, increase the crust thickness to 1/4" inch. It will be extremely durable, and if you like crust, you'll have all sorts of flaky, buttery crispness to crunch through. At the same time, this is an awful lot of crust, and the pasties will seem somewhat drier and heavier.

This dough is baked at 425°F for 15-20 minutes (depending on size, the larger they are, the longer they should bake), and then the temperature is reduced to 325-350°F so that the filling has a chance to cook through without the crust burning (30-60 min., with the cooler temperature for larger pasties). It may take longer to get to golden brown if you have 2 sheets in the oven. Do not underbake them! Go by color, not by time.

Sour Cream Crust2
280g all purpose flour (about 2 cups, or just shy of 10oz.)
0.5 pound unsalted butter, chilled (1c., or 2 sticks)
1/8 tsp. salt
0.5 c. sour cream (5oz.) (yogurt works as well, although the flavor is a little tangier)

Cut the butter into the flour and salt until all the flour is coated in butter, some of the butter will still be in lumps the size of peas and lentils. This is desirable, as it leads to extra flakiness. Add the sour cream and mix to form a dough. It will be somewhat dry, mix firmly with a sturdy spoon, and gather it up into a ball with your hands. Pat it out to about 1" thick, and wrap or cover, and chill for at least an hour.

Roll out to 1/8th of an inch thick or so and cut out 10 5.5" rounds, using a plate or some other item as a template. Re-roll the scraps until you use up all the dough. Also, you can make them smaller, bigger, or close in size, 5.5" is just the size of what I used for a template. The bigger they are, the thicker the dough will need to be. Go up to 1/4" for very large pasties. Also, the smaller they are, the more crust is needed in proportion to filling if the dough is rolled to the same thickness. I do not recommend going larger for the sweet fillings, as they are already obscenely rich. I recommend 4" rounds for "cocktail sized" pasties.

This dough is baked at 375°F for the duration of its baking time. It's about an hour for 5'' pasties, but go by color. They will be a light to medium golden brown when done. They will stay crisper if baked to medium golden brown. Again, go by color, not by time.

2 This crust recipe has been restated from Sweet Miniatures: The art of making bite-sized desserts by Flo Braker, William Morrow & Co., NY, 1991.

Filling:

At this size (5.5" rounds), a pasty made with the durable butter crust holds about half a cup of filling. Therefore, you will need 6 cups of filling for this particular recipe. Note, when the squash is firm rather than soft, you won't be able to fit as much. All of the savory recipes resolve to 6 cups of filling.

At this size, a pasty made with the sour cream crust holds about a third of a cup of filling. Therefore, you will need 3.3 cups of filling for this particular recipe. 3.3 is not as easy a number to arrive at, though, so I've gone with about 4c. instead. Sometimes, the vicissitudes of rolling out dough will leave you with an extra round, etc., and this will leave you with enough filling.

Thoughts on Squash Wanna see squash pictures? See http://www.cucurbit.org/family.html
These recipes are suitable for any winter squash, not just pumpkin. Acorn squash come in a handy size, and one is more than enough for any of these recipes. However, acorn squash is extremely wet and is also very mild in flavor. Different squashes have different levels of sweetness and that inimitable squash flavor. Most of the pumpkins for sale at this time of year were grown for their cosmetic appearance rather than their taste. Try to find a cooking pumpkin if you want something particularly fine. Cheese pumpkins (a squat, tan, smooth skinned cooking pumpkin) are particularly good for cooking. They, and butternut squash are (genus/species)Cucurbita moschata, and have denser, drier flesh than acorn squash. Kabocha (or kalabasa, Cucurbita maxima Duchesne) are a small green pumpkin that works well also. Even drier than cheese pumpkins, the flesh is quite starchy. Both pumpkins' flavor are stronger and sweeter, more distinctly pumpkiny. Use what you prefer. You may need to add 1-2 teaspoons of gravy to savory pasties made with kabocha that do not have cheese, to offset its starchiness. Any brown gravy will do, or make some from a roux and some stock. The sweet ones need no assistance, although the filling may be perceptibly starchier.

Squash takes a while to cook, and can be very wet. To make sure the squash is thoroughly cooked in the finished pasties, I recommend par-cooking it, and then letting it cool. To par-cook it, cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds. If it's very large, cut it into several chunks. Acorn squash is fine halved. Place the squash cut side up on a baking sheet, and bake in a 350°F oven until the flesh is easily pierced by a fork. Remove from the oven, and let cool. When it is cool, remove the skin with a paring knife, or (if it is soft enough) scoop the flesh out with a large spoon. Coarsely chop the flesh into 1/2"-1" chunks (the firmer it is, the smaller the chunks need to be). Coarsely mash the quantity you need for the sweet pasties. A potato masher works particularly well. Excess squash is excellent cooked through and served hot with butter, salt and pepper, or tossed with some chèvre or grated parmesan cheese.

