Quince and cornish yarg pastries

Quince and cornish yarg pastries

By
From
How to Cook Pastry
Makes
6
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

A delicious variation of traditional Eccles cakes for those who like a savoury/fruit combination. Ideal to take on a picnic, they can be also be made smaller as canapés. If quince are unavailable, substitute firm pears.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Rough puff pastry
extra flour, to dust
1 egg

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
1 small quince, (about 300g)
60g pecan nuts
20g unsalted butter
3 tablespoons marsala
2 tablespoons verjuice, (see note)
1 1/2 tablespoons runny honey
85g cornish yarg cheese
salt
freshly ground black pepper

To finish

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Method

  1. Roll out the chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 3mm thickness. Using a plain cutter or saucer as a template, cut out 6 discs, 12.5cm in diameter. Place on a baking sheet, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
  2. Peel, core and cut the quince into pea-sized dice. Roughly chop the pecans and set aside. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the quince, Marsala and verjuice. Cook, uncovered, over a gentle heat for 10–15 minutes, or until the quince is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
  3. Stir the honey and chopped pecans into the quince. Increase the heat and allow to bubble for a minute or two, or until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and the quince is beginning to caramelise. Season with salt and pepper, taste the mixture and add a little more honey or verjuice if necessary; it should be a good balance of sweet and sour. Crumble in the cheese and set aside to cool completely.
  4. Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge and place 1 tbsp of the cooled filling on the middle of each pastry disc. Dampen the edges of the pastry lightly with a little water, then bring the edges up and around the filling and squeeze into a money bag shape, making sure the filling is completely sealed in. Trim away the excess pastry using scissors, cutting as close to the filling as possible without exposing it.
  5. Turn the pies over and flatten a little with your fingers, or roll lightly with a rolling pin, just until the filling is visible beneath the pastry.
  6. Cover with cling film and chill on the baking sheet in the fridge until firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 220°C.
  7. Using a fork, lightly beat the egg with a small pinch of salt and pass through a sieve into a small bowl. Brush the pies with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
  8. Using scissors, make a large snip in the pastry on the top of each pie. Make a second snip across the first snip, to open up the pastry in a small cross and reveal a little filling.
  9. Bake near the top of the oven for 20–25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through, particularly on the underside; there should be no grey patches. The baking sheet can be moved to a lower oven shelf once the pastry has set, to prevent over-browning. Transfer the pies to a wire rack to cool and eat while still slightly warm or at room temperature.

A note on verjuice...

  • This is a really useful cooking ingredient if you can find it. It is pressed, unripe fruit juice, usually apple, crab apple or grape, and has great acidity as well as a lovely fruity flavour. If unavailable, use a mixture of apple and lemon juice or dry white wine instead.
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