There are two kinds of Pasties. One is the self-adhesive variety that dancers wear on stage. Not classically trained dancers. The other kind. They may be purchased in the same establishments that sell 6 inch platform heels and miniscule under-garments. This kind is pronounced paste-ee, which rhymes with tasty, although I am pretty sure they aren’t.
The other kind of Pastie is a meat pie and is pronounced passed-e, which rhymes with fast-ee. It is a very simple meat and vegetable filling, wrapped in a pastry crust and baked. Most cultures have one or more varieties of the meat pie. In Latin countries, it is called the Empanada. In Canada and Belgium it is called a Tortiere In the United States we call them Pot Pies. In Greece, they are called Kreatopita. In India and in food trucks across America, you can buy Somosas.
The sort that we are considering today is the Cornish Pastie, or Pasty. Originating in Cornwall, England, the pastie is really, really, old, and is referenced in texts as early as 1100. The Pastie was designed to travel. It is sturdy, and is most often served at room temperature, making it a perfect dish to make ahead and carry with you to your destination. It is popular in England, Australia, and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Traditionally, the filling is basic and simple. Some potato, perhaps a little turnip or rutabaga, and cubed bits of meat, seasoned simply and baked in a crust. Rustic, tasty, and very austere. I wouldn’t be me though if I didn’t add a bit of Texan flair to such a dish. A little sweet, and a little heat. They are traditionally made into meal sized pies, but small ones make fun appetizers. Also, the filling is typically not cooked prior to baking, but I like the caramelized flavor that browning the meat gives. Food snobs might argue that I have disrespected the Pastie, made it something that a Pastie wasn’t intended to be. I say, let’s call it Texas Fusion and move on with it.
Texan Fusion Pastie
For the Filling
- 2 pounds beef or pork loin, or a combination of the two
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- ½ cup diced sweet red onion
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 cup finely diced sweet potato
- 1 cup finely diced russet potato
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- ¼ cup beer
- juice of one lime
Cut the meat into small dice. Salt and pepper and place in a hot skillet that has been coated with the olive oil. Cook until starting to brown. Add the garlic, onion, potatoes, and jalapeno. Continue to cook until meat is nicely browned, and the pan juices have evaporated. Add beer and lime juice to deglaze the pan. Allow to cook for a few minutes more, until the beer has mostly evaporated. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
For the Pastry
- 6 cups flour
- 2 cups lard or mixed shortening
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
Cut together flour, shortening, sugar and salt until it resembles small peas. Beat the egg and combine with water and vinegar. Add to flour mixture, and stir just until moistened and a soft dough is formed. DO NOT over handle, or the dough will become tough. Break off a piece of dough the size of a grapefruit. Roll out on a floured surface to desired size and thickness for your intended use. See below.
- 2 beaten eggs
- ¼ cup water
For miniature pasties, roll out to 1/8” or thinner. Cut circles out of your dough using a 3” bisquit cutter. Place one teaspoon of filling in the center. Brush the outer edges with beaten egg mixture. Bring pastry edges up to meet in the middle (like a taco), and gently press and crimp the edges to seal. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Using a fork or small knife, cut a few vent holes in each side for steam to escape. Brush remaining egg wash over outside of pastie. Bake in center of oven at 375* until golden brown.
For regular sized pasties: roll out to between 1/8” and ¼” thickness. Cut 8 inch circles of dough using an 8” cardboard circle, plate, or spring-form pan as your guide. Brush edges with egg mixture. Place ½ cup of filling in the center of the dough, and finish using the above directions. Brush remaining egg wash over outside of pastie. Bake in center of oven at 375* until golden brown.
Serve with Charred Pineapple Habanero Sauce
Charred Pineapple Habanero Sauce
- 1 Pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced ¼” thick
- 1 Habanero, or scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and halved
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1” pieces
- 1/c cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- ¼ cup mild flavored honey
- ¼ cup rum
Line a jelly roll pan with foil, and spray liberally with cooking spray. Arrange pineapple over the pan, and place in the middle of the oven. Broil until starting to char on tops. Remove from oven, turn over the pineapple, and broil the other side.
Remove pineapple and place in a food processor with the Habanero, cilantro, and bell peppers. Pulse for a few seconds, until finely chopped, but not pureed.
Place the mixture, with all remaining ingredients into a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook down until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Serve with pork, seafood, or poultry, or as a dip for meatballs and similar appetizers.