American as Apple Pie

Happy 4th of July!

Holidays can be difficult far from home, particularly holidays that aren’t celebrated where you are.

Last year, the fourth of July landed a few days after Joery and I officially moved into our new apartment. We were among the last people to move into the complex (our building has 7 apartments, the other 6), so to celebrate, we had a 4th of July BBQ in the private alley between the two buildings. It was a great welcome to the neighborhood: a map of the US hung on the wall (as well as a few other knick-knacks), country music was blasted from the speakers, and Joery got out the good ol’ stars and stripes and hung it from the fire escape. But what makes a 4th of July BBQ so special is the people, so our new neighbors really made the day.

The food helped, of course.

So this year, we’re throwing another BBQ with the neighbors and I volunteered (as in, Joery volunteered me) to make a dessert (or two). And a salad.

Here’s what I came up with:

It’s a Quinoa, Feta, Cucumber and Tomato salad (which was made by a friend after a night of hard partying at the Gentse Feesten and quickly became Joery’s favorite salad), a Roasted Cherry Chocolate Tart, and, of course, a Lattice Crust Apple Pie (my first!).

Eventually I’ll put up some recipe posts to correlate with the food, but now it’s time to eat!

Hope you are all enjoying the 4th (or just a normal Wednesday)!

Delicious Cornish Pasty Recipe

There’s a frozen food dish that my mom always keeps in our downstairs freezer: Mr. Pastie’s English Pasty. They were always on hand for a quick and delicious dinner. I’m pretty sure that when my Dad would do the grocery shopping, he would clean Mr. Z’s out of their pasty supply.

The frozen ones are delicious, easy to prepare, and filling: everything you want/need out of comfort food.

A few months ago, a recipe for the Cornish Pasty (pronounced p-ah-sty: not to be confused with pasties, which are the adhesive coverings for nipples. The differentiation — and correct enunciation — becomes important when you call your mom to boast about your ability to make awesome pasties) was given the place of prominence in a video on the Guardian‘s Life & Style homepage. I decided I must learn how to make one.

My version is not nearly as easy to prepare as its frozen brother, but mostly just because I chose to make everything — from crust to filling — from scratch. For me what took the most time was cutting up all the meat. I bought chunks/cubes of beef rather than ground beef… I don’t know if ground beef would be ok, but it may be worth it to try, just to save time. I think you can also just buy pre-made crust, in which case the preparation time would easily be cut in half.

Without further ado, here is my recipe! I ended up nearly tripling it: it freezes well, so if you’re going to take the time to make it, better to make extras.

Cornish Pasty recipe
(original here)

Crust:

  • 125g chilled and diced butter
  • 125g lard
  • 500g plain flour , plus extra
  • 1 egg , beaten (optional)

Filling:

  • 350g beef skirt or chuck steak, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion , finely chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes , peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • dash of salt
  • tab of butter (optional)

Directions:

  1. Rub the butter and lard into the flour with a pinch of salt using your fingertips or a food processor, then blend in 6 tbsp cold water to make a firm dough. Cut equally into 4, then chill for 20 mins.
  2. Preheat oven to 220C. Mix together the filling ingredients with dash of salt and pepper. Roll out each piece of dough on a lightly floured surface until large enough to make a round about 23cm across (doesn’t have to be perfect). Place a quarter of the filling in the center of the dough, leaving space at each end. Carefully fold the dough over, then pinch the sides together to seal. Lift onto a non-stick baking tray and brush with the the beaten egg to glaze.
  3. Bake for 10 mins, then lower oven to 180C and cook for 45 mins more until golden. Great served warm. Smakelijk!
Note: I cook them before freezing them, but you may be able to freeze them without baking. If you do, let me know how it works out :)