I think this post might be my biggest tribute to my Grandmas baking yet. She was a pretty decent cook, although she mostly stuck to the ‘meat and two veg’ type recipes of her era, but my goodness was she a good baker.
This was especially true when it came to pastry. It was always faultless, whether it was sweet or savoury and always perfectly flaky and melt in the mouth.
If she was making pastry then my brother and I would loiter in her kitchen, waiting for the off-cuts to turn into little pasties filled with her homemade jam. The hardest part of making these is waiting for them to cool when they come out of the oven so that you don’t burn your mouth on the bubbling hot jam.
300g plain flour
1/4 nutmeg (grated)
2 tbsp brandy (optional – you can just use water if you prefer)
splash of ice-cold water
150g (ish) cherry jam
75g (ish) mascarpone
egg wash and a little extra sugar to finish
To make the pastry sift the flour and gently rub the cold butter into it until you have a breadcrumb-like mixture. Whisk in the sugar. Slowly add the brandy and enough water to bring this all together to form a ball of dough. You can do all this in a food processor if you prefer. Wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for 20 minutes before pre-heating the oven to 180°c.
Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough so that it’s a couple of millimetres thick. Using a small plate or saucer as a guide, cut out discs from the dough, re-rolling as necessary. Add a small dollop of jam and a little blob of mascarpone to the centre of each disc. Try to resist the urge to be too greedy with the amount of filling, it will undoubtedly bubble out so you don’t really want more than a teaspoon in there. Brush the edge of the dough with beaten egg, fold the pastry over the filling and firmly press down the edges. Crimp the edge or simply press around it with a fork.
Brush each little pasty with egg wash and sprinkle them with a little sugar. Arrange on a greased baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes until they’re beautifully golden. Leave them to cool a little before enjoying.