(Makes 8 pasties)
400g (or 2 mugs) strong white flour
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1 rounded teaspoon fresh yeast
250ml (or 2/3rds mug) lukewarm water
Splash of olive oil (optional)
Several large potatoes, cubed and boiled
1 clump of cooked broccoli (or chopped onions)
150g grated cheese
Mix these together with whatever herbs, black pepper, etc, you wish
1. Place flour and salt into a mixing bowl, measure the water and stir in the fresh yeast, then add to the flour, followed by the olive oil if using.
2. Have a little water to hand to add if necessary. Remember, it is better for your dough to be wetter (slack) rather than drier (tight). Holding the bowl with one hand begin to mix by stirring the ingredients together with your fingers. Check how the dough feels as you mix – it should stay soft and squidgy – and add more flour or water as needed. When all the flour has been mixed in, wipe the bowl around with the dough, turn it out onto the worktop and begin to knead.
3. Knead by stretching the dough out, folding it over, stretching it out and so on and so forth. Do this until it is smooth – or until you get fed up!
4. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and form each one into a bun shape. Using plenty of flour on your worktop, roll each one out into a circle a little bigger than a tea plate. Place a couple of spoonfuls of filling on one side of the circle, lift the other side over to cover it and press the two sides together. (Don’t wet the edges first – that’s a pastry technique.) Form a crimp by pushing your fingertips together – one on top of the edge of the dough and the other at the side of the dough.
5. Place each one onto a baking sheet – either oiled or lined with baking paper – and leave to prove until the dough has become puffy.
6. Bake at 220C, 425F or gas mark 7 for between 12-15 minutes. Look for some shade of brown underneath.
Variation:Lentil and potato pasties. Cook 100g of red lentils in enough water – takes about 10-12 minutes once the water has boiled. Separately, boil some cubed potatoes along with a chopped onion and flavourings such as herbs, stock powder and perhaps some curry paste. Once everything is cooked, add the potatoes, etc, to the lentils and simmer until it thickens. Use as in step 4 above.