I seldom have trouble going to sleep at night. By the time I go to bed I’m so tired from the obvious strain that anorexia puts on my body that I’m asleep within minutes. However, staying asleep, now that’s a whole different matter. I wake a lot in the night and during those waking hours I do a lot of thinking. Aside from the obvious “oh for goodness sake JUST FALL ASLEEP,” I’m often thinking up new recipes. This one came to me recently and I’ve been working up to putting it into operation. The excitement of launching the site spurred me on and today I did it. It largely followed what I’d come up with save for a couple of additions as I went along and I’m definitely pleased with the result. They taste great (he says with a sizeable battering from the thought police…ahem) and I haven’t seen a single recipe like it out there. So, please give it a whirl! Ladies & gents, lovers of Bavarian cuisine, or just a good ol’ pie – Brats n Cheddar pies.
For the hot crust pastry
400g plain flour
80g strong white plain flour
80g unsalted butter
100g lard (melted)
1 & ½ tsps salt
200ml boiling water
1 beaten egg (for glazing)
For the filling
4 bratwurst sausages
2 sweet red peppers (finely chopped)
1 medium sized white onion (finely chopped)
150g mature cheddar cheese (grated)
1/2 can chopped plum tomatoes
1 tsp garlic granules
1-2 tsps English mustard powder
salt & pepper to season
Pre-heat your oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7
Have a 12 hole muffin tin ready (no need to grease it) or 8 pork pie tins
First, cook your bratwursts. I grill mine but you can do them in the frying pan. In fact there are places in Germany that deep fry them. In my early childhood I lived in Germany for a couple of years and we used to have ‘bratties & chips’ from the ‘bratty wagon’ on a Friday night! I digress. Gently fry off the peppers & onions in a pan just to soften them and add the tomatoes. Put them into a large bowl and put to one side. Finely chop up the bratwurst and add them to the peppers, onions and tomatoes. Add the cheese into this mixture, stir in the garlic granules, mustard powder and season with salt & pepper. Put all this to one side until you are ready to fill your pies.
To make the pastry, add both flours to a large bowl and rub in the butter. Add the salt to the boiling water so that it dissolves. Add the melted lard into the boiling water/salt and then pour this into the flour mixture. Initially, because it will be HOT, mix this with a spoon so that the pastry starts to form. Once cool enough take the dough out of the bowl and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Work the dough into a ball. Roll it out to a thickness of around 1cm and then cut into circles of around 10cms, enough to fit each “well” of the muffin tin. Press these into the muffin tins and then cut out another 12 circles of around 8cms for the lids of the pies.
Fill each pie case with around 2-3 tablespoons of the prepared brats n cheddar mixture but be careful not to overfill, you don’t want it to burst through the lid during baking. Add your lids and crimp the edges to the body of the pies. Make a hole in the top of each pie to let steam escape during baking. Finally brush some of the beaten egg over the top of each pie so that you get that lovely golden finish when they are cooked. Pop them in the oven and bake for 50 minutes.
Remove each pie from the muffin tin asap (or pork pie tins if you’re using them – I do) and transfer to wire tray for cooling.