OUTBACK GOURMET: PERFECT PASTIES
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When I was a kid I remember there was a German baker who had a bakehouse in Margaret River. Every Saturday when Mum and Dad went shopping we would go there for our lunch.
Sadly I failed with the typical Aussie love of the meat pie and my affections were firmly directed to the pasties.
There was just something about those fat, golden, flaky half-moon shaped packages of deliciousness that kept me going back every time.
I have no idea what it was but that baker is solely responsible for my irresistible urge to now try a pastie at every bakery I pass… thankfully there are not that many in my area. It must be the combination of meat and vegetables, spices and flaky pastry that have set up my lifelong love of the humble pastie.
In my search to find the perfect pastie I have come close only once – and not being able to have ready access to it, I have come up with my own very passable version.
Take the pastry from the freezer and remove a couple of layers to thaw.
Place all filling ingredients and a generous amount of pepper into a large bowl; then, with your hands, massage well until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Flatten the mixture down in the bowl and, with your hand or a knife, evenly divide the mixture into eight portions.
Leave the pastry on the plastic backing sheet and mark it out (using the plate as a guide) with a knife; and remove the excess pastry from the edges.
Wet a 1cm edge of the pastry circle; then take one portion of filling and place it on one half of the pastry circle, leaving a 1cm edge for crimping.
Using the plastic backing, fold the pastry over the filling and press the edges down until you have a sealed half-moon shape.
Crimp the edges with a fork and wipe a bit of water over the top; and grind just a small amount of pepper on top.
Place two at a time on a tray and bake in the camp oven, caravan oven or home oven at about 180°C for roughly half an hour or until the pastry is golden brown and perfectly puffed.
The last two pasties will have to be made by moulding the cut-off bits of pastry into a ball and rolling it out flat with a rolling pin to make the pastry discs. Enjoy!
Tip. Make sure there is even heat on the top and bottom of the camp oven, and place the coals on the lid only around the outer edge so there is a bald spot in the middle.
Tip. Sprinkle sesame seeds or poppy seeds on the pastie just before baking (instead of pepper).
1 x 6-pack of ready-rolled puff pastry
500g of sausage meat
1 carrot, finely diced
1 potato, finely diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 celery sticks, finely diced
1 cup of peas, or peas and corn
Fresh ground black pepper
1 cup of water for
wetting pastry edges
1 fork for crimping pastry edges
Trays that will fit into your camp oven, home oven or caravan oven
1 medium sized side plate to mark out the pastry shape