September 30, 2014

The Pumpkin Pasty: Sweet or Savoury?

A pasty is savoury. Full. Stop. 

No arguments. A pasty is savoury. It is pastry shell filled with a savoury filling.

Everybody got that? 


Just in case you haven't, I'll go over it one more time. A pasty is a savoury thing. 

Actually, just once more. Pasties have savoury fillings. 

That is pasties have a filling which is not sweet. 

So when in Harry Potter they talk about Pumpkin Pasties on the Hogwart's Express, I don't think that they are talking about some sort of handheld pumpkin pie. Its a pasty. It is not a pie. 

However, I saw a post on line (can't remember where, sorry) that said that it is commonly assumed that the pumpkin pasty is sweet. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? There are soooooo not sweet. I mean really, what? Sweet? Nada. Apparently something to do with it almost being a pumpkin pie, and also the fact that it being sold on a trolley which seems to be predominately sweets...

Nah... Sorry, ain't buying it. You get a load of sweets on the trolley on real trains (of course, I'm not saying that the Hogwart's Express isn't real...) but you also get sandwiches and crisps. So, I am making an executive discussion (okay, I have no authority to make such a decision, but...) that they are SAVOURY. I mean, there a pasty for goodness sake. 

So I decided that I would just have to make my own, most definitely savoury pumpkin pasties. This has nothing to do with the fact that there is a can of pumpkin that is sitting in the cupboard calling my name for well over a year now. I was too ill last year to use said can of pumpkin. Plus, me and my Mom couldn't find a recipe that we both liked for pumpkin pie. So... I am opening the can!

I have never used canned pumpkin before. Neither can I remember anyone using canned pumpkin before. But all my favourite bloggers love canned pumpkin, and I have been itching to open it and delve into the world of orange delight. 

Plus, it's either do something with the canned pumpkin, or I do something with my butternut squash, but I just look and think... I'm too tired. 

So, back to pumpkin pasties. And how to make it a definitely savoury pasty. Apart from anything else, I'm not that big on really salty stuff, so, how to make it savoury?

Well, for a start, I am banning all pumpkin pie spice. And cinnamon. And ginger. Yes, I'm even banning the fresh ginger that normally goes into savoury recipes. And anything that is going to add any sweetness or bring out the sweetness in the, to be honest, very sweet pumpkin. 

So... what ads savoury notes? Well.... how about some fresh, green taste from some herbs. Fresh herbs taste too strong for me at the moment, so we will have a look at the herb rack... Basil? Nah, I don't want an Italian pasty. Oregano... May-be (I am unconvinced) Parsley? Well... to be honest I have run out of options now, so we'll use parsley. Parsley's kinda a universal herb right? So we'll role. 

Now, I don't want a garlicky pasty; especially if you take them in your lunchbox. So... what else can we use if we aren't using garlic? Now, I appreciate that you are all much better cooks then I am, so my ramblings are no doubt annoying. So ignore me... but I do find that onion adds a very savoury note. I've never heard of onion ice cream for example... 

So we have onion and parsley. Now... I want to add a bit of a kick... No, I don't want to turn this into a spicy pasty, I just want it to have a bit of hot to counteract the sweetness. So, lets add some black pepper and some smoked paprika- and lets hope that creates a smokey peppery note not a hot one. 

One of the surprisingly vegan supermarket finds almost everyone knows about is puff pastry sheets. Now, I am all for homemade, but quite frankly, they wouldn't be anywhere near as good if the pastry was homemade. So.... it's not. (Surprise surprise).

Mini pastries are good to put in a lunchbox for an occasional treat. For a start, theres no crusts to be left when the box comes home (well, there kind of is but let's ignore that fact). They are a make the night before ordeal. They can be frozen and taken out as needed. You can make bigger ones for bigger appetites and smaller ones for smaller appetites. 

And if you really must, you can make a sweet pumpkin pasty. 

Pumpkin Pasties (I made 5)
  • 1 package puff pastry sheet
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 unbelievably small onion- basically a shallot- or half a onion (less than that for a large onion)
  • Several grinds pepper
  • 1/2 t Smoked Paprika
  • 1t Parsley
  • 1/2 t savoury seasoning of choice (i.e. vegan Worcester sauce)
  • Preheat the oven to 200C. 
  • Measure out the pumpkin into a jug
  • Chop the onion into a very small dice
  • Saute the onion until cooked. I didn't do this step- however, that left my pasty tasting of raw onion- so I'm going to have to leave the logistics of this step to you!

  • Add the COOKED onion to the jug and mix in

  • Add the seasonings and mix together well

  • Roll out the pastry. Yes, I know it comes pre rolled, but if- like me- you're making small pasties, you don't want the puff to puffy. 

  • Cut circles about 4-6 inches diameter. Place a 'blob' (yes, so technical) of filling in the centre of each circle. Fold over or bring both sides up to join, then seal the edges- either by crimping or edging with a fork.

  • Place on a baking sheet and cook for about 20-30 mins. It all depends on your pastry and the size of your pasties. They should be mostly a golden brown colour, and probably have dark edges


You don't have to make individual pasties if you aren't packing these in a lunchbox. If you want a larger pie, spread the filling in the bottom of a ovenproof dish (you quite probably will want to double the filling) and lay the pastry across the top in one sheet. (Or cut out shapes and have them floating in the pumpkin).


  1. Good call on going savoury, a pumpkin pasty definitely wouldn't be sweet!

  2. My point entirely!!! Do you think if I wrote to J. K. Rowling about it she'd reply?