I was invited to a pumpkin-carving party recently, and wanted to bring some kind of snack to contribute. I usually bring desserts (last year I brought these pumpkin cheesecake bars) but everyone brings desserts to these things, so I decided to go in a savory direction this time.
Butternut squash seemed the perfect ingredient to focus on for a squash-theme party, so I started with that. I wanted to keep things handheld and relatively neat to eat, so I knew I’d be enclosing the filling in a pastry, and after that it was just a matter of adding flavors I thought would work. Best of all, the prep time was relatively low since the filling ingredients were roasted together on a sheet pan.
As for the outside, I revisited the hot water crust recipe I used to make Paul Hollywood’s pork pies, since I’d been struck at the time by its flakiness and great flavor. To cut down on leftover scraps I cut my pastry into squares, which were folded diagonally to make little turnover shapes– but I’m calling them pasties here because 1) they sound more savory than “turnovers,” which always evoke dessert to me, and 2) I’m kind of on a Harry Potter kick right now and these remind me of pumpkin pasties (which were probably intended to be sweet, but whatever).
Curried Butternut Pasties
3 lbs. butternut squash, diced in 3/4″ pieces
1 large onion, diced in 3/4″ pieces
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes or 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. On a large sheet pan, toss squash and onion pieces with olive oil, salt, and spices.
3. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.
4. Cool completely and scrape into a bowl.
Hot water crust pastry
1. In a bowl, cut or rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs.
2. In small saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add lard/shortening and stir until melted.
3. Pour the liquid into the dry mixture and stir to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until it forms a smooth ball.
4. Immediately roll out the dough on a well-floured surface to about 1/4″ thick. Use a knife or pastry cutter to cut out 4″ squares. I got 29 squares in all, including re-rolling the scraps from the first two batches of 11 each.
5. Brush edges of squares with egg wash and fill with scoops of chilled filling. Fold diagonally and crimp with tines of a fork.
6. Brush tops of pasties with egg wash and bake 25 minutes at 375 degrees F. (these are unbaked)