Pickle Pasties

Pickle Pasties
Wotchers!

I’m a big fan of minimalist recipes – three or four ingredients that work perfectly together and need no embellishment. So hot on the heels of the recent three-ingredient recipes, I have another recipe which will surprise and delight in equal measure.

As some of you may recall, my search for the delicious knows no bounds, and I frequently find myself on blogs and message boards in far flung places. Recently, it was Russia, where I found multiple variations on a theme of Tasty Stuff Wrapped In Bread Dough™. Amongst them was a version of the recipe I have for you today, with a filling of onion, potato and pickled gherkins.

No, wait!

Come back!

It’s delicious, I promise!!

The potato provides body, the onion savouriness and the pickles both crunch and zing. Using yeast dough instead of pastry keeps it low in fat, although you absolutely can use rich, buttery, puff pastry to add a level of luxury.

I’ve opted for wholemeal flour, but white is also fine, as are any other favourite yeast doughs.

Perfect for packed lunches and picnics, substantial without being heavy, they are also both vegetarian and vegan (depending on your bread recipe). They are also a proportional recipe – another of my favourites – so you can make as much or as little as you like. Perfect for small test batches.

I do hope you’ll give them a try – you might be pleasantly surprised.

Pickle Pasties

risen bread dough
2 parts cooked baked potato (warm)
1 part pickled gherkins (crisp and whole)
1 part chopped onion

  • Remove the cooked potato from the skins and mash. You can use a ricer, but don’t go too fine and sieve it, as the filling needs the bulk of the potato to avoid collapsing during baking.
  • Weigh the potato, and then portion out half its weight in pickled gherkins and onion. Slice the gherkins in half lengthways and each piece lengthways in half again. Cut into 1cm pieces. Chop the onion into similarly-size pieces as the gherkins.
  • Heat a little oil in a pan and add the chopped onions. Sprinkle with a little salt (the pickles are also salty) and black pepper. Cook just until the onions have softened, without letting them take on any colour. Set aside to cool, then mix with the potatoes and pickles. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Roll out the dough and fill as you would pastry for regular pasties. Be sure to seal the edges tightly and fold/crimp if liked. Trim off any excess dough and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Poke two vent holes in the top of the pasties with the tip of a sharp knife.
  • When the last pasty is ready, set aside to rise for ten minutes and heat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan. The short rise time will help the baked pasties hold the filling snugly: in the heat of the oven, the outsides of the dough will bake first and harden, leaving the only direction for the dough to expand as inwards, around the filling. A traditional-length rise would mean ending up with gaps between the dough and the filling.
  • For a rich, golden colour to your finished pasties, brush the dough ith beaten egg. For a vegan finish, dust with flour, which will help keep the dough from becoming too crusty.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the pasties (small/large), until well browned on top and starting to brown underneath.
  • Wrap in a clean cloth (if a soft crust is preferred – I do) and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Scone Eggs

Scone Eggs

Wotchers!

Scotch Eggs are delicious, I think we can all agree that that is fact. Alas, they are also usually deep fried, and can thus be prone to being either overcooked or dry, or greasy or, heaven forfend, all three. Something needed to be done!

Behold  my new creation – The Scone Egg™!

Everything you love about scones and Scotch eggs in a single, warm, comforting bundle of deliciousness!

These are also a natural progression from some savoury scone variations I included in MY BOOK </subtle>. If you’ve got a copy[1], you will find the scone recipe on page 248. A couple of pages later, there are some suggestions for customising a basic scone recipe. The savoury scones are very popular with The Lads that look after my car, at my local garage[2].

What started out as an attempt to combine all the deliciousness from a Breakfast Sandwich into a scone, took a bit of a detour and here we are at Scone Eggs! Soft, crumbly scone, spicy sausage, an egg that is still runny in the middle[3],  and no deep frying!

These are ideal for brunch, either as is, or you could go completely over the top and combine them with all the fixin’s for Eggs Benedict. *dabs drool from keyboard*

To ensure a liquid center to your egg, they should be boiled for no longer than 5 minutes. This makes them a little tricky to peel, but if you follow the instructions below, you will be blessed with a much lower egg ruination rate. Alternatively, go for hardboiled eggs and make the whole process altogether less fiddly, and which would also make them more sturdy and therefore suitable for picnics, etc.

You will need some small individual pudding bowls to bake them in – I use foil ones like this – which can stand several uses with careful washing between bakes.

The key to baking a light scone is, as ever, the speed with which you can get them into the oven after adding the liquid to the dry ingredients, whilst avoiding being too rough with the dough. Have everything ready – eggs boiled and cooled, foil cases oiled – and your oven at temperature before stirring in the liquid and you should be able to have them in the oven in about 5 minutes.

