I made my own Pumpkin Pasties for my recent Harry Potter party, and they went down a treat!
1kg Butternut squash/pumpkin/sweet potato or a mix of the three
2 tsp tumeric
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp garam masala
Freshly milled salt and black pepper
1 large clove of garlic (or 2 small)
100g mature cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
olive / rapseed oil
Plain flour for dusting
2 sheets of ready-made shortcrust pastry
Or follow the pastry recipe at the bottom of the page.
Pre-heat the oven to 200*C / 400*F / Gas Mark 6
Peel and de-seed the squash, cut it into cubes no bigger than 4cm cubed. Place the squash cubes in a large mixing bowl and add 1-2 tablespoons of oil, the tumeric, paprika, coriander, cumin, garam masala and salt and pepper.
Toss the squash with all the spices and oil until well covered (get your hands in there to ensure it is coated well). Place on an oiled baking tray and spread out.
Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes until soft and smelling great. You can test with a fork - squash will break easily when speared with a fork.
Put the roast squash back into the large mixing bowl, add the butter and mash with a potato masher until you have achieved a similar consistency to mashed potatoes.
Grate the cheese and garlic together (I find it helpful place a piece of kitchen paper under the grater to catch the cheese and garlic, it makes it easy to pick up and leaves minimal mess).
Add the cheese and garlic to the squash and mix well. Taste it here - add more salt and pepper if required. Set aside.
If you are using ready made pastry sheets - unroll the pastry and keep it on it's parchment paper.
Use an up-turned cereal bowl as a stencil and cut out as many circles as you can.
I managed 3 circles per sheet with my bowl, initially. After re-rolling off cuts I managed to get 9 circles out of 2 sheets of pastry.
You can make your pasties any size you like how about bitesize for a buffet?
Once you have cut out your circles use a spoon to fill half of the circle with the squash - being careful not to overfill.
Brush half of the circle with beaten egg and fold to pastry over, use the side of your hand to press the pastry edges together - the egg should help them stick.
Use a fork to press the edges together - you may want to flour the fork to prevent it from sticking to the pastry.
You need to make a vent hole in the top of each pasty for steam to escape while they are baking - I opted for a lightning bolt, which didn't exactly go to plan!
You could use pastry off cuts to make Harry Potter symbols and stick them to the top of the pasties with egg.
Place your pasties on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper, brush with egg wash, ensuring you get into all the ridges.
Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on the tray for 20 minutes and then move to a wire rack.
Store in an airtight container once cool.
The pasties are tasty warm or cold - re-heat them in the oven for 10 minutes for a warm pasty.
Shortcrust pastry recipe: (this recipe is taken from DeliaOnline - I find it the best shortcrust pastry)
220g Plain flour
A little bit of cold water
Take the butter and lard out of the fridge 20 minutes before using.
Begin by sifting the flour and pinch of salt into a large bowl, holding the sieve as high as possible, so that they get a really good airing before you begin.
Now add the lard and butter, cut into smallish lumps, then take a knife and begin to cut the fat into the flour.
Go on doing this until it looks fairly evenly blended, then begin to rub the fat into the flour using your fingertips only and being as light as possible.
As you gently rub the fat into the flour, lift it up high and let it fall back into the bowl, which again means that all the time air is being incorporated, but do this just long enough to make the mixture crumbly with a few odd lumps here and there.
Now sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water in, then, with a knife, start bringing the dough together, using the knife to make it cling. Then discard the knife and, finally, bring it together with your fingertips.
When enough liquid is added, the pastry should leave the bowl fairly clean. If this hasn't happened, then using your fingertips, add a spot more water.
Now place the pastry in a polythene bag and leave it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to rest.
How to roll pastry - you want the thickness to be about the same as a pound coin - any thinner and it will break easily. A little thicker than a pound coin is fine.
Lightly dust a rolling pin with flour and rest it on the centre of the dough. Place the flat of your hands lightly on each end of the pin and begin to roll the dough backwards and forwards (don’t be tempted to roll from side to side), gently and evenly, re-dusting the pin and the surface very lightly with flour if you need to stop the pastry sticking.
Give the pastry quarter-turns as it expands and, provided you continue to roll backwards and forwards and not side-to-side, it will roll out into a round shape that will keep its shape and not shrink as it cooks.