26 August 2011
Petite pasties (pronounced pass-tees, not paste-ees like the va-va-voom kind) are a lot more fiddly than full-size pasties, so I don't make them as often--in fact, only for very special afternoon teas. And I recently had just such an occasion. Five of us British film and television buffs got together for a full day of it--the entire fourth season of Lark Rise to Candleford, episodes interspersed with lots of tea, food and champagne throughout the day.
As much as I loved Lark Rise to Candleford, afternoon tea was the highlight of my day. I had assembled a half-batch of petite pasties the day before and placed them on a half-sheet pan, covered them with foil and put them in the freezer. Two hours before serving, I took the pasties out to thaw. Half an hour before teatime, I popped them in the oven. They could probably be baked frozen; I've just never done it.
These little pasties are not what some of my ancestors carried into the mines of northern England. One (or ten!) of these will not make a meal for a hard-working miner! I make about three per person for afternoon tea (such a Delightful Repast), in addition to several tea sandwiches per person, not to mentions scones and various treats. We ladies work up a good appetite viewing/talking from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.! Comfort food, comfort film, comfort day.
(Makes 36 petite pasties)
1.25 pounds skirt steak, cut into slivers, all fat chunks and membrane removed (leaving 1 pound or so)
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup water
Pastry for Petite Pasties (food processor* method) Make recipe twice.
2 1/2 packed cups (12.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen for 10 minutes
2 tablespoons lemon juice or cider vinegar
Ice water to make 2/3 cup liquid
1 In bottom of double-boiler, bring an inch or so of water (6 cups in mine) to a boil. Hand mince the beef, discarding any gristly or fibrous bits and large hunks of fat. Coat with flour, salt, pepper and marjoram. Place in top of double-boiler. Add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and water. Put lid on pan and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 2 hours, no stirring or checking necessary. No browning, no nothing. Just put the lid on it and forget about it for 2 hours. Really, I mean it, just go away and leave it alone!
2 Allow meat to cool completely before assembling pasties. While cooling, make pastry. Rather than make a huge batch of pastry, I prefer to make it in two batches, making this pastry recipe twice.
3 With metal blade in place, add flour, salt and baking powder to work bowl of food processor. Turn on for three seconds to combine. Add half the frozen butter and process for 10 seconds or until mixture has the consistency of coarse meal. Add remaining butter and pulse for six 1-second pulses, or until the frozen butter is the size of small peas.
4 In 2/3-cup measure, combine lemon juice or vinegar with ice water. Pour over all of flour mixture; pulse for six 1-second pulses or just until dough forms large clumps; do not over-process. (The amount of water you will need depends on your climate and the moisture content of your flour. You may not need to use quite as much water as I do.)
5 Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap (clingfilm) and flatten slightly into a 6-inch square; double wrap; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to three days. (Let thoroughly chilled dough stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling.)
6 Repeat for second batch.
* I have the DLC-10E, which (understandably after all this time--I've had it since I was very young) is no longer available. See Cuisinart DLC-2009CHB Prep 9 9-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless and other currently available models.
7 Working with one batch of dough at a time, on lightly floured 12x24-inch piece of parchment, roll out pastry to 11x22-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Place dough on baking sheets and place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. With the Wilton Comfort Grip Round Cookie Cutter (3 3/8 inches) or other approximately 3 1/2-inch round cutter, cut each rectangle of pastry into 18 rounds.
8 Divide the meat filling in half and work with one batch of pastry at a time. Divide the filling among the 18 rounds, using about 2 teaspoons for each; don't overfill. Fold pastry rounds to form half moons and crimp edges. Brush with beaten egg (if desired) and place on large baking sheet (I use a half-sheet pan). Chill until ready to bake.
9 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Right before the pasties go into the oven, use a fork to make three lines of little holes in the top of each. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden. Serve hot. Pass gravy and Daddy’s or HP Sauce, if desired; but I love them just as they are.