The first time I heard about hot water crust was whilst watching The Great British Bake Off. I had great plans to try a version, although many of the recipes called for lard, I'd encountered a few with butter or shortening. I knew that the important things were to make sure the filling was not too liquidy so as not to end up with a soggy bottom.
As I was perusing this cookbook, the pasty really stood out for several reasons - it is vegetarian (so many aren't!), it had centerpiece potential, and the flavors were interesting. And it looked like it started with a hot water crust of some kind, a technique I'd never used.
Curry Cauliflower Christmas Pasty with Almonds and Apricots
Serves 6-8 people
For the filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced*
4 ribs celery, finely diced
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp paprika
4 heaping tbsp (70 g) tomato paste
1 head cauliflower, ground into crumbs in the food processor*
1/2 cup (100 g) red lentils
2 cups (500 ml) vegetable stock
3/4 cup (100 g) almonds, finely chopped
3/4 cup (100 g) dried apricots, halved*
1 1/2 cups (150 g) grated aged cheese*
4 eggs, beaten
A generous bunch of fresh, flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the dough:
3 1/2 cups (450 g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp (200 ml) milk
7 tbsp (100 g) butter
1 egg, beaten
On the side:
1 2/3 cups (400 ml) sour cream
Some scallion rings
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Optional: fresh garden herbs
Make the filling: in a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil. Saute the onions and celery until soft. Add the garlic. Cook everything for a while. Add the curry powder, paprika, and tomato paste. While stirring, cook for several minutes, until it starts to smell sweet and spicy. Then, stir in the cauliflower crumbs and the lentils. Douse with the stock. Cover and let simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally while reducing it into a thick paste that is no longer wet but does not burn and stick to the pan either. Remove from the heat and let cool somewhat.
Make the dough:
Grease a 9-inch (22-cm) springform pan (or a pie pan) and dust it with flour. Mix the flour and salt. Put the milk and the butter in a saucepan, and add 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (150 ml) water, and heat until the butter has melted.
Add the flour in one batch and thoroughly stir everything into one ball. Remove it from the pan and quickly knead it on a floured countertop into a coherent dough. Let the dough rest for a while. Divide the dough into 1/3 and 2/3. Roll out the larger part and use it to line the springform pan, allowing some overhang over the edges.
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C.)
Stir the almonds, apricots, and cheese into the cauliflower filling, followed by the beaten eggs and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the filling into the dough-lined springform pan. Roll out the remaining dough and use it to cover the pasty filling.
Use an apple corer to cut three holes in the top crust. Trim the edges and roll out the trimmings. Cut Christmas decorations from the dough and stick them onto the pasty with a beaten egg. Glaze the entire top of the pasty with the remaining egg.
Bake for 1 hour. Use a skewer to check whether the filling is done: every oven is different. Sometimes it takes a little longer, sometimes it doesn't. Loosely cover the pasty with aluminum foil if the top is browning too fast.
Serve immediately while still warm, or let cool and serve cold. You can always reheat the pasty later.
You can heat up the pasty covered with aluminum foil. It will take about 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 F (180 C.) Serve with sour cream (seasoned with some scallion rings, salt and pepper, and some fresh garden herbs if you want.)
* Notes from JennyBakes
I only used one onion because I didn't want it to overpower. I also lightly chunked the cauliflower rather than grind it to have more texture. If you really only half the apricots but grind everything else, the only chunks you will encounter are apricots and I think that's a bit unbalanced. (Especially since if you have leftovers, the apricots get more and more savory and it starts tasting like curry grapes or something.) I wasn't sure what kind of cheese to buy (it just says aged!) so I used a nice hard cheese like Parmesan. I only had a six inch springform so I made that size and cooked for a shorter time, then put the rest of the filling into ramekins with crust toppers, and they were tasty too!
Home Made Christmas
by Yvette van Boven
Publication Date: 16 October 2018
are divided into the type of dish, with fun menu ideas in the back.
Others I've marked to try include Ginger Hot Chocolate, Squash, Feta
& Sage Pull-Apart Bread, Carrot Tatin with Goat Cheese, Trifle with Salty
Caramel, Cheesecake Cream & Chewy Brownies, Hazelnut Meringue Log
with Frangelico Cream & Caramel. Last week I posted the Vegetable Spiral Tart.
This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party.