Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blocks, pasties, cake...

These are the quilt blocks I was talking about. It's a very simple block but then again, I like simply-designed quilts. They tend to have clearer graphics, I think, and they show off the fabrics to good advantage. (And since I never met a novelty fabric I didn't like...)

new blocks

That tree fabric is probably my favorite in the whole line:

Tree block

I'm almost done with all the blocks (this is just a sampling).

Since PurlEwe (I think it was you) asked, here's the pasty recipe. (It can also be spelled "pastie," I guess).


1/2 pound ground meat (I used bison, beef would be more traditional, the "real" pasties actually use chopped leftover beef that was either roasted or boiled.)
3/4 cup diced potato
3/8 cup finely diced onion
3/8 cup diced rutabaga
dash of pepper
dash of salt
garlic powder, basil, "tiny pinch" allspice, "tiny pinch" thyme (these are not strictly traditional but they add very good flavor)
3/8 cup broth (may need to add more if it cooks dry).

I actually doubled the filling recipe. (You can also eat the filling as a sort of hash; my father is watching his carbohydrate intake so he did that rather than have a pasty....he had it with a poached egg on top of it and said it was good).

What you do is put the vegetables and spices in the pot with the broth and simmer them over a low-medium fire until they start to get soft. Then break up the (still raw) meat and cook it with them until the pinkness of the meat is gone - you want everything to be more or less fully cooked.

(N.B.: If you're not familiar with rutabagas - they do not smell that good while cooking. Kind of that cabbage/old feet smell you get with some cabbage-family things. I actually called my mom to ask if the stuff was OK because it didn't smell good. But the bad smell dissipates as it cooks)

Take the filling off the stovetop and put it aside to cool.

Make your dough (You actually might want to do this FIRST and let it chill while the stuff simmers).

2/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons shortening (I used Crisco; lard would probably be most traditional: this is a Tourtiere dough)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 egg, slightly beaten and mixed with 2-3 Tablespoons of cold water (I started with 2 T and wound up having to add more water when I worked the dough).

Make it like pie crust: Mix the flour and salt and cut in the shortening until it is the size of small peas. Add the egg and water mix and mix until it's all moistened and forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill.

When it's time to make the pasties, preheat the oven to 350-375 (The Tourtiere is baked at a higher temperature but since the pasty filling is already cooked...)

Roll out the dough and cut it - you can cut squares or rounds or whatever. I used a 4 1/2" diameter bowl as a cutter. Put a SMALL amount of filling in the middle (I think my problem at first was too much filling). Fold closed, use a little egg wash or cool water to seal, and crimp the edges. Put on a greased cookie sheet and cook until the pastry is done and just beginning to brown.

This makes a lot...I think I wound up with 18 or so small pasties. But pasties freeze excellently well and heat up nicely, so you can stock your freezer with them.


And now for another baking success. I have to provide the snacks for this month's AAUW meeting (Thursday, but tomorrow is my big long day and I have the first Wednesday Night Youth Group meeting, so I baked it tonight). I made a hot-milk sponge cake. (I'm sure I've given the recipe before; this is one I make regularly for things).

I love this cake recipe because if you follow the directions, it turns out so beautifully. And it's not that much more complicated than doing a mix cake, and it tastes so much better:


I'm going to make a mixed-berry fruit sauce to serve on this, and have whipped cream for those that want it.

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