Recipe: roasted cauliflower & hazelnut pesto pasties

I found the basis for this recipe whist leafing through a Martha Stewart book of pies and tarts and was immediately intrigued. She calls them ‘hand pies’, but I’m British, so let’s call it what it is: a pasty. Perfect for the chilly autumn nights, while watching fireworks and supping on mulled wine, these hot pasties will warm the cockles of your heart, keep your hands toasty, and your belly happy all at the same time.

The cheese is oozy and flavoursome and the cauliflower has a good nuttiness brought out in the roasting, which is complemented by the hazelnut and rosemary pesto beautifully. Let’s get down to business, shall we?

Roasted cauliflower & hazelnut pesto pasties 

For the pastry:

  • 170g chilled butter
  • 50g Manchago cheese
  • 300g plain white flour
  • 40g wholemeal flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 120ml ice-cold water
  • A dash of milk

For the filling:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • 140g Manchago cheese
  • 85g hazelnuts
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • A couple of splashes of olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

To make the pastry combine the butter, flours, cheese and mix until it resembles bread crumbs. Add one egg yolk and the ice water a splash at a time, and bring together into a dough before wrapping in cling film and refrigerating for about an hour. Try not to handle the pastry too much, as doing so will melt in quite a bit of the butter – if it looks spotted with yellow lumps of butter you’ve made it perfectly.

In the meantime make the filling. Chop the cauliflower into smallish florets and then toss them in a bowl with the olive oil. Roast for approximately 15 minutes until they have a little colour but are still quite al dente.

To make the pesto, put the hazelnuts, cheese, rosemary and garlic into a food processor and pulse gently until it reaches your desired consistency. I like a chunky pesto, but it’s up to you how fine you wish to go. Add a dash of olive oil and then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Take the chilled pastry out of the fridge and, on a floured surface, roll it out to less than half a centimetre in thickness. Use a side plate, I used a 20cm one, to cut round and form the basis for your pasties.

Now for the assembly! Combine the remaining egg yolk with a dash of milk and using a pastry brush, daub the edges of each circular piece of pastry. Then evenly divide the pesto and cauliflower between the pasties and fold them over and press down on the seal with a fork to make sure they are not going to re-open.

Brush them all over with the remaining egg mixture and then cook them in the oven at 200 degrees centigrade for approximately 30 minutes, turning once to make sure they colour evenly.

This recipe makes 4 pasties and goes fantastically well with my roasted tomato soup.

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