Like quite a few of you, we’ve been following the Great British Bake Off and marvelling at some of the delicacies they come up with – last week’s Swedish Princess Cake for example, looked magnificent! (It involves a layer of sponge, topped with jam, topped with pastry cream, topped with whipped cream and covered in marzipan) And like some of you, we’ve found it hugely inspiring – both by giving us ideas for our own cooking and also motivating us to try things that we ordinarily shy away from. And as the days get chillier, September seems like the perfect month to start thinking about recipes that take a little more time to cook and a little more time to eat!
Case in point – this week’s squash and goat’s cheese pasties. For some reason, making pastry makes us nervous. How are you supposed to know when the dough is just right? Is it supposed to be sticky or dry? What’s the difference between under-kneading and over-kneading? Why is there flour everywhere? And how long are you supposed to bake it for? (And how many miles will you have to walk to burn it all off after eating? Sorry just us.)
Luckily, we recently bought Leith’s How To Cook recipe book and it sets out all of the steps for quite a few techniques – not just pastry dough. It even tells you what to do when the butter leaks out of the dough as you’re rolling it and forces you to refrigerate the dough a couple of times – probably anticipating that the cook will over-handle it. If you’re looking for a modern version of Delia’s Complete Cookery Course, this is probably it – though someone needs to tell us where we’re supposed to find pigeon. But there’s no need to worry whether you’re middle-class enough for this book, the step-by-step tutorials make it absolutely worth it. (Though avoid making the hummus – they’ve left out the tahini.)
Originally, we envisioned this recipe as being our version of empanadas de Calabaza, but we were so motivated by this book that we thought we would use a rough puff pastry instead. And of course, the pastries came out looking undeniably like distinctly British squash and goat’s cheese pasties. But you won’t be disappointed, these are delish!
Makes 15 pasties
1 quantity rough puff pastry
100g butternut squash, cut into 2-inch cubes
150g goat’s cheese
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
egg wash (1 egg, whisked with a fork)
- Prepare rough puff pastry according to the Leiths recipe (as set out here). Chill until needed.
- Lay out the cubes onto a lined baking sheet. Drizzle oil all over the squash and bake in oven at 200C (fan-assisted) for 20 minutes until soft. Then take out of the oven and set aside to cool.
- In a frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil. The fry the cumin for 1-2 minutes on medium heat. (Don’t let it burn!)
- In a mixing bowl, then mash the squash roughly with a fork. Add the goat’s cheese, cumin, cinnamon and salt and mix thoroughly.
- Take out the chilled dough and roll out to about 3-4mm thickness. Using a pastry cutter (ours is 9cm), cut out circles of dough. Using up all the dough, we ended up with 15 circles.
- In the second half of each circle, add 1 tsp of the squash/goat’s cheese filling. Be careful not to put too much otherwise it’ll leak during the baking. You might end up with leftover filling but that’s okay!
- Brush some of the egg wash on the “half moon” border of the filling on each circle. Fold the top half of each circle over he filling to create a pasty shape. Place on a greased baking sheet and brush with egg wash.
- Refrigerate the baking sheet for 30 minutes until the pasties are completely firm.
- Bake the pasties for 20 minutes at 180C (fan-assisted) until golden. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for a few days.
So what do you think? Feel free to share your questions and comments below! We’d love to hear what you have to say.