Leek and Caramelized Onion Pasties

January 03, 2018

If you haven't noticed, I'm posting Monday-Friday now and for the foreseeable future (apart from holidays). I think this is especially important in January to encourage some vegetable forward eating in this month when so many people embrace a healthier diet, and to share cozy recipes like this in among the salads! If you have any recipes you'd love to see, leave me a note in the comments and I'll add it into my schedule.

If you're from Cornwall, I apologize for taking your famous dish and making it vegan. I had an idea in my mind of a vegan cornish pasty and just couldn't shake it. Even though I've never eaten a cornish pasty, it's been featured often enough on bake off that it seems familiar. Nadia, a winner of bake off, got in deep trouble for daring to add peas to the classic recipe, so I'm sure vegan versions aren't appreciated, hah. I was asked for some good lunch recipes that don't need to be heated up for the new year, and this is one of them. These pasties are just as good cold as they are fresh out of the oven, and you can freeze them before baking if you want a handy option in the deep-freeze. The pastry doesn't fall apart as you eat and they're pretty sturdy so it's about as good of a portable option as you're going to get. 

The outer pocket is a coconut oil spelt pastry that's much easier to make than regular butter pastry, I think. You just pop it in the food processor and let it to the work, and no worries about temperature or anything. I know there are a lot of posts floating around that make coconut oil pastry seem very complicated and finicky, but I've been making it my food processor for years and it always turns out perfectly. Granted, it's not as flaky as butter pastry but it's a bit flaky, and a lot crispy. Perfect for pasties. The only trick is not to overfill the pasties so that you can close up the pocket, but you can always pull a bit of the filling out if need be.  

About the filling - I've chosen caramelized onions alongside leeks, peas, little white beans, and lemon, on top of a little hummus. I see several variations of this in my future (definitely mushrooms) but this is a great winter option using frozen peas with cold weather vegetables. If you don't want the extra step of caramelizing the onions, you can sauté them with the leeks instead. I encourage you to make a huge batch of caramelized onions and freeze the extras, though, because they're a great addition to just about everything. They do freeze well. And despite the time needed, they're not very much work - but they do take a good chunk of time, about an hour, so don't listen to bloggers that tell you they take 5 minutes! I cook mine in a good non-stick pan and work on other things while they're cooking, just stirring every once in a while.

If you're looking for another good vegan pastry recipe, check out my vegan holiday pie with hot water pastry.

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Leek and Caramelized Onion Pasties
Makes about six pasties

Caramelized Onions

1 teaspoon oil
6 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Place the oil and onions into a large nonstick pan and heat on low. Add the salt and pepper and cook for 50-60 minutes, or until soft and golden. They should not brown. Once the onions are caramelized, add the balsamic vinegar. Stir to lift any remaining sugars and remove from the heat. Set aside and freeze any leftovers that remain after filling the pasties.

Spelt Coconut Oil Pastry

2 cups spelt flour*
1 teaspoon coconut sugar
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup room temperature coconut oil
6-8 tablespoons cold water

Place the flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment. Pulse until combined. Add the coconut oil and pulse until sandy, then add the water a tablespoon at a time, pulsing between each addition. The finished pastry should be a little crumbly looking but come together easily when pressed.

Form a disc with the pastry and wrap it in something to keep the moisture in (I like beeswax wrap). Set it aside, at room temperature, while you prepare the filling.

Pasty Filling

1 teaspoon oil
1 medium leek, cut into 1 cm rounds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Juice of a lemon
1/2 cup little white beans, cooked
1/2 cup caramelized onions
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup hummus

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the leek and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened. Stir in the salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add the beans, onion, and peas, and stir to combine. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to about 5mm and cut large rounds, about 15cm*. Place a tablespoon of hummus on each round and top with a couple tablespoons of the pastry filling. Repeat, rolling out any leftover pastry, until it's been used up. 

To close the pastries, use a finger or brush to slightly dampen the outer ring of the pastry round. Pinch each pastry closed, starting at one corner and moving around to the other. Use a fork to crimp the edge and seal the pasty. If it tears slightly don't worry, it shouldn't open up much in the oven. Brush the pasties with an egg wash if desired to help with browning. Continue until all the pasties are sealed, then place them on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until crisp. Serve hot or keep leftovers in a sealed container for up to 2 days.

• Freeze unbaked pasties in a well-sealed container and bake from frozen if you don't want to make the whole batch.
• I used an egg-wash on the outside of the pasties, but it's not about taste, just appearance. Adding an egg wash makes them golden, and not including it will result in a slightly lighter pastry.

1. I make this pastry with a mix of different spelt flours. Here I did half whole and half light, but it works well with fully light and whole spelt as well. Avoid bread flour.
2. I used a cereal bowl to make the round imprints in the pastry and then cut them out with a butterknife. If you've been blessed with a nice pastry cutter, and you can use that instead.

2 comments on "Leek and Caramelized Onion Pasties "
  1. Made these. Impressed all my friends. Thank you. Will make again and try w mushrooms.

    1. I'm so happy to hear that, Nicky! They'd be amazing with mushrooms, great idea.