You can’t beat a proper cheese and onion pasty and, when served with piquant Microwave brown sauce (see here) it balances the pasty’s richness and screams ‘British’. You can always make more, as these are good cold and you could take one to work.
Next time try different cheeses … better still, if you have a few different cheeses in the fridge, try a cocktail of two or three: a cheese cocktail pasty.
3 large baking potatoes (or 600g leftover cooked potato or mash)
50g unsalted butter
2 red onions, finely chopped
250g vintage Cheddar, grated
10 sage leaves, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g packet puff pastry (use ready-rolled if you are short of time)
plain flour, to dust
2 egg yolks, beaten with a splash of whole milk
If you are starting with uncooked potatoes, pierce them with a fork and cook them on high power in the microwave for 15–20 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Turn them every 5 minutes. Cooking them in the microwave instead of boiling them means that they do not soak up any water and therefore keep all of their flavour. Leave until they are cool enough to handle.
While they cool, melt the butter in a large saucepan (it may seem strange to use a large saucepan but it will become your mixing bowl and therefore save washing up) and gently cook the onions until soft but without colour, then remove from the heat.
With a small knife, peel the potatoes; the skin will come off easily.
Add the peeled potatoes to the saucepan (or add your ready-cooked potato now if you are using leftovers) and mash with a potato masher. Don’t be too particular, as sometimes a few lumps give character. Remove from the heat.
Now fold in the cheese and sage and season well. Don’t be tempted to eat any of this, though it will be calling you; it’s for the pasties. Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/gas mark 3½.
Roll out the pastry on a floured worktop until large enough to make four x 20cm circles. Cut them out, then divide the filling between the middles of the circles. Brush egg around the edge of one side of each pastry circle, then bring both sides up and crimp together so the crimp runs along the top.
Brush the pasties with the egg, then sprinkle them with sea salt; don’t overdo it, you just want a few salt crunchies at the end. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20–30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Allow to cool a little and serve warm, or cool and eat later. (Even if you’re starving, wait, as straight out of the oven they can be volcanically hot.)