These can be made with bought puff pastry or the Crème Fraîche Pastry listed below. They are excellent hot or cold – but the Venison needs to be marinated the day before needed.
It’s worth making 8 pasties, rather than a smaller quantity, as any not needed can be frozen before baking – then thawed and used another day
For 8 pasties:
650gof diced venison
Salt and freshly-ground Black Pepper
For the meat marinade:
225g/½ lb Carrots, peeled and finely-diced
1 big Onion, peeled and finely-diced
1 sprig of fresh thyme or 1 big pinch of dried Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
the grated zest of 2 Lemons
about 20 Juniper Berries, crushed
6 tablespoons (90ml) Vegetable Oil
450ml/16 fl oz Port
2 lbs of Puff Pastry or 2 batches of Crème Fraiche Pastry
For the filling:
1 heaped tablespoon (20ml) of Redcurrant Jelly
50g/2 oz Pistachio Nuts, peeled
30g/1 oz Parsley
8 slices of cooked Ham 3mm/1/8 in thick, then each slice cut into 16 x 3 in (7.5cm) discs
Salt and freshly-ground Black Pepper
For the Sauce:
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
Juice and grated zest of 2 Oranges
1 x 250g jar of Cranberry Sauce
For glazing the pies:
1 large Egg Yolk
1 tablespoon cold water
a big pinch of Salt
1. Combine the meat in a big bowl with the marinade ingredients, cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. If making the pastry, this can also be done the day before.
3. To make the Sauce: The next day, put the balsamic vinegar, orange juice and the zest in a small pan and reduce to 2 tablespoons.
4. Stir the cranberry sauce in to dissolve.
5. Cool and spoon into a bowl, then cover and put aside – covered with cling wrap.
6. Strain the marinade liquid from the venison into a saucepan, discarding the thyme, bay leaves and juniper berries – but putting the carrots and onions back in.
7. Bring this liquid to the boil, then simmer until there’s about 4 fl oz/90ml left – this will take about 5 minutes.
8. Stir the redcurrant jelly in, remove from the heat and seasom with salt and pepper.
9. Mix the pistachios and chopped parsley in a bowl.
10. Mix the egg yolks, water and salt for the glaze together.
11. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to 1/8th of an inch (3mm), and using a 4½ in/11.5cm round cutter stamp out 8 discs; then stamp out a further 8, using a 6 in/15cm cutter. If you don’t have cutters of these sizes, improvise using saucers and plates instead, and cutting round them.
12. Re-roll any scraps of pastry to get the required number of discs.
13. Cut 40 decorative crescents from the pastry remnants using a fluted cutter – or cut them out freehand (this is optional, and for decoration only).
14. To assemble the pasties: Take 2 baking sheets, and lightly grease and flour them.
15. Place 4 of the smaller discs on each, evenly spaced.
16. Divide half the venison between them, leaving a ¾ in/2cm border around the edges, then lightly season the meat.
17. Next lay a disc of ham on top, divide the pistachio/parsley mixture between them and then top with another disc of ham.
18. Spoon the rest of the venison on and season lightly again.
19. Brush the edges of the pastry with water and cover the pasties with the remaining larger rounds of pastry.
20. Press the edges together with the prongs of a fork, then use the back of a kitchen knife to flute the rim at ¾ in/2cm intervals, to give a petal-like appearance.
21. Make a small hole in the centre of each pastie with a skewer and stick the decorative pieces of pastry around it with water (if using).
22. Glaze the pasties with the egg glaze, being careful not to block the central hole.
23. Chill the pasties in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes to allow the pastry to relax; and heat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7.
24. Bake the pastries (in batches if necessary) for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 and cook for a further 15 minutes.
25. Warm the marinade and diced vegetables in a saucepan, then remove the pasties from the oven, and share this out between the pasties, by pouring it through the central hole – enlarging it a little if necessary.
26. Return the pasties to the oven for a further 5 minute or until attractively brown.
Serve the pasties with a little ‘Cranberry, Balsamic and Orange Sauce’.
See Crème Fraîche Pastry