It’s this time of year that always seems magical. Trees have an abundance of Autumnal toned leaves, as they tumble around like confetti on the breeze, swooning in swathes wherever they land. Late blooming flowers appear, their vibrant blossoms adding some freshness to the greenery that remains. Although it’s November, the sun shines just as brightly as in earlier months, spilling spectacular shades across the skies as it arrives & departs each day.
It’s also a great time of year for those comforting dishes, the ones that really hit the spot when you need it. Sumptuously slow-cooked stews, deeply filled fruit pies & crisp flaky pastries. We all have our favourites, especially those childhood dishes that evoke fond memories of deliciousness. The mere mention of puff pastry takes me to a stool in my Mum’s kitchen, watching her create all kinds of pastry treats & especially savoury pasties. She would make shortcrust pastry ones, filled with her heavenly homemade stew (our version of a Cornish pasty). Leftovers would be lovingly wrapped in fabulously flaky pastry parcels, deliciously warm & comforting. And then there were my favourites – crisp buttery puff pastry packed with mashed potatoes, cheese & onion. There would always be some mashed potatoes leftover from the previous night’s dinner, just enough to make a few pasties for lunch the next day.
Now you all know that I prefer homemade puff pastry (all butter & no unnecessary ingredients!), but we don’t always have the time. This recipe is one that was passed on to me & one I make often for both savoury & sweet treats. It’s a faster flaky pastry with all the buttery crispness of puff pastry, but takes much less time to make. Also, don’t worry about special pastry cutters or equipment. All you need is a small side plate or saucer & a sharp knife. You should get eight good sized pasties from this recipe, so plenty to go around. Ready to bake it happen? Hands washed, aprons on & here we go!
What you need:
For the Pastry:
8oz Self-Raising Flour (plus additional for dusting your worktop)
5oz Salted Butter, cold from the fridge or at least chilled so it’s firm
100ml Cold Water
1 large Egg, beaten (for glazing the pasties)
1/2oz Melted Butter (for the tin)
For the Filling:
Approx. 8oz Potatoes, peeled & chopped into small chunks
1 tablespoon Semi-Skimmed Milk
1/2 a teaspoon Sea Salt
4oz Cheese, grated (I use whatever I have in the fridge)
1 medium Red Onion, finely chopped
Freshly ground Black Pepper & a little Sea Salt
Fresh Thyme leaves (just a couple of sprigs)
What to do:
First, let’s make the pastry. Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces, dropping them directly into the flour.
Using your fingertips, rub the butter chunks into the flour a little – we don’t want it like fine breadcrumbs, more like a rough rubble texture with plenty of lumps. This is just breaking down the butter a bit to make rolling easier.
Using a round ended knife, stir the water into the flour mixture to form a soft dough – the bowl should be clean when you’ve finished.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured worktop & shape into a rough rectangle. Dust your rolling pin to stop it sticking & roll out the pastry until about half a centimetre thick.
Fold into thirds (fold one end into the middle, then the other over the top), turn it 90 degrees, then roll again (remember to re-dust your work surface to stop it sticking). Repeat this once more, then very loosely wrap in a sheet of greaseproof paper & place in the fridge for about 15 minutes or so. This will allow it to rest & the layers to form.
While the pastry is resting, make the mashed potatoes. Fill the kettle with water & put it on to boil. Cut the potatoes into small chunks, about a centimetre (this will help them cook faster) & chuck in a deep saucepan.
Add the sea salt & carefully tip on the boiling water from the kettle (no standing around waiting for the pan to heat up), just enough water to cover the potatoes. Put the lid on & simmer for about 8-10 minutes, until soft enough to cut easily. Drain well into a colander over the sink. Give the empty pan a quick wipe with a cloth to remove any moisture, then tip the potatoes back into the pan, ready for mashing.
Add the semi-skimmed milk & butter, then get mashing! It’s up to you how mashed you want them (personally, I prefer a bit of texture to my mash & always use a manual hand-held masher). Leave to cool with the lid off (don’t be tempted to put the lid on, as it forms condensation & you’ll end up with watery spuds).
While the mash is cooling, pre-heat the oven to 220*C & prepare your baking tray. Line it with a sheet of greaseproof paper, lightly brushed with the melted butter (the butter will add colour & crispness to the underside of the pasties as they bake).
Add the finely chopped onions & grated cheese to the potatoes, along with a little seasoning & a sprinkling of Thyme leaves. Give everything a good stir & have a quick taste to make sure you’re happy with the filling (this takes restraint, because I could just eat it from the pan at this stage). Set aside.
By now, your pastry will be ready to roll. Lightly flour your work surface & rolling pin, then roll out the pastry to about half a centimetre in thickness. Make sure it’s nice & even, but don’t worry about being too precise.
Place your saucer or plate on the pastry, cutting neatly around the edge & repeat until you have cut out as many as you can. Where you have leftover pieces of pastry, place them on top of each other, reshape & roll out again. Sometimes, I’ll just shape these last ones with my fingers rather than cutting them out again (trust me, it will all be fine once they’re baked).
Take one of the circles & roll lightly from top to bottom, to make a more oval shape. Place a couple of spoonfuls of the potato mixture onto the lower half of the pastry, leaving about a centimetre edge of pastry uncovered. Repeat until you have all your pasties made.
Brush a little beaten egg around the edge of the pastry & fold the top half of the pastry over, pressing the edges together to seal in your filling. From one corner of the pasty, gradually squish the edges together to form a crust, finishing at the other corner. Lift onto your prepared baking tray, prick holes with a fork in the top. Repeat this step, until you have all your pasties made.
Brush them well with the beaten egg & sprinkle on a little black pepper (or grated cheese if you like). Bake in the centre of the oven for about 25-30 minutes until gorgeously golden topped & piping hot.
Place on a cooling rack for a few minutes – even if you’re eating them warm, they will be like the surface of the sun right now & melt your mouth. While they’re cooling a little, grab a few crisp salad leaves or some chunky chips (or both), pile them on a plate & tuck in!
Fabulously flaky pastry, filled with fluffy cheesy potatoes & crisp red onion, these delicious savoury pasties are perfect for a light lunch or lazy supper. If you do have any leftover pasties, they can be frozen once completely cooled & reheated when you fancy one (pop them in the oven at 200*C, for about 15-20 minutes until piping hot again).
These delicious pasties also make fabulous flaky finger-foods, great for picnics & parties – just make smaller nibble-sized ones & add a spicy tomato dip for dunking! I use my tomato sauce recipe for meatballs & add a pinch of cayenne to give it a kick (recipe link here: https://hopeyourehungry.co.uk/having-a-ball/). Next time you have a cheesy comfort food craving, try my easy cheesy mashed potato pasties! Stay hungry! Aimee 😉 x