Making my own pastry is a thundering pain in the arsicle, but it allows me to use good-quality fat like butter instead of highly processed oils with no nutritional value. So when I discovered Irish butter pastry in the frozen section of my local grocer, my brain started twerking. It felt like an update being installed into my over-booked schedule. This is my kind of fast food.
I’ve since tarted around with all sorts of frozen, ready-made pastry sheets, healthy or otherwise, and have concluded they are an excellent catalyst for using leftovers and fighting food waste — while slipstreaming industrial amounts of green veg into my children.
You’re looking for a sheet of pastry weighing around 300g so work with what you have, whether it’s home-made or store-bought.
Leftovers have never been so sexy.
You will need:
1 ready-made frozen or chilled pastry sheet (I prefer shortcrust)
2 handfuls of cooked veg
60g grated Cheddar or other cheese
½ vegetarian burger or vegan white pudding (optional), crumbled
1 If your pastry sheet is frozen, defrost it in the fridge for 6 hours, and not at room temperature — even if the manufacturer’s guideline says it’s OK to do so; I find defrosting it in the fridge gives a much better result.
2 Next, make the pie filling. In a large bowl, tumble the cooked veg with your grated cheese and crumbled pieces of vegetarian burger or vegan white pudding, whichever you’re using, if you are using it. If you have lots of leftover veg, you won’t need the extra meatiness from a veggie burger or white pudding. I love Clonakilty’s vegan white pudding, which is made from oats and herbs — it’s awesome. (When I don’t have leftover veg, I fry 200g sliced mushrooms and 4 garlic cloves for this recipe, to tumble with the cheese and the vegan white pudding.)
3 Preheat your oven to 200C, 400F, Gas 6, and pop your largest roasting tray inside to heat up.
4 Unfurl the chilled or defrosted pastry sheet, and leave on its convenient baking paper. Arrange the pie filling across one-half of the cold pastry sheet. Fold the other half of the pastry sheet over the top, encasing the filling. Pinch at the seams to close. I like to use the imprint of a fork all along the side of the pie to do this. I don’t use the traditional egg wash, as I find the pastry darkens too quickly and I end up taking the pastry pie out before it is fully cooked.
5 Hold the baking paper taut with both hands, and carefully transfer your pastry treasure to the preheated roasting tin. This trick ensures that you don’t end up with a soggy bottom. Pop the tray back into the preheated oven and cook the pie for up to 25 minutes until it is golden brown. Remove from the oven and carefully lift the parchment paper and pastry onto a wire rack to cool. Once cool, cut into slices. Serve beside a sharp green salad, or pack in paper towels for school lunch boxes the next day.