Thursday, December 1, 2011


A few days ago, my lovely stepdaughter, Cat, convinced me to join twitter. As if I didn't spend enough time already on my computer!

But it's fun to follow Dalai Lama (my favorite, whose tweets are not about food, but food for thought), well-known food gurus, like Mark Bittman ("How to Cook Almost Everything" - always good for some environmentally conscious comments) -  or new baking entrepreneur Martina Snetkova () in her heroic fight to establish her little bakery-on-wheels against a big chain cafe who tried to crowd her out of the Bay Area market before she even got started.

And English master baker Dan Lepard. When I saw this recipe, I jumped on my bicycle (yes, at the end of November! In Maine!!!) to get local brown ale, sharp cheddar and white onions:

After watching some YouTube videos on how to make croissants, working with the ale dough was fairly easy. I americanized the potato onion filling a bit by adding some fried bacon. The amount of the filling would have been enough for nine pasties instead of six (Richard will work the surplus into somosas).

The patties tasted very good, we were especially pleased with the wonderful ale-crust.

Here ist my adaptation of the recipe (with a reduced amount of filling - enough for the six pasties):


325 g bread flour, plus extra for rolling
175 g spelt flour, or whole wheat (I used spelt)
10 g salt, (2 tsp.)
300 g cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm (0.4") cubes
250 ml Newcastle Brown Ale, or similar (I used Bar Harbor Thunderhole Ale)

2 slices bacon, cubed
265 g white onions, chopped
¼ tsp. salt
15 ml olive oil
65 g water
salt and pepper, to taste
50 ml heavy cream
350 g potatoes, cooked and diced
70 g sharp cheddar, grated
egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash

1. For the dough: Stir together flours and salt. Toss butter cubes through flour mix. Pour in beer and mix to rough lump (the butter pieces will still be visible).

2. Transfer dough to floured worktop and roll out into a rectangle ca. 1 cm (0.4") thick. Fold it like a business letter, roll it out, and fold it again into thirds. Wrap dough package in plastic foil and freeze it for 30 minutes. Repeat this double rolling and folding 2 x more at 30-minute intervals. Chill the dough for 1 hour.

3. For the filling: In a saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Using slotted spoon, take out bacon bits, place on paper towel, and set aside.

4. Add onions, oil, water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Cook until all water has evaporated, and onions are very soft. Stir in cream, let thicken a bit (mixture should not have too much liquid). Remove from heat, add potatoes, season well with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.

5. Divide dough in halves. Return 1 piece to refrigerator. Roll other half into rectangle of ca. 23 x 33 cm (9 x 13"), then cut into thirds (using a pizza cutter), each about 23 x 11 cm (9 x 4 1/3").

6. Brush dough stripes with water, spoon filling towards one end, covering about half of piece (leave edges clean, otherwise you can't seal them!), and sprinkle with cheese. Fold other half over filling, and seal edges with a fork. Repeat with other pastry sheet. Chill pasties until firm, at least 30 minutes.

7. Preheat oven to 400 F/200 C.

8. Brush pasties with egg wash, and trim cut sides, if necessary. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and slash tops.

9. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate sheet 180 degrees for even browning, and continue baking for another 15 - 25 minutes, until puffed and golden.

The crust is wonderful, and can surely be used for pies crusts, too. Smaller versions would be great finger food at parties.


  1. I've been wanting to do more savory baking, thanks for pointing this out. Also, I will have to tell my dear friend Andrea about your site, she is German and blogs at though I think she's on hiatus. She and I both love baking bread! Are you in bar harbor maine, we are neighbors of sorts then!?

  2. ps my friend Andrea is in the same professional field as you! By the way, I've heard of pasties made with suet, does he give that as an option (not that I have suet on hand, mind you, was just curious).

  3. Sara, I don't think he put suet in these pasties, but I made some Eccles Cakes, where he used both, butter and suet. They were wonderful, by the way. I have yet to post about them.
    Where are you located? I do live in Bar Harbor, Maine.