Scone Eggs

Makes 4-6

I’ve specified more eggs, just in case there are cracks or breakages when removing the shell. In addition, depending on how thickly you wrap the scone mixture around the egg, you may get up to 6 Scone Eggs  from this recipe. Or not. But you will most definitely get four.

6-8 large eggs

1 x 400g pack of good-quality sausages[4]
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp coarse ground black pepper
½-1 tsp dried thyme
½-1 tsp dried oregano
½-1 tsp dried sage
¼ tsp celery seed
¼ tsp red pepper flakes

225g plain flour
30g unsalted butter
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp cream of tartar
1 large egg
½ tsp salt
80ml plain yogurt
80ml milk

1 large egg for glazing

  • Prepare the eggs.
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer (this will help keep the eggs from cracking).
  • Add the eggs, gently lowering them into the water with a spoon. Allow them to cook for 5 minutes, then drain the water and cool them in cold water. The eggs will be easiest to peel once completely cold, so either add some ice or more cold water if necessary. For hardboiled eggs, cook for 10-12 minutes.
  • Once the eggs are completely cold, remove the shell. I won’t go into just how many eggs I went through in the development of this recipe, but let us just say it was substantial and resulted in the method outlined below:
    • Take a teaspoon and with the back of the spoon, tap around the ‘equator’ of the egg, making sure the shell breaks into small pieces.
    • Then use the back of the spoon to break the shell around each end of the egg.
    • With the point of a sharp knife, break away the shell from the ‘equator’ region, until you can peel both shell and skin away together, preferably still attached to one another. This is key in removing the shell smoothly and successfully. Sometimes bits of the shell will drop away leaving the skin intact. Use the point of the knife to break through until you can hold shell and skin together between your fingertips.
    • Once you can hold both skin and shell together, peel around the middle of the egg, then peel each end.
    • Lay the peeled egg carefully on a plate – its soft middle will mean it doesn’t hold its shape entirely, but enough until you’re ready to wrap the scone mixture around.
  • Prepare the sausage
    • Remove the skin from the sausages and put the meat into a frying pan over medium heat.
    • Sprinkle with pepper, salt, herbs and spice to taste.
    • Using a spatula, break up the sausage meat as it cooks.
    • Continue chopping and turning the meat until cooked through. Set aside to cool.
    • When cold, tip the cooked sausage into the bowl of a food processor and blitz very briefly to break up any large chunks. You don’t want it as fine as breadcrumbs, but at the same time no piece larger than about 1cm.
    • Set aside.
  • Make the scone mix.
    • Preheat the oven to 220°C, 200°C Fan.
    • Put the flour, butter, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, salt and egg into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs.
    • Tip the mixture into a bowl.
    • Weigh out 200g of cooked sausage meat and add to the scone ingredients. Stir through.
    • Whisk the milk and yogurt together.
    • Check you’ve got everything to hand to get the scones into the oven, pudding tins greased, egg for glazing whisked, pastry brush handy, oven hot, etc.
    • Using a rounded knife, gradually add the milk mixture, stirring the dry ingredients as you go. You might not need all of the liquid, depending on the moisture in the sausage, so proceed cautiously – you can still bake an overly moist scone mixture, but it might slip off the egg before it is fully cooked.
    • When the mixture has come together, tip out onto a floured surface. With floured hands, roughly shape it into a circle, then divide it into quarters.
    • For each egg, do the following:
      • Take a piece of dough and place it in the palm of your left hand.
      • Use your thumb and fingers to shape a hole or pocket into the dough. Be careful not to press the dough too thin – it should be 1.5-2cm thick.
      • Take one boiled egg and place it into the pocket.
      • Mould the scone dough around the egg until it is smoothly covered. Pinch off any excess dough and put on one side. You will end up with sufficient dough to wrap another 1 or 2 eggs.
      • Decide which end of the scone is smoothest and then drop the moulded scone into a buttered pudding tin, smooth side uppermost.
      • Place on a baking sheet.
    • When all scones are formed, brush over the tops with the beaten egg.
    • Bake for 15 minutes, turning the baking sheet around after 10 minutes to ensure even colouring.
    • When fully cooked, allow to firm up for 5 minutes before gently easing them out of the tins. Run a knife around the edge first, in case the glaze has caused it to stick to the tin. Set onto a wire rack to cool.
    • Enjoy at once.

[1] You DO have a copy, don’t you!? No pressure…..

[2] I take a box of warm scones in whenever my car needs some TLC.

[3] Caveat: as long as you eat them within 30 minutes of baking – as they cool, the yolk will continue to cook and longer than half an hour and it will be solid.

[4] Should be at least 90% pork, certainly not less than 85%. My UK recommendations are

  • Black Farmer Premium Pork Sausages
  • Debbie & Andrew’s Harrogate Sausages
  • Sainsbury’s Ultimate Pork Sausages, Taste the Difference Range

This list is by no means exhaustive, they are just the brands I have tasted and can vouch for personally.