I’ve been wondering for ages what I’d choose for this week’s Cakes & Bakes recipe. You see, it’s Sourdough September and I wanted to make something more than a just a plain sourdough loaf. I’ve come up with a mushroom pasty recipe using sourdough pastry.
I only feed my sourdough starter in the summer months – our old, stone house just isn’t conducive to developing the warmth-loving wild yeasts for much of the year. When the temperature drops and the wood-burning stove needs to be sparked up, I store a small batch of starter in the freezer to revive again the following year.
This sourdough pastry recipe is very similar to plain shortcrust pastry but the taste is so much better – and it’s more buttery and flakier too.
I’m sure some Cornish people and other pasty aficionados will be up in arms with my mushroom pasty recipe. However, I’m vegetarian and a meat pasty isn’t tempting. I used Rustica mushrooms. However, you can use any kind – button, woodland, chestnut, wild… add a handful of garden peas if it takes your fancy. I used Maris Piper potatoes, but as with the mushrooms, it’s down to personal preference or what’s to hand. Also, a bit of onion, garlic and fresh thyme.
We have some 20cm/8-inch starter plates that are the perfect diameter for a pasty pastry cutter. Just roll out the pastry, place a plate on the top and cut around it with the tip of a sharp, pointy knife.
I picked up a(nother!) tip from Nadiya Hussain for making pasties. Use the tip of the self-same knife – this time, the un-sharp side of the blade – to just gently push the pastry inwards at 1cm intervals to crimp.
The recipe made 6 pasties; I cooked off half of them for immediate consumption – and put the other three into the freezer for a later date. They were truly delicious. Justin and I agree that this pastry is one of the best – if not THE best I’ve ever made – and the simple combination of flavours in the filling worked brilliantly too.
- 185g/6½oz plain flour
- 1tsp salt
- 225g/8oz very cold butter, cubed
- 225g/8oz cold sourdough starter
- a little beaten egg to glaze
- 250g/9oz potatoes, cubed
- 30g/1oz butter
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 250g/9oz mushrooms, sliced
- sprig of thyme
- salt & ground black pepper to taste
- Sieve the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor
- Scatter the cold, cubed butter over the top of the flour mixture and pulse a few times until the butter breaks up into small chunks
- Spread the sourdough starter over the top of the flour/butter mixture
- Pulse again until the mixture just starts to clump together a bit, but is still crumbly. The dough should feel like it will stay together if you pinch it with your fingers
- Lay out two strips of cling film at right angles to each other and empty the pastry mixture into the middle
- Bring the mixture together using the lengths of cling until it just about comes together into a ball. Quickly flatten the ball into a round, wrap and chill for an hour in the fridge
- In a medium-sized saucepan, just cover the potatoes with cold, salted water and bring to the boil for 5 minutes
- Using a colander, strain the water away
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat
- Add the onions and garlic and sweat until they're soft but not browned
- Add the mushrooms, thyme and salt & pepper and continue to sweat until the mushrooms have softened
- Strain any liquid away (or you can reserve this to make a mushroom sauce using a dash of cream)
- Mix the potatoes into the mushrooms until well combined
- Set the mixture aside to cool
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
- Divide the pastry into 6 equal pieces. Put five back into the fridge to keep cool while you make the first pasty
- Form the pastry piece into a round and roll out on a floured work surface
- Place a side plate on to the pastry and cut out a circle
- Spoon some of the cooled mushroom filling into the centre of the pastry
- Brush around the edge of the circle with water, carefully fold the pastry over into a semi-circle - keeping the filling away from the edge
- Gently press the edges of pastry together before crimping
- Repeat this process until you have used all the pastry and filling
- Put the pasties on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush the tops with a little beaten egg
- Bake for 30 minutes until the tops are golden brown
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before eating
We’ve been experimenting with bread recently…
…in particular, sourdough bread.
It begins with making a starter. This is a living, breathing culture. There are various methods of making a starter – flour & water, flour & apple juice – ours is a mixture of flour, milk & natural yoghurt. No extra yeast is added, it relies on naturally occurring yeast in the flour and air. The starter is ‘fed’ daily – we feed ours with:
- 4 tablespoons strong white bread flour
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon natural yoghurt
Some bakers have nurtured the same starter for decades… even centuries!
A portion of starter is added to flour & water for each new loaf – along with any additional ingredients such as seeds, cheese, honey etc.
We’ve been very pleased with the results!
The bread has a lovely open texture and distinctive sourdough smell & taste.
It’s great with all kinds of food – it’s particularly good with different cheeses, cooked meats, pickles etc – it was, in fact, ideal as part of this traditional Ploughman’s lunch.
And when it’s past its best, it makes great breadcrumbs for future use!
If you fancy having a go yourself, here are a few links to websites & books that we’ve found helpful: