Babs and the Pasties

18 Mar 2008


This little skirt has been sitting on my work table for the past week or so.
It's a skirt my cousin made for her Barbie doll about 40 years ago. I remember loving it when I first saw it and I know I tried to copy it but my cousin was five years older than me and my little girl sewing attempts were never going to match hers.
Somehow or other , by fair means or foul, most probably foul, the skirt ended up in my Barbie wardrobe long after my cousin lost interest and now it lives in a vintage pressed cardboard suitcase with the rest of my old Barbie things and Kate's new Barbie things.

I think it's the classic combination of navy linen and the soft pink and spring green embroidery that appeals to me, also the simple style, soft gathers on a comfortable waist band and casually closed with a press stud.

One day I might just make it in a size to fit me or maybe Kate.
I have many home made Barbie and Skipper clothes, some made by me , clumsily and poorly finished but the majority made by Mum. Knitted suits with angora collars and tiny pearl buttons, fabulous evening dresses and lots of pedal pushers or capri pants and shell tops and plenty of marvellous full skirts sometimes with cardigans and hats to match. I never fully appreciated as a child how wonderful these clothes were and how kind mum was to make them for me and my sister. Our most favourite Barbie game was "Fashion Parades" , that was the whole point of Barbie and her friends for us: endless changes of clothes and hairstyles.


We have had a cool change blow in, the wind changed direction and with it came bush fire smoke, no fires close to our home thankfully but the air was thick with smoke and the sun struggled to shine through the haze.

There was a fire close to my parents house last night but they were not in danger.

Although we do have green leafy trees and with the overnight dews the grasses have started to look alive again we have had almost no rain for months and everything is so very dry, the recent high temperatures have made for a late bushfire season.

Quite a few of you have asked for my pastie recipe.
Now this may be difficult as I have never seen a recipe for it , I just watched my Mum many times while I was growing up and then when i became an adult with a home of my own and felt like making pasties I just could. It was buried away somewhere, deep in my childhood memories, the rhythms, the smells, the image of a homemade pastie.

Now these pasties are incredibly popular with men and children and women who have avoided the diet police and their indoctrinations.

My mum always used frozen puff pastry from the supermarket, the best you can buy made with butter if you can get it. I have made my own puff pastry at times but I prefer my homemade shortcrust pastry. The pasties I made the other day though were made with frozen puff pastry and that's what the children prefer. You need cool weather to make good pastry and we haven't had a lot of that lately.

So, to make 2 1/2 dozen pasties you need about 1kg ( 2lbs) of frozen puff pastry. If you can get the pre rolled sheets of butter puff pastry you are half way there to making yummy pasties. The sheets available here are about 30cm (12") square, I cut that into four equal 6" squares and paint around the edges with a little milk or an egg and milk wash so I can seal the pastie after it has been filled. I prepare one sheet at a time, make those four pasties then prepare another sheet.

For the filling I use about 500g(1lb) of beef mince ( ground beef?) mixed with one egg, a diced potato, some diced sweet potato,diced carrot, a chopped onion,a tablespoon of water and some salt and pepper .I try to use equal amounts of potato, sweet potato and carrot. You can also use peas and pumpkin if you want. My children prefer no peas and I didn't want to cut up a pumpkin. I season generously, probably a teaspoon of good salt and several grinds of the pepper mill. Now you have to mix that all together, using your hand is best and don't expect it to all stay together you just need a thorough mix so each pastie will have similar components.

This is enough filling for about 30 small pasties. You will need to put a small handful of mixture in the centre of each 15cm (6") square and then seal then by making a triangle shape out of the filled square, squeeze the pastry edges together and then I always fold the the three corners over. Place each completed pastie on a cooking tray and when you are ready to bake them give them all a light paint with the milk or milk/egg wash so that they come out shiny brown.


Now I bake them for around 20 minutes at about 200C ( 400F), sometimes I finish them off with a blast from the fan forced option in my oven. You can tell when they are cooked because they will be a nice golden brown, they will most likely be sizzling and they will smell divine.

You should probably let them sit for a while because they are very hot inside and if you bite into one straight away you WILL burn your tongue. So just let them sit on the tray while you organise some plates, serviettes, tomato sauce ( ketchup) and glasses of milk ( essential). Now you can call everyone to the table and let the feasting begin.

If you have any left the reheat well, just 20minutes or so in a slow oven around 160C ( 320F), you'll know when they are ready, the smell will tell you.

