Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Country VIII: Wales

I've always wanted to visit Wales, and I was really excited to try some of Wales' traditional food. I found a recipe for Cynhwysion or in English: Leek Pasty. It was basically a big turnover of sorts. Two pie crusts filled with leeks, bacon and butter and baked on a cookie sheet. Super easy and ridiculously delicious. DH and I really liked this recipe, it's definitely a keeper. We didn't even have any leftovers.
First you start off with a simple pie crust recipe:

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt, then cut in the shortening until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add cold water slowly, mixing with your fingers, until it all comes together into a nice dough. Divide the dough in half and roll it out to about the size of a large dinner plate. I made this easy by rolling it out really big, and then laying one of my dinner plates upside down on the dough and cutting around it. Nice and uniform and perfect.
Lay the first pastry on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Now the filling:

Now, this recipe called for 6 leeks. I'm not sure how big this dinner plate of theirs was, but there was no way I was fitting 6 leeks into my dinner plate size. I chopped up three, and I ended up with this:

I wasn't even able to fit all that on the crust. So, yes, now I have a whole bunch of chopped leek that I'm going to have to figure out something to do with. Maybe another mini blog will come of that problem.
Anyway, put as many chopped leeks as you can fit onto your bottom pie crust, leaving the edges clear.
Cut a couple bacon slices in half and lay over top of the leeks. Dot the whole thing with butter.

Now, lay the top crust over that, and seal the edges. You may need to use a little water to get them to stick together, then press the edges with a fork.

Looks kind of like a big upside down potpie I guess. Prick a couple holes in the top to allow steam to escape. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. I brushed the top with melted butter when it had a about 5 minutes left, to help it get nice and golden brown.
I cannot begin to describe how comfortingly delicious this was. I'll definitely be making this again when the really cold weather gets here. Wales day was indeed a great success.

Cynhwysion (Leek Pasty)

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup shortening
a pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
6 leeks (I only used about 2.5)
4 slices bacon (I only used 2.5)
black pepper to taste
2 Tbs. butter (plus more for crust if desired)

Sift flour, salt and baking powder together in a large bowl. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add just enough cold water to form a dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and halve. Roll the halves out till they are both the size of a large dinner plate. Wash leek well before chopping them finely (you'll want to remove about 2 inches of the white part and about 4 inches of the dark green part).
Place one pastry on a lightly greased baking tray, then scatter leeks on top, leaving edge of pastry clear. Lay bacon on top of leeks, season with salt and pepper, and dot with butter. Lay second pastry on top, and crimp down edges, using the tines of a fork. Prick the top of pastry. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or till golden. If you wish, brush the crust with melted butter when there are 5 minutes remaining.

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