POTATO-MUSHROOM PASTY

I love hand-pies, be they piroshkis, beureg, empanadas, potstickers, or pasties. They’re perfect for an on-the-go nosh and picnics, as well as at-home eating.

Yes, they’re a little bit of work since you have to roll out individual dough circles, fill them, and fold them. But prepare them in an assembly-line fashion and/or get a helper or two, and you’ll have them done in no time.

I prefer a hot-water crust for my pasties, but if you have a crust you like better, use that.

You may notice that I don’t refer to my pasties as CORNISH pasties. They take their pasties very seriously in Cornwall and have a list of rules that must be followed in order to use the term, ‘Cornish’. Two of the rules that I will never be able to follow are that they be prepared in Cornwall, and they are made with meat. Oh, well! A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. And my Potato-Mushroom Pasties are delicious!!!

POTATO-MUSHROOM PASTY – makes 6

Filling

  • 140 g (4.75 oz) shiitake mushrooms
  • 190 g (6.5 oz) onions
  • 260 g (10.25 oz) waxy potatoes (such as Yukon gold)
  • 1.25 tsp vegetarian Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75 g (2.5 oz) sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

Dough – makes 6 discs, 20cm/8in diameter

  • 400 g (14 oz) (3 cups) bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 173 g (12 T) butter, cold & cut into 12 or more slices
  • 166 ml (2/3 cup + 1 T) very hot water

Egg Wash: beat 1 egg with 1 T water

Make the filling first: Chop the shiitakes and onions into 2.5 cm/1/2″ pieces. Cut the potatoes into .25 cm/1/8 in thick slices, then chop these up into small pieces. Mix the shiitakes, onions, potatoes, Worchestershire sauce, salt, and cheese in a bowl. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 200° C/400° F.

Prepare the hot water crust once the oven is preheating and the filling is mixed: Into your food processor put the flour and salt. Pulse 1 or 2 times. Scatter the butter into the flour and pulse until you don’t see any large blobs of butter – about 8 pulses.

Pour in the hot water all at once. Pulse to incorporate the water. You should be able to form a soft, pliable ball. Add a tsp at a time of water if the dough seems too dry. Don’t worry if it’s too wet – you’ll be adding flour when you roll out the circles.

Lightly flour a flat surface and empty dough onto it. Knead the dough 3 or 4 times to bring it together. Cut into 6 equal pieces and roll into balls. Keep them covered until you roll them. One at a time, roll a ball into about a 14 cm/5.5″ circle.

You’re going to roll the dough into a final 20 cm/8″ circle, but rather than placing the rolling pin on the center and rolling outward, place it a little closer to the side it’s going toward and roll. (This keeps the center of the circle from getting too thin, which can allow leakage in the oven.) Try to make them as circular as you can, but don’t stress too much (you’ll be folding up the edges which will hide small imperfections.) You can use a 20cm/8″ template (such as a plate) and cut around it, if you like, but I can’t be bothered.

Keep the dough circles covered after you roll them out to prevent them from drying.

Divide the filling equally between the 6 circles. Place the filling mostly on one side of the circle, leaving a border of 2 cm/.75 in. Cover the dough circles you’re not working with with a tea towel so they don’t dry out. Working with one pasty at a time, dip your finger or a pastry brush in the egg wash and wet the border. (This will act as a glue to seal the sides together.)

Carefully fold the dough in half, making sure the filling stays 2 cm/.75″ from the edge. Firmly press the border together so it’s completely sealed. Fold both corners in.

With your non-dominant hand, hold down the folded corner with your index finger. With your dominant hand, grasp the dough next to the fold and fold that in, pressing down. Continue along the entire border. The idea is to form a ropelike crimp. I’ve never managed to get that look, but I’m happy with my version. Find your own way, if you like. The point is to seal in the filling.

Lay the folded and crimped pasties on a parchment lined or greased baking sheet.

Once all the pasties are formed, paint the exposed surfaces generously with the egg wash.

Using a knife, make 2 slits in the top near the fold to allow steam to escape.

Place in the preheated 200° C/400° F oven on the middle rack. Bake until well-browned – 30-35 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool slightly before eating.