Tonight for dinner it was a simple salad gussied up with some caramelised red onions, optional dressing made from olive oil, French mustard, lemon juice and a splodge of cream. On the side there was left over roast pork or, especially for Stephen , some slices of smoked salmon.
Such decadence was followed by bread and jam and whipped cream...heaven!


17 Responses to “Babs and the Pasties”

  1. Hello Jenny,
    Love navy and pink and green. Love reading about your Tasmanian life. And goodness you must have a lot of readers!
    We are so happy about the cool change here too!
    Those pasties do look good. I shall have to try them.
    Have a lovely week. I am 'resting' my now depleted blog until the next 14th day. Best wishes, Ann.

  2. What a scrumptious looking salad!

    Every once in a while I see something that makes me miss my sewing machine. Your sweet little Barbie skirt and the idea of making clothes for your family with the pattern did it!

  3. OK. I have some potentially stupid questions. Your pasties sound delicious! And I really want to try them. I think my family would love them! Is the burger cooked? Do you cook the mixture at all before putting it in the pasties? Next, what is tomato sauce? I live in the US. Is it pureed tomatoes, like what you would start spaghetti sauce with? Is it ketchup? Or Tomato soup? If it is the spaghetti type of sauce, do you pour it on top of the pastie? Because I could see ketchup as going ok with it, and tomato soup as possibly being very good with it.

    Please forgive my ignorance, I really want to try this, and just don't want to mess it up!


  4. I've just found your blog courtesy of a friend (don't know how she found it) and I'm REALLY enjoying the details of your daily life. My friend and I are both stay at home mothers who adore discussing how much laundry we did or what we made for dinner or how we need to clean under the beds, etc. So glad you don't think it needs to be BIG NEWS every time you blog!

    Thanks for your instructions on pasties - novel stuff for an American! ("ground beef" is correct).

    Also related to food: are you drinking the cream you referred to with bread and jam?? Or dunking the bread and jam? As a cream-lover, I'm curious!

  5. Hi Monique, welcome. Both the meat and the vegetables are raw when you put them into the pastie and into the oven. Tomato sauce is tomato ketchup and I've now added that to the text, thanks.

  6. Hi Margo, welcome and thank you. The cream is whipped cream, not out of a can but whipped with beaters. You spread a slice of very fresh bread with the jam of your choice, we had apricot but raspberry or strawberry are delicious, and then spread the cream on top. You can spread the cream as thickly or thinly as you like.It's delicious and a treat, not for every day (unless you really have to - yum).

  7. Jenny,
    Thanks for the pastie recipe. I saw that and thought my hubby would love it but never commented to you or asked. I am glad other asked and you put it up.

  8. Jenny
    Thanks so much for the info! I am definitely going to try this, and the bread/jam/cream as well! Yum, Yum, Yum, Yum!


  9. Hi Jenny,
    My mum used to make us pasties too when we were at home. I only asked her a few months a go for the recipe and silly me had it all the time. This is very similar to yours and my mum didn't grate as the recipe suggests, she chopped all. It is from the good ol' Central Cook Book. Have you heard of it? Its been around for years.


  10. Hi Jenny
    I think that pasties are miles better for picnics than sandwiches. They can stand being left and that's always good! Now, I had a Sindy doll when I was a girl, Barbie was a strange foreign usurper!lol! However, I played fashion parade, generally making my own creations out of bits of net curtain and crepe paper! I had a lot of fun, you took me right back!

  11. Hi Natalie, I had a Sindy doll too and my sister had Patches ( is that right)but we didn't have many clothes for them for some reason.

  12. Hi Jenny,
    You certainly brought back memories by talking about Barbie Dolls. I am one of three daughters & we had barbie dolls & a cindy doll. Mum knitted some outfits for them & bought some outfits from craft stalls, I think, as they look homemade. I have my old dolls still & my daughter use to play with them.
    Thanks for sharing the pastie recipe.

  13. Thanks for the answer on the cream - we have a local dairy that sells cream so I like find ways to use it!
    And I just wanted to say that I had a Skipper doll too - my mom thought she was a good alternative to Barbie, but as long as I had clothes to fool around with, I didn't care.

  14. Hi again Jenny,
    I made pasties tonight. My husband said "send that girl a comment". His words - "Superb, but better not have them too often, they can't be good for you". (We'd eat too many!)
    Thanks for the idea.

    I cooked up the filling a bit first (I don't trust my oven).
    Also I don't know if I used heaps more veg. than you, but I found 750g of butter puff pastry used only half the filling. That's good, the rest is in the freezer for next time.

  15. Your pastie recipe and photo sound and look delicious. I think you've inspired me to try making them -- they are also eaten in Michigan in the parts north of where I grew up.


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.