Wednesday, January 26, 2011

butternut squash and parmesan pasties

I knew that these empanada-like things are called "pasties" in the UK, but the word still makes me think of strippers. Ah well.

Anyway, these are kind of awesome. Don't be put off by the dough -- which is really easy to make -- because this actually is pretty quick to put together, and it looks and tastes like something you'd get in a restaurant. Mm.

Also, I used a butternut squash I'd already roasted... I have a hard time believing these spend long enough in the oven to fully cook the squash, but the rest of the recipe worked fine, so maybe so. But this is also a great use of leftover roasted squash.

Makes 2 large or 4 small pasties (I got six or seven, using a salad plate as a guide to cut them out)

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
6-8 tablespoons ice water

8 ounces butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
1 medium red onion, diced [I used regular]
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon finely chopped sage [I used some dried]
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted [I skipped]

Sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper (or black)
1 egg, beaten

To make dough
Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or knife, cut butter into flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. [I just did this with my fingers.]

Add 1 tablespoon of ice water at a time, gently tossing between additions, until the dough just holds together. Shape dough into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

Before rolling out the dough, let it soften slightly so that it is malleable but still cold. On a lightly floured surface, roll it out to 1/8-inch thick. Cut out circles using a plate or bowl as a guide.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

To make pasties
In a large bowl, combine butternut squash, onion, garlic, sage, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts. [I'd also put the salt and pepper into this step.]

Spoon mixture over half of each dough round, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle well with salt and pepper.

Moisten the edges of the dough with beaten egg. With cool hands, fold the pastry over and crimp the edges. (Use any crimping technique you like, just make sure it is well sealed. For the traditional Cornish method, see this YouTube video.) Cut a small slit in the top of each pasty. Brush all over with beaten egg.

Bake until golden and cooked through, about 40 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

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