Until my early 20s, I spent a few weeks every summer along the coast of southwest England. Very fond memories and a part of the world I still try to reconnect with whenever the opportunity arises. Chief amongst those good memories was an astoundingly good bakery that kept me well-fed and extremely happy. Needless to say, I am intimately familiar with the Pasty.
The town I spent much of my childhood in was famous for its exceptional crab, so I have decided to use crab in the filling for our own Pasties in a nod to the wonderful seafood from that part of the world and keeping these pasties a little lighter than their traditional counterparts.
Crab is King in these pasties though we have elevated it with creamy saffron leeks to provide a little added sweetness and minerally freshness. Surprisingly easy to whip up, they will become a firm favourite!
250g Strong White Bread Flour,
125g Cold Unsalted Butter, cubed
90ml Cold Water,
½ tsp. Salt
225g White Crab Meat,
1 Leek, trimmed and finely sliced
50ml Double Cream,
Small Bunch of Chives, finely chopped
Juice of ¼ of a Lemon,
Pinch of Saffron,
Pinch of Salt & Pepper
1 Egg, whisked
PREPARING THE PASTRY
TIP – Making the pastry in a food processor blends the butter into the flour in a few seconds, you can absolutely make the pastry with your hands, it will just take longer.
To make the pastry, add the flour and cold cubed butter into a food processor and pulse until you have a mixture which resembles fine breadcrumbs.
With the blade running, add the water into the flour in a slow, steady stream. Leave to mix for a couple of minutes until a stretch, elastic dough is achieved.
Wrap the dough and place in the fridge to rest for 2-3 hours
PREPARING THE FILLING
Place the saffron in a small bowl with about 1 tbsp of warm water. Leave to bloom for 5-10 minutes.
Place a large frying pan over a medium heat with a splash of olive oil. Add the sliced leeks to the pan and cook gently for 5 minutes until the leeks are softened. Add the double cream and the saffron and soaking water, cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Season to taste. Remove from the heat and set the leeks aside to cool down completely.
TIP – Try transferring the cooked leeks to a large, cold plate and spread them out as much as possible. This will help the onions to cool down more quickly.
Once the leeks are completely cooled, add them into a mixing bowl along with the white crab meat, diced chives and lemon juice. Mix together until evenly combined and season to taste. Refrigerate until needed.
MAKING THE PASTIES
Remove the pastry from the fridge and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Divide the pastry into 4. Roll out each quarter of pastry into a circle to a thickness of about 3mm. Ideally, these should be about 20cm in diameter – a side plate is usually a good size and can be cut around to yield a perfect circle.
Layer ¼ of the filling over half of the pastry ensuring you leave a 2cm border around the edge. Lightly brush the border with water and fold the empty half of the pastry over the filling, pressing down on the border to seal. Crimp the pastry edge to finish. Repeat the process until you have 4 pasties.
Transfer the pasties to the fridge for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 160ºC (Fan).
Remove the pasties from the fridge and place onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Brush thoroughly with egg wash before poking a small air-hole in the centre of the pasty and placing into the oven.
Bake for 40-45 minutes in the oven until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy warm or cool.