mint and currant pasties

June 21, 2015

This Father’s Day – I’m remembering my father; a tall, strapping Englishman, with a thick Yorkshire accent. He grew up in the tiny village of Mytholmroyd and went to school with the young Ted Hughes (later the Poet Laureate of Britain) before my father was sent off to a boarding school in West Yorkshire. 

Harry and me

my father and I

My father was what some people might describe as feisty. He was a mad keen hiker and mountaineer. He had an ongoing love affair with France and loved charging around the French countryside driving a Citroen at breakneck speeds. He was an engineer who believed relentlessly in the power of science and logic. He was whip smart. He battled three different types of cancer before he eventually succumbed. I never, ever remember him complaining about being ill or in pain. He was stoic and proud to the bitter end.

As a child, I remember my father arriving home from work practically shouting, “What’s for dinner?” Followed quickly by, “What’s for pud?”  There was very little my father didn’t like. He was fond of traditional English food – sausages, roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, overcooked vegetables, English cheeses, and steamed puddings like jam roly-poly and spotted Dick. But he also loved the food of Europe, especially France – the cheese, the olives, the wine, the charcuterie, good bread, fresh fruit, cakes, rustic tarts, elegant seafood, omelettes, French sausages, cassoulet, wild mushrooms, coq au vin, slow-cooked leg of lamb, pissaladière… He had a taste for blood sausage and liverwurst and chicken liver pate. He liked offal in part because he disliked seeing anything wasted. My father simply loved food. And he was one of those incredibly lucky people with a metabolism revving at such a rate that he never really gained a pound.

My father lived to eat and ate to live. He celebrated life with food. His life was a series of food stories. When I fought with my father he almost always apologized for arguing with me by bringing me chocolate. When he was dying, he recounted in great detail all the food from his youth. And when he traveled, he would eat where the locals ate – trying whatever they were having – sometimes just pointing at the plates of the other diners and miming. Once, while in France, he ate saucisson d’âne and only when he got back to his hotel room and looked up the word âne, did he realize he’d just eaten donkey sausage. He was remorseful because in his youth he had worked on a farm with donkeys and grew fond of them.

So this Father’s day, I got up and with no planning, I wandered into my garden, thought about my father, looked at the mint, and then made these very old-fashioned mint and currant pasties – a great favourite of my father’s.

mint and currant pasties with tea

Mint and Currant Pasties

  • Servings: approx 24 pasties
  • Print

For the shortcut pastry:

  • 225 grams (just less than 1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 100 grams (just less than 1/2 cup) cold butter, cubed
  • 3-4 tbsp water
  • salt if you’re using unsalted butter

For the filling:

  • 2/3 cup dried black currants, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup mint leaves, packed, washed and dried
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar such as turbinado or demerara (or brown sugar)

First, make the pastry. Place the flour (and salt if you’re using it) in a mixing bowl, and add the butter. Using a pastry knife, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles clumpy breadcrumbs. Add 3 tbsp water and gently fold the mixture with a spoon until it pulls together. If necessary, add more water, 1 tbsp at a time. Don’t get the dough wet. Knead the dough gently on a floured board until all the flour is incorporated then let it sit while you prepare the filling.

Using a multi-blade herb cutter (I don’t have one) or scissors or your food processor on pulse only, chop the washed mint. Mix the mint, currants, and sugar together. Set aside.

Roll the pastry until it is very thin, on a large, floured surface. Using a large lid or small bowl, cut circles approximately four inches in diameter. Place a tablespoon of the mint mixture into the centre of each pasty. Dip your fingers in a small bowl of cold water and gently dampen around the edge of the pastry. Fold the pastry circle in half and crimp the edges with a fork. Place on a greased tray lined with parchment. Pierce the top with the tines of a fork.

Bake the pasties at 350 deg F until they are browned. I think this was about 20 minutes although I forgot to time them. In hindsight I’d brush the tops with milk so that they brown nicely but I was experimenting here – simply working on the memory of my mother’s mint and currant pasties.

the pastry knife

pastry circles

unbaked pasties

baked pasties

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13 Comments

  • Reply Stacey Bender June 21, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    Well no wonder you are so fond of food and wonderful at cooking and writing about it today! What a lovely recount of your Father!

    • Reply love in the kitchen June 21, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      Aw Stacey – aren’t you a wonderful gem. Thank you! Lovely to hear from you. xo

  • Reply aodonovan June 21, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Lindy,,,you create such an amazing emotional connection whenever you write. Thank you for this beautiful post,,,our Dads should have met each other! And I’m with you on the apostrophe.,,Happy Fathers’ Day.

    • Reply love in the kitchen June 21, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Amanda – how wonderful to hear from you. Thank you for the beautiful comment. Happy Fathers’ Day with love to our fathers – right back to you! <3

  • Reply apuginthekitchen June 21, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    I think your loving tribute to your Father is just beautiful, he sounds like a wonderful man and was a great influence in your life. The pasties are lovely and I am so sure he is smiling down on you as you enjoy one of his favorite treats. BTW, I think our Fathers would have liked each other very much. My Dad was an Engineer/Scientist, believed deeply in logic, science and learning and also loved food. He was an incredible gardener. I can remember foraging for mushrooms with him and he enjoyed nothing more than driving his convertible MG sports car, very fast. Beatuiful post!!

  • Reply Kitsch n flavours June 21, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    How wonderful that you were surrounded by food, and those who loved it so much. And you seem to have those kind, wide apart eyes of your father.
    On the other hand, I could admonish! Overcooked vegetables…or maybe that was an English thing. Certainly wasn’t where I grew up. But, where your father loved trying new foods the Muttering Patriarch would make such a fuss with something as simple as garlic – everything had to be plain. Admittedly most foods were free range and local – tasted of real food.
    What a combination. I’m now so curious! Seriously, fresh mint with currants? That I’ve got to try.

  • Reply Hilda June 21, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    You give a wonderful account of your father – lovely to read. I love those pasties. I have never had mint that way, but I would love to give it a try.

  • Reply chef mimi June 29, 2015 at 11:59 am

    What a sweet post. Just lovely. And fabulous pastries.

  • Reply thesnowwoman July 30, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    These pasties sound interesting!

  • Reply Amanda | What's Cooking July 30, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    You are a natural born story-teller. I’m sorry i’m so late to the game here, but I’ve been in Mexico most of the year with limited connectivity. What a cute photo of you. Every time you tell an anecdote you really create the mood and I get sucked right in. Loving your website And can we talk about these pastries?! I think I want to do a version of this with peaches! Thanks for sharing the recipe and your beautiful memories.

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske August 3, 2015 at 4:10 pm

      Amanda – late to the game is the story of my life! I can only imagine how you’re managing to live a life between two cities. Exciting but overwhelming and exhausting – I would imagine. A life fully-lived though the travel logistics and minutiae must get tiresome.
      Thanks for dropping by Amanda and for the lovely comment. So appreciated. xx

  • Reply Anonymous June 19, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Approved by my husband from yorkshire, and by me….delicious.

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske June 19, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      Oh I’m so glad! And lovely to hear from you – thank you!!

    I'd love to hear from you...

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