Notes on Variation
Fillings are extremely flexible. The key is not to make them too wet or sloppy, for ease of handling and a crisper crust. At the same time, they should not be overly dry or else the pasties will be leaden. Get a feel for them, and then innovate as much as you like.

Although some pasties were apparently made as a whole meal, with one part meat and vegetables, and one part dessert, the pasty eating world generally considers it to be a savory. Still, many of us are unfamiliar with pasties as a cultural phenomenon and have labored under the impression that pasties are a sweet pastry. And what o' that? I can't think of any reason not to make them sweet. I will make a distinction, however. I consider the sweet pastries to be dessert pasties and not ''proper'' pasties. They are also not as durable as their counterparts, although they benefit in that they are just as good cold, and are altogether not suitable as a meal replacer. They aren't horribly bad for one, as pumpkin still tops the ingredient list, but they are by no stretch of the imagination low fat or a balanced meal. I have given sweet versions because they were requested by a number of people, and because hand-held single serving pies have always appealed to me.

Savory variations could be done with cut up sausage, chicken, etc., as well as other vegetables. I recommend adding a half teaspoon of fresh thyme or tarragon if you use chicken. Also, there's a Chinese meat pie that utilizes ground beef cooked with chopped onions and curry. That would make a good filling as well. Or consider adding a teaspoon of curry to the pumpkin mixture.

Sweet variations are just as flexible. The benefit of sweet fillings is that they can be tasted prior to baking. So feel free to tweak the mixture until it is just right. Chopped apple can lighten and moisten a filling, while dried fruit will sweeten it and dry it out a bit. Also consider different sweeteners; replace some of the sugar with honey (sweeter than sugar, so use less), or maple syrup or sugar.

And yes, in the end, any of these can be modified to eliminate the pumpkin entirely. Don't like squash? Try sweet potatoes, or simply scale up the meat and vegetables for a heartier meal. How about chopped apples or pears or both, or apples and quince, in the sweet ones? Be flexible, and make what you like. They are your pasties, after all.

Recommendations: RACECAR says You really should use cinnamon w/ the sweet and ginger is good too. -I would use dried, ground ginger, about 1/4tsp. and/or 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Savory fillings and process: makes 12 3"x5" pastries

Basic vegetable mixture which goes into savory pasties: it will probably require less than one of each, for one batch.
a russet or other starchy potato, peeled and chopped small
a turnip (optional, it's good with the beef), peeled and chopped small
an onion, peeled and chopped fine
a carrot (optional), peeled, chopped small. I like to par-cook them, as they can take a long time to cook. Microwaving it for 1 minute, and then letting it cool, is sufficient.

Preheat oven to 425°F and evenly spread the oven racks. Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper. My 12''x18'' pans only fit 9 pasties at a time, so if I'm making only one batch, I bake 6 per sheet to keep the heat as even as possible.

With Beef
0.25 - 0.5 pound sliced or chopped steak (raw; and a good marbled cut will taste best)
2.5 c. cooked squash
a total of 2.5 c. the carrot, onion, potato, turnip mixture
salt (about 1/2 tsp.) and pepper to taste
3 tbsp. butter, cut into 12 pieces.
1 tbsp. flour
Plain
3 c. cooked squash
a total of 3 c. of the carrot, onion, potato mixture, without the turnips (unless you like them, I find them a bit strong without the beef)
1 tsp. fresh sage, chopped (1/2 tsp dry)
salt (about 1/2 tsp) and pepper to taste
3 tbsp. butter, cut into 12 pieces.
1 tbsp. flour

Mix everything but the butter together and fill each round of crust with about half a cup. Make sure to spread it in a crescent so that the corners of the half circle shape have filling as well. Top with a piece of butter.

**Bring up one side of the crust and firmly press the edges together to form a half moon. Press to thin the crust on the edges to 1/8". Crimp it up to form a double seal.

Vent the top of the pastry with a sharp knife. Bipolarbear tells me that there was a tradition of inscribing each pasty with the initials of whoever's lunch it would be. I settle for a "v" for meatless and an "m" for meated, myself. Or a "p" for pumpkin.

You can brush the tops of the pasties with beaten egg to give them a glossy browned finish, but I don't bother.

Bake at 425°F for 15 min., and then reduce the temperature to 350° and bake until golden brown, about 30-40 min.

Remove from the oven, and let them cool on a rack. Cool about 10 minutes prior to eating, and make sure they are completely cool before storing.

With Cheese Meatless, this one is cheesier than the creamy version. Of the two, I prefer this one.
2 c. cooked squash
2 c. sharp cheddar, small cube or shredded (~8oz.)
a total of 2 c. of the carrot, onion, potato mixture, sans neeps
1 tsp. fresh sage
pepper to taste (no salt, the cheese is plenty salty enough)

Mix together, fill and bake as usual (see the beef/plain directions from the **). This one tends to bubble out of the vent. Be sure to use parchment paper.

Creamy, with Cheese Mildy cheesy, with a dense, creamy texture. This one would be particularly good with curry, I think....
3 c. cooked squash
1/2 c. sour cream (yogurt also works)
4 oz. Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese (do not use fat free cream cheese, that's just wrong!)
1 c. sharp cheddar, small cube or shredded (~4oz.)
a total of 2 c. of the carrot, onion, potato mixture w/o the turnips
1 tsp. fresh sage -or- fresh tarragon, chopped (1/2 tsp. dry)
pepper to taste (no salt, the cheese is plenty salty enough)

Mash up the cream cheese with a fork and mix in the sour cream until mostly smooth. Add everything else, mix well, and fill and bake as usual (see the beef/plain directions from the **). The juices have a tendency to ooze out of the vent. Be sure to use parchment paper

Sweet fillings and process: makes 10 3"x5" pastries

Preheat oven to 375°F and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Creamy This, like one of the cheese versions of the savory pasties, uses a cream cheese/sour cream mixture for added richness and tang. The orange zest offsets the sour cream, and gives it a fruitier flavor. It is messier to shape, as it forms a thick batter-like filling.
1.5 c. cooked squash, mashed
3/4 c. sour cream (yogurt also works)
6 oz. neufchatel or cream cheese
1/3 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg -or- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. orange zest, finely grated

Mash up the cream cheese with a fork and mix in the sour cream until mostly smooth. Add everything else and mix well.

Fill the rounds with about a third of a cup of filling, and firmly pinch and crimp the edges. It may be easier to do this while holding the dough round in you hand, holding it like a cone as you pinch more and more of the seam together. DO NOT OVERFILL! If it is difficult to close it without squeezing out filling, take some out. Not only does it make it difficult to close them, but the pastry expands upon cooking. If you overfill them, they will burst. Vent the top with a sharp knife, and bake until golden brown and crisp, about an hour.

Buttery This one is the most pumpkiny of all the pasty variants. Perhaps because it has the most pumpkin! I prefer this version because of the clarity of the pumpkin flavor.
3 c. cooked squash, mashed
1/3 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 c. butter, softened (1 stick)
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
optional: swap out 1/4 c. butter for 1/4 c. heavy cream

Cream the butter and sugar together until soft and thoroughly mixed. Mix together with everything else, and stir briskly until it is evenly combined. The sugar will help disperse the butter, and it will come together as a thick, chunky paste.

Fill the rounds with about a third of a cup of filling, and firmly pinch and crimp the edges. Shape the filling a little to make sure the corners are filled as well. If you do this in a cool room, the butter will firm up a little, and the filling will be very easy to handle. DO NOT OVERFILL! If it is difficult to close it without pinching the filling, take some out. The pastry expands upon cooking, and if you overfill them, they will burst. Vent the top with a sharp knife, and bake until golden brown and crisp, about an hour.

Serving, storage, and re-heating
Let the baked pasties cool for about 10 min. before serving, or they will be painfully hot. Savory pasties are best hot, while the sweet ones are a bit more flexible, and some fillings can taste better cold.

Let finished pasties cool on a wire rack, and wait until they are completely cool before storing them. They are best the first day of course. Refrigerate any which contain meat. You can keep the rest at cool room temperature for 3 days or so. They all can be frozen for up to 2 weeks.

To refrigerate or freeze, they can be placed in a plastic tub, or wrapped in plastic or foil, tightly in the case of freezing. However, to store them at room temperature, it is better to loosely wrap them in foil, cover a plate with a napkin, or put them in a tin. Avoid storing them in a plastic tub, as that will cause the crust to go soggy. Ideally, the container needs to be able to breath a little.

Crisp them back up in a hot oven or toaster oven, especially if they've been refrigerated or are frozen. Also do this to reheat pasties for a nearly fresh-from-the-oven experience. Do not microwave the pasties. It will toughen the crust, as well as make it soggy.


Comments:
La petite mort says re pumpkin pasty : I am not sure if you know this tid-bit of information. The cornish miners bought the pastie with them in the 1850's to Aus and I have eaten savoury tradional ones made to a recipe passed down the cornish side of the family. I have been told that it was the norm to have a sweet end and a savoury end in the one pastie and the the thick ends meant you did not have to wash your hands to eat, just throw the pastry ends away when eaten. The other reason the miners ate them was that the stood up well to being dropped in the mines. This is all family hearsay but I have heard if from other sources as well. I am going to ask my mum for her recipe for you. - Cool!

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