Spicy Minced Meat Puffs

If you read my earlier post on Strawberry Tarts, you’ll know that I owe this one to Kamran Siddiqi of the sophisticated gourmet, whose quick puff pastry recipe makes these puffs what they are… buttery, incredibly flaky and oh so delicious. Kamran’s pastry recipe is neutral and can be used for both sweet and savoury tarts or puffs, and in this recipe it provides a perfect home for the spicy minced meat filling, tempering down the heat of the ground spices and the chillies. I couldn’t stop eating them.

For the Spicy Mince filling you will need –

1 1/2 cups of beef mince (you can use chicken or vegetables)

I medium red onion – minced

*1 1/2 teaspoon cumin

*20 black peppercorns (you can use less if you like)

*5 cloves

*(dry roast and pound in a mortar)

1 teaspoon ginger garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon paprika

4 green chillies – chopped (you can use less and remove the seeds if you like it less spicy)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

squeeze of lime

3 tablespoons chopped coriander

Fry the onion in the oil for 5 – 7 minutes till light golden. Add the salt and continue to fry for 2 – 3 minutes on a medium flame.

Add the chopped chillies and all the ground and powdered  spices and roast for 3 – 4 minutes on a very low flame, stirring constantly. Be very careful that the spices do not burn.

Finally add in the minced meat and roast it along with the spices, before adding in a 1/4 cup of warm water and cook the mince covered for about 15 – 20 minutes or till all the liquid has evaporated.

Add the lime juice and the fresh chopped coriander and turn off the flame. Allow the minced meat to cool completely before using it in the puffs.

For the Puffs –

You will need 1 egg for the egg wash, apart from the puff pastry dough.

Roll out the dough to about 3 – 4mm thickness and cut into squares 31/2″ x 31/2″. Place about a tablespoonful of the minced meat in the centre of each square and brush the edges with egg wash.

Fold over to make a triangle.

Brush the tops of the puffs with the egg wash and bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C for 35 – 40 minutes until the crust turns golden brown.

These puffs make great party snacks or even an evening treat… and are perfect for a light lunch served with a side of lettuce, sliced red radish and red onion rings in a light vinaigrette dressing.

And believe me when I say that they taste even better than they look!

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Strawberry Tarts

I love pastry, especially flaky pastry… never mind the loads of butter and the the griping about the hips. Because as my grandma once said, “they’re family hips child”. So if anyone wants to know… I got hips in my legacy. And I’ve learned to live with it.

But getting right back to pastry, I’ve been dying to make puff pastry ever since I could say… Julia Child. But making a pâté feuilletée from scratch is no small task. In fact if you follow Julia’s directives, a regular pâté feuilletée should have 73 layers and a pâté feuilletée fine 730 layers.

Merde!

Now pardon my French, s’il vous plait, but I honestly got intimidated by the prospect of 73 layers, let alone 730. Here I am, standing 5′ 3″ and no where near the build of that great dame. I mean seriously, think of all the muscle that has to go into rolling out pastry dough. And before I cuss again I think I should get on with letting you in on how I finally managed to crack the code. All with the help of a young man named Kamran Siddiqi and his website, the sophisticated gourmet.

“Thanks Kam for the easy puff pastry recipe”… because voilà, suddenly the ghost of Julia lifted and I was hands deeps in mounds of fine white flour and yellow knobs of frozen butter. And life was looking up.

So here’s my modest attempt at a Strawberry Tart. I had planned to put in a splash of balsamic, but since I was going to take some across for my mother who cannot have anything tart at the moment (and no… that doesn’t include tarts… oh! never mind!) I decided to go without either balsamic or lemon juice and simply dredged the fruit in icing sugar, topping the strawberries with fresh rosemary.

I was so wrapped up in making the dough that I forgot to take any pictures, but my camera happy finger got back into action once it was time to roll out the pastry

Doesn’t everything look lovely with icing sugar?

P is for Pastry, Pies, Puffs… err..Quiche???

An ode to Pies, Puffs, Quiche n Pastry in general…

To butter, shortening, lard, flour, cold hands and everything else that goes into making them the treat they are…

To finally mastering the art of the perfect pâté feuilletée some day soon…

And to Julia Child, who despite being the messiest cook there was on camera, will remain the grand dame of French Cuisine.