The Fresh Loaf

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Lepard's Ale-Crusted Potato Pasties

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hanseata's picture
hanseata

Lepard's Ale-Crusted Potato Pasties

A few days ago, my lovely stepdaughter, Cat, convinced me to join twitter. As if I didn't spend enough time already on my computer!

But it's fun to follow Dalai Lama (my favorite, whose tweets are not about food, but food for thought), well-known food gurus, like Mark Bittman ("How to Cook Almost Everything" - always good for some environmentally conscious comments) -  or new baking entrepreneur Martina Snetkova ("Cookie Time!") in her heroic fight to establish her little bakery-on-wheels against a big chain cafe who tried to crowd her out of the Bay Area market before she even got started.

And Dan Lepard. When I saw this recipe, I jumped on my bicycle (yes, at the end of November! In Maine!!!) to get local brown ale, sharp cheddar and white onions:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/oct/21/ale-crust-potato-pasty-recipe

Having learned a few tricks by watching the French video on croissants (that somebody here just posted), working with the ale dough was fairly easy. I americanized the potato onion filling a bit by adding some fried bacon. The amount of the filling would have been enough for nine pasties instead of six (my husband will work the surplus into somosas).

This is the result:

The crust was wonderful, and can surely be used for pies crusts, too. Smaller versions would be great finger food at parties.

Here ist my adaptation of the recipe (with a reduced amount of filling - enough for the six pasties):

 

ALE-CRUST POTATO PASTIES (6)

DOUGH
325 g bread flour, plus extra for rolling
175 g spelt flour, or whole wheat (I used spelt)
10 g salt, (2 tsp.)
300 g cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm (0.4") cubes
250 ml Newcastle Brown Ale, or similar (I used Bar Harbor Thunderhole Ale)
 
FILLING
2 slices bacon, cubed
265 g white onions, chopped
¼ tsp. salt
15 ml olive oil
65 g water
salt and pepper, to taste
50 ml heavy cream
350 g potato, cooked and diced
70 g sharp cheddar, grated
egg, lightly beaten , for egg wash

 

1. For the dough: Stir together flours and salt. Toss butter cubes through flour mix. Pour in beer and mix to rough lump (the butter pieces will still be visible).

2. Transfer dough to floured worktop and roll out ca. 1 cm (0.4") thick. Fold it like a business letter, roll it out and fold it again into thirds. Wrap dough package in plastic foil and freeze it for 30 minutes to firm. Repeat this double rolling and folding 2 x more at 30-minute intervals. Chill the dough for 1 hour.

3. For the filling: In a saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Using slotted spoon, take out bacon bits, place on piece of paper towel, and set aside.

4. Add onions, oil, water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Cook until all water has evaporated, and onion is very soft. Stir in cream, let thicken a bit (mixture should not have too much liquid). Remove from heat, add potatoes, season well with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.

5. Divide dough in halves. Return 1 piece to refrigerator. Roll other half into rectangle ca. 23 x 33 cm (9 x 13"), then cut into thirds (using a pizza cutter), each about 23 x 11 cm (9 x 4 1/3").

6. Brush dough stripes with water, spoon filling towards one end, covering about half of piece (leave edges clean, otherwise you can't seal them!), top with bacon and sprinkle with cheese. Fold other half over filling, and seal edges with a fork. Repeat with other pastry sheet. Chill pasties until firm, at least 30 minutes.

7. Preheat oven to 400 F/200 C.

8. Brush pasties with egg wash, and trim cut sides, if necessary. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and slash tops.

9. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate 180 degrees for even browning, and continue baking for another 15 - 25 minutes, until puffed and golden.

 

Comments

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

I just don't need any more items on my "Try this, it looks great" list!  These are going on it though, because the do look just wonderful.  Funny how I've been musing about pasties on and off lately.  I guess I've been in the mood and did not know it.

OldWoodenSpoon

ehanner's picture
ehanner

These look wonderful Hanseata. Looking at your photo closely, am I seeing some kind of meat in there also? Just under the top crust looks like ham or something pork like.

I would like to make these ahead and freeze them for baking later. Do you see a problem with that in appetizer size?

Eric

Franko's picture
Franko

Those pasties look delish Karin!

First time I've seen ale used in a pastry formula. Did it add a noticeable flavour to the dough, or give it any characteristics you wouldn't find in a standard pastry dough? Looks like just the thing to warm me up after one of my own chilly bike rides. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Franko

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Karin,

you can always trust Dan Lepard to come up with fantastic pastry ideas.   I guess the beer may have similar effect to how it behaves in batter [eg for fried fish]: gives crispiness?

Thank you also for ideas about who to follow on Twitter.   Did you catch my post here:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/26086/bbc-food-and-farming-awards-2011

The programme Mark Bittman made for BBC Radio 4 "Food Programme" was a really interesting listen.

All good wishes

Andy

hanseata's picture
hanseata

OldWoodenSpoon, it's never fair to show appetizing photos, I know - but I for one am more inspired to bake something if I have seen a picture before.

And I never fail to buy more cookbooks when I'm fasting.

Happy pasty baking,

Karin

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Eric, I thought the same - I would make them a little smaller next time. The original size is a basically a meal.

I was also wondering whether the dough could be rolled out a little thinner. What you saw in the photo is crust underneath, not ham. It looked a bit underbaked, but didn't taste underbaked, I wasn't quite sure whether the filling was just a little to moist. Next time I would reduce the cream a bit (as I wrote in my recipe adaptation), instead of adding it after the pan is removed from the heat ( in the original recipe).

I froze two of them, wrapped in plastic foil, and placed in a ziplock bag in the freezer. I'm sure they will be fine.

Karin

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Franko, we did like the crust a lot. It had a nice taste, not at all bland, though the beer as ingredient was not distinctly discernible. I think this crust would be great for pies or other sweet pastry, too.

I also found the dough rather forgiving. Since my filling was a bit too moist, and at first I put too much on the dough strips, the seam would not close when I tried crimping it, being all wet, in spite of all my manipulations. But I tried it again after chilling the pasties - and it worked.

And, of course, (since the ale comes in a six pack) it's never wrong to have some brown ale at home.

Happy baking,

Karin

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Yes, Andy, I listened to the show with Bittman, never heard a radio program in the internet before. Very interesting.

I thought that maybe using beer instead of water enhanced flakiness because the alcohol inhibits gluten formation? I have used vodka in pie crusts if they needed more moisture to work with (advice from "Cook's Illustrated"). I noticed that the dough was quite forgiving and attributed it to the beer.

Reading Lepard blog is a bit of torture - you really can't make all those wonderful dishes. I liked the idea of Stollen Bars - it's always difficult to eat a big one down.

I decided not to take my laptop to Mexico (we fly on Monday), I have to wean myself off the internet at least for 2 1/2 weeks.

Are you then a Geordie, too?

Karin

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Karin,

Alison is a true Geordie as she was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, although has spent most of her life in neighbouring Northumberland.

I am actually a Yorkshireman, but I saw sense and moved north to go to university back in the early 1980s!

Does Dan Lepard really use baking powder in his Stollen Bars?   I saw a recipe in this weekend's Guardian magazine for Stollen bars and looked at it in horror!

Best wishes to you

Andy

hanseata's picture
hanseata

You are right, Andy, I didn't realize it before, I only stumbled over the glycerine - never heard of it being used as baking ingredient "to soften the dough"???. That sounds, indeed, really strange.

I traveled with my friend as a student all over England, and loved it. I hope I will have the chance again.

Best wishes,

Karin

EvaB's picture
EvaB

been used for ages in baking, it also adds sweetness and no or not much calories, the sweet in glycerine is not digestable, so it doesn't make you fat, of course it also doens't turn off the sweet craving switch just like corn syrup so its not the best for you!

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Thanks for the clarification, Eva. This confirms my notion that it is not an ingredient I want in my pastries - and I don't like corn syrup either.

And next time my husband finds a hair in the soup I'll offer him a "winder" :)

Karin

EvaB's picture
EvaB

used to have it in them, don't know if its still used, but have you ever read what is in a lot of flavourings, if it says propol.... glycol (can't remember the word exactly) that is the same as antifreeze used to be, they also use it in ice cream (the commercial stuff) so you have things more worrisome than a bit of glycerine.

You can add glycerine somehow to dried flower stems to keep them more pliable and from breaking, I'm not sure exactly how you do it, but am sure one could find it someplace.

Glycerine and rosewater used to be a hand softener, so its useful for lots of things, but I haven't seen many recipes with it in them, but a small amount shouldn't hurt you.

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Karin,
This recipe looks just wonderful and I wondering how that pastry might work using stout instead of ale.
I'll give it a go and try making some of these for appetizers - thanks for writing about these pasties.
Hope you have a wonderful vacation in Mexico - buen y felices viajes!
:^) from breadsong

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Thanks, Breadsong!

I'm sure another beer works as well. I don't even know how Newcastle Brown Ale tastes like, I used our local brew Thunderhole Ale, a brown ale with more hops than I expected, and it worked well. And the Stout and Flaxseed Bread I made (ananda's blog) was very good.

Ole!

Karin

 

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Looks really good!  I'll have to try these!  BTW, you should Photoshop the last pic ...looks like a hair is defiling your beautiful work in the last (end of post) picture (just above and to the left of the date stamp).  Sorry... he heeee...

Brian

 

 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Haha, Brian, no hair in the pasties - and no cat paw print on it either.

Karin

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

4 kids (2 girls w/long hair), a cat, and a very fluffy dog ...I get used to spotting a hair in the food now and then.  I pluck it out and keep my trap shut... haha

Madeline ...aka 'Maddy' ...our long-coat Akita

Brian

 

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

is classed as a condiment in our house!  We don't charge extra for it.
OldWoodenSpoon

EvaB's picture
EvaB

and my mother suffered in silence. He said he got the saying from my dad, his stepfather for a space of time. The expression was pass the winder! It was annoying, my mother always said if it was in the food as opposed to on it, it was sterilized with the heat! Don't know how she explained it in salads.

wassisname's picture
wassisname

These look delicious, Karin!  Perfect for a chilly fall day.  A freezer full of these could be just the thing for a long, Maine winter.

Marcus

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Marcus, when I think of the crocuses in Hamburg blooming in March, I definitely need some warming comfort food in Maine, when the city snow plough just pushed large ice shoals in front of our driveway and we have to shovel AGAIN.

Karin

 

jackie9999's picture
jackie9999

I've been making these since you posted them. They are amazingly good! Now that fall is creeping upon us here in Canada I thought of them again..so have a batch in process in my fridge and a pot of split pea soup on the stove. Dinner is going to be superb tonight and I just wanted to thank you, Karin.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

And it's good that you remind me of this nice recipe again. As you say, fall is creeping up, even though we had a long, glorious summer here in Maine, the leaves are only just turning.

I was very sorry to learn that Dan Lepard ends his food column in the "Guardian" - I checked each weekend for his newest creations.

Karin

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

some of then home smoked bacon will go now that the temperature is in the 90's and puff paste should be possible in the morning,.

I do have a question Karin - Do the fried bacon clunks go back in with the potatoes or sprinkled in with the cheese or does it matter since the bacon usually gets totally eaten while the rest of the recipe comes together?

Nice pastys!

hanseata's picture
hanseata

The bacon is sprinkled with the cheese over the filling (or mix it in just before assembling the pasties.) I edited my post accordingly.

I wonder whether you can resist the urge to add some seeds???

Karin

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

bacon doesn't have seeds but with a little genetic engineering you never know a bacon tree might be in our children's future.  Personally, I'm voting for a money tree first :-) 

Lucy reminds me there are quite a few seeds used in the cure and rub for bacon that might fit into this mix.....