Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cooking the Books with K: Harry Potter Pumpkin Pasties

A tea cup out to good use.
It could be said that K overfilled the pasties.

When we first discussed our Cook from the Books project, one of K's requests was something from Harry Potter. Despite being resistant to the books for several years, at some point they became favorites. She will tell anyone interested that "Harry Potter is awesome." To be honest, she will talk about Harry Potter whether or not one is interested. Her Halloween costume this year is Ginny Weasley. The current plan is that I will also be a Harry Potter character, so if anyone has a loaner robe, please let me know. K even owns a copy of The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, as well as the highly recommended Harry Potter Uno.

Last night, we sat down to decide on our recipe. After some debate between lemon meringue pie and pumpkin pasties, the pumpkin won out. In Harry Potter, Pumpkin Pasties are a wizarding food sold on the Hogwarts Express food trolley, and were enjoyed by Harry and Ron on their first trip to school. Essentially pie crust with a pumpkin filling, they seem just the thing to comfort nervous students on the way to adventure.

What are pasties? Well, I remember eating and enjoying the beef filled version as a child. Epicurious tells me that: "Named after Cornwall, England, these savory TURNOVERS consist of a short-crust pastry enfolding a chopped meat-and-potato filling. Other vegetables and sometimes fish are also used. In the 18th and 19th centuries, pasties were the standard lunch of Cornwall's tin miners. It was common to place a savory mixture in one end and an apple mixture in the other so both meat and dessert could be enjoyed in the same pasty."
--© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst

Pumpkin Pasties

Adapted from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook
Cooking with K is all about changing recipes, mainly to simplify, but also to better suit her taste. The original recipe called for shortening in addition to butter, but we opted for all butter. We adjusted the spices and substituted the last of our roasted squash/pumpkin mixture from last fall's Mariquita Mystery boxes. We used a mixer rather than a food processor, because, well, it was already out. We also ended up using a bit extra pumpkin, as someone got a bit overexcited with the grating of the nutmeg.

Pastry Crust
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 T granulated sugar
1/4 t salt
8 T cold butter, cut into chunks
4 to 6 T ice water

1 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 T ground nutmeg
1/4 T ground cinnamon

Plus 1 T sugar for sprinkling

Place the flour sugar and salt in the bowl of a mixer. Mix until combined. Add the butter to the bowl and mix until it resembles "coarse yellow meal." Add 4 T ice water and mix on low until it clumps. If it is too dry, add more water. We ended up with 6 T. Pat the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.

For the filling:
Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Roll out the dough an 1/8 inch thick. Use a tea cup to cut out 6 circles. Put 2-3 T in the filling in the center of each circle of dough. Moisten the edges with water and pull the dough over the filling and crimp with a fork to seal the edges. Note that we had a bit of filling leftover. It made a lovely snack. Cut slits (in our case Ks) to make vents. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake on an ungreased cookies sheet for 30 minutes or until browned.

Makes seven pasties. (The recipe claims six.)


  1. I love this list because it is so British and I've read less than half of these:,,2290902,00.html

    But, I'd certainly agree with the Pippi Longstocking, pancakes and other Swedish foods. My mom used to make the Raspberry cordial just like in Anne of Green Gables, and I was permitted tastes at brunch, and to add a capful or two into whipped cream. Or what about Heidi and swiss food? Fondue?

  2. And... I totally noticed that you did Anne of Green Gables a few posts ago.. sheesh.

  3. I like the fondue idea. I wonder if she'd try it? We have items selected from The Little House, Mary Poppins and Secret garden cookbooks, but the British list is fun. Clearly time for more research.