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Cheese and Vegetable Pasties

October 18, 2010

When I was studying in London, my friend Christi and I would walk to Covent Garden on fall afternoons, sit on a curb listening to a James Taylor-soundalike street musician, and curl freezing fingers around steaming pasties.  Those were perfect hours – late afternoon sunshine slanting across cobblestones, cold wind biting ears and noses, and the many languages of tourists blending into a comfortable bustle in the background.

A few years later, I found myself in the middle of a law school-induced funk.  Overwhelmed, exhausted, and lonely, I missed the peace of those curb-side concert picnics and the company of friends.  I couldn’t transplant Christi to my living room, but I could make pasties.  And boy, did I make pasties.

These have become my go-to comfort food.  I reach for this recipe when, like this week, I need a break from the world, a homemade lunch ready to go straight from the freezer, and a little bit of friendship and memory.

Cheese and Vegetable Pasties (inspired by these from the West Cornwall Pasty Company and cobbled together with the help of Google, memory, and friendly taste-testers.)

If I’m in a rush, I can have these in the oven in about an hour.  Other times, though, I think it’s nice to make a rainy afternoon project of it, and take my time.

Once they’re baked, they’ll keep in the freezer for a LONG time.  Freezers and palates differ, of course, but I ate one for lunch the other day that I made back in January.  Still yummy.

(A friendly note: “pasty” is not pronounced “PASTE-y.”  It’s “PAST-y,” pronounced to rhyme with “FAST-y.”  I point this out only to spare you the teasing that ensues when your British flatmates finally realize that you’re hungry, and not heading to a strip joint.)

Makes 8 pasties*

– 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

– 2 cups whole wheat flour

– 1 1/2 cups ice water

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into small pieces (I used one salted, one unsalted, but whatever you fancy should be just fine.)

– 1 egg, beaten with an equal amount of water, for brushing after assembly

– In a large bowl, mix together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and salt.

– Cut in butter (with two butter knives or a pastry knife) until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

– Stir in 1 cup water.  If the mixture is to0 dry, which it almost certainly will be, add another 1/2 cup in small increments until a ball forms.  Stir with a wooden spoon to start, and knead with your hands when the dough becomes to stiff to stir.

– Divide dough into 8 pieces, and shape into balls.  Cover, and set aside in the fridge, if possible.

– 5 Tbs olive oil

– 4 cloves garlic

– 1 medium onion, chopped

– 2 cups carrots (just under 1/2 lb.), thinly sliced

– 2 1/2 cups (just under 1 lb.) peeled potatoes, diced

– 2 cups broccoli florets in bite-sized pieces

– 1/2 cup veggie broth

– 2 large sprigs rosemary

– 2 bay leaves

– Plenty of salt and pepper

– 1 1/2 cups finely grated cheese (This time I used white cheddar, but Parmesan is great, and I imagine Gruyere would be very tasty too.)

– 2 Tbs butter

– 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

– 2 cups milk, scalded

– Nutmeg, to taste

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

– Heat 3 Tbs. olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

– Stir in carrot, potatoes, and broccoli. Add water, bouillon cube, rosemary, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, or until veggies are cooked through and starting to get soft.

– Place remaining 2 Tbs olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, until butter is melted.

– Whisking constantly, add 1/4 cup flour

– Continue to whisk until the flour/butter/oil mixture reaches the color of coffee with cream

– Add scalded milk and continue whisking

– Add a few grates of fresh nutmeg or shakes of the ground variety, to taste

– Stir in cheese as you like until it melts

– Mix with the cooked vegetable mixture

Important Note: Cool the filling before spooning it into the crust.  Otherwise, the hot filling will melt the butter in the pastry, which will (a) result in an un-flaky crust and (b) probably make the dough tear.

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

– On a lightly floured surface, with a lightly floured pin, roll each pastry ball into a circle, 6 to 8 inches in diameter.

– Place about 1 cup of filling on one half of each circle.  Fold pastry over filling, and pinch edges to seal. Place on baking sheet, and brush with egg.  Don’t worry too much about this part – the dough is remarkably strong, and shouldn’t break.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

*Unless, of course, you also have one of these super cool pocket pie molds that Lily put in your Christmas stocking last year.  (Mine’s a pumpkin, which they don’t seem to sell anymore, but the apple variety looks very cute, too.)  If you do, you’ll get around 15 pasties from this recipe; each pasty holds about 1/2 cup of filling.

knitting pretty in dc
18 Comments leave one →
  1. Connie permalink
    October 18, 2010 4:27 pm

    Those look so good it is making me very hungry. Thanks you for the recipe as well. I will so have to try it. I bet the kids will love it too. Especially when I tell them you made it!!!

    • Ashley permalink*
      October 18, 2010 4:29 pm

      Oh, I hope so! I bet they’d have a ton of fun helping to make them, too – they’re kind of a blast. And even when they look ugly, they’re still really yummy. Let me know if you try it – I’d love to hear if you have improvements!

  2. October 18, 2010 6:06 pm

    I love that you use whole wheat flour in the crust. Is that traditional or something you updated with? I will have to try these, too! Love the story and the ambiance that you set around the pastie eating in your uni days. They do sound addictive :-).

  3. September 23, 2011 5:11 am

    Thanks for this recipe Ashley, I am on the hunt for veggie pasties that are worth making. NO-ONE EATS TURNIP AND SWEDE IN PASTIES…sorry about that bit of a ‘yell’ but do these people actually test some of these vegetarian recipes or do they just throw things together and call it a recipe as vegetarians should just shut up and eat it (we OBVIOUSLY have no tastebuds! :o). Off I go again on the never ending hunt for pastry wrapped flavour, might have to give these a go this weekend, they look pretty tasty…

    • September 7, 2012 12:58 pm

      Because turnip is a traditional ingredient of cornish pasties, it actually makes sense that they’re included in the vegetarian versions ;)n

      • September 10, 2013 9:13 pm

        I love turnips :). Going to grow an entire bed full this year to satisfy my turnip loving daughter and my desire to eat them raw straight out of the ground 🙂

      • September 10, 2013 9:16 pm

        Oops…didn’t clarify myself there…what I meant was we don’t like JUST turnip and swede. I got a pasty that contained cubed turnip and swede that weren’t even cooked properly as my last “veggie pasty”…not only did I end up with indigestion, but I also had to pay MORE than the meat pasty that my husband got…sigh…can you tell I was excited to find your recipe? 😉

  4. Marti permalink
    June 24, 2012 8:16 am

    Our regular Sunday afternoon cook-up will include these next time. So with you on the “hurry up versus kitchen time” approach. My tu’penny worth would be; whenever you’re cooking just bake a loaf of bread as well. The prep’ time is minimal and a warm kitchen / proving oven is essential. Oh, and packet pastry – so many cooking days would never have happened if I’d been making the pastry as well 🙂

  5. Nina permalink
    July 10, 2012 5:05 am

    Instead of making the crust, can I just use a ready made puff pastry block?

    • Ashley permalink*
      July 10, 2012 6:26 am

      Of course! I’ve never made it that way, so I can’t guarantee how they’ll turn out. The pastry crust I use has a bit of heft to it, which I think holds the gooey insides of the pie together. Puff pastry is more delicate, so you might want to either make much smaller pasties or use mini pie tins to keep them from falling apart. That said, I rarely use puff pastry, so please take my advice with a grain of salt. Let me know how they turn out!

  6. Marti permalink
    July 16, 2012 7:17 am

    Best kitchen assessory we have ever acquired is….. a huge Bosch freezer. Left over from helping a friend move. Cleaned up and installed in the workshop, it now allows us to cook a month worth of quality food and eat well after working/studying fill the day to bursting. Ours now has a dozen of you veggies pasties, with different thickness tests of sauce and pastry. We’ll let you know 🙂

  7. February 2, 2013 2:33 pm

    I work as a chef in an early learning centre and plan to make your pastie treats tomorrow. I’ll let you know how I go and If I get the kids tick of yuminess 🙂

  8. September 25, 2013 9:04 am

    I finally made these, using puff pastry, as the people I live with don’t want me messing up the kitchen with homemade dough. (Believe me, it always makes a mess).

    While I found the filling to be time consuming, I really can’t blame anyone but myself for not preparing it earlier. Still, they turned out great, and there’s lots more leftover. C:

    • Ashley permalink*
      September 25, 2013 10:08 am

      It is time-consuming, for sure. I’m very glad they turned out well and that there are lots of leftovers – it’s hardly worth the effort if there aren’t!

  9. Jessica permalink
    September 22, 2016 4:16 pm

    I just made these today and I thought they turned out great! They were sort of big, so next time I may divide the dough into 12 balls instead of 8. I also used a mix of sharp white cheddar and regular cheddar for the filling. My 8 year old daughter enjoyed these too! Thank you for the recipe. I’ve been craving pasties lately.

    • Ashley permalink*
      September 22, 2016 4:45 pm

      I’m so glad you liked them! I think 12 balls instead of 8 is a great idea – they do come out a bit large for me, too.


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