Beef and baharat pasties

Baharat spices up a beef pastry recipe.
Baharat spices up a beef pastry recipe. Photo: William Meppem

Hot-water crust pastry is traditionally made with lard, but it works just as well with butter, and yields a soft, pliable dough that is unexpectedly easy to roll out. It also forms a sturdy crust that perfectly holds the beef and vegetable filling as it bakes, but crumbles deliciously with every mouthful. The filling may be prepared up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated until needed.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced into 1½ cm pieces

500g rump or skirt steak, diced into 1cm pieces

1 desiree potato (about 200g), diced into 1½ cm pieces

½ small swede (about 200g), diced into 1½ cm pieces

½ small celeriac (about 200g), diced into 1½ cm pieces

1 small carrot (about 100g), diced into 1cm pieces

1½ tbsp baharat spice mix (available online and at specialist retailers)

1½ tbsp tomato paste

350ml strong beef stock

1½ tsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

For the pastry

500g plain flour

1½ tsp salt

300g unsalted butter, cold, cut into 2cm cubes

110ml boiling water

1 egg, lightly beaten

Method

1. To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan, then add the onion and sauté on low-medium heat until translucent but not browned. Add the diced beef and vegetables, increase the heat to medium and brown the meat. Add the baharat mix and tomato paste and stir for a minute to prevent the spice from catching on the pan.

2. Pour in the beef stock and simmer until the vegetables have just softened and most of the stock has evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 

3. To make the pastry, remove the butter from the fridge and leave for about 30 minutes. Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and process again until it is the texture of fresh breadcrumbs. Pour in the boiling water and pulse until the dough just starts to come together. Tip the mix onto a clean workbench and knead the dough very gently for a few seconds to form a soft, pliable ball. Place on a plate, draping some cling wrap loosely over the top of the pastry to stop it from drying out. Rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

4. Divide the dough into 8 even pieces, dust lightly with extra flour and roll each piece into a circle around 20cm in diameter. Place 2 heaped tablespoons of the cooled filling (about 150g) in the middle of each pastry circle, leaving a border of around 1½ cm.

5. Brush the border of the pastry circle with the beaten egg, then gather the sides up so it forms an upright semicircular parcel. Press gently to seal, then crimp or pleat the pastry for an attractive finish. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Repeat this process with the remaining pastry and filling.

6. When you have prepared all the pasties, brush each with the egg wash and place the tray in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 200C (190C fan-forced). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.