Monday, September 21, 2009

Pasties (Meat Pies)

Pasties are one of my favorite grab-n-go meals. It's like a tiny steak dinner in your hand. As I mentioned before, every time I make them I am reminded of my childhood.
This "recipe" has been handed down from my grandmother. Although she used suet in her pie dough and I never learned to apply that ingredient, the outcome is still fabulous.  These are not the same as the gravy-laden pasties you can find at an English Pub. These are drier, but lend themselves to be eaten hot or cold.  I really don't have a preference!

Since the crust for these should be fairly sturdy, don't panic if you haven't worked much with pie dough. This is a great start as overworking the dough a little will make it tough, but will be just fine to hold up to the handling and weight of the filling.

Pasties (meat pies)

Makes about 15

4 medium baking potatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
1 round steak, fat trimmed and cut into small cubes
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
salt & pepper
1 Egg, slightly beaten

Savory Pie dough, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the cut potatoes, onions, and steak into their own  bowls. Season the meat with garlic, salt and pepper.

Roll pie dough until it is 1/4" thick. Cut large circles, 3 1/2"-4" in diameter, in an even amount.  On one circle, layer potatoes, meat, and onion leaving about 1/4"-1/2" edge. Flatten a second circle so it is just slightly larger than the first. Cover the filling and seal the edges with a fork. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. When baking sheet is full (approx. 6-8 per 1/2 sheet size), brush with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Make a little vent slice at the top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown.

Let rest for 5 minutes before removing from pans.
Try not to burn your fingers or tongue when taking the first bite!

Savory Pie Dough
From Julia Child's Baking with Julia

5 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 TBSP salt
1 1/2 (6 oz) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 3/4 (11 oz) solid vegetable shortening, chilled
1 cup ice water

Using a mixer with paddle attachment: Put the flour and salt into the bowl and stir to mix.  Add the butter and mix on low until it is cut into the dry ingredients and the mixture looks coarse and crumbly.  Ad the shortening in small bits and continue to mix on low. When the mixture is clumpy and curdy and holds together when a small bit is pressed between your fingers, add the water and mix only until it is incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold it over on itself two or three times, just to finish the mixing and to gather it together.

To make dough by hand:  Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and using a pastry blender cut it into the flour until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Break up the shortening and add it in bits to the bowl. Still working with the pastry blender, cut in te shortening until the mixture has small clumps and curds. Switch to a wooden spoon and add the ice water, stirring to incorporate it. Turn the dough onto a work surface and fold it over on itself a few times. The dough will be soft but will firm up in the refrigerator.

Chilling the dough:  Divide into 2 disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours or for as long as 5 days.

Dough can be kept in the refrigerator for 5 days or frozen for 1 month. It's a good idea to diide the dough into quarters for freezing since one quarter of the recipe is generally enough for one pie crust or tart shell. Defrost, wrapped, in the refrigerator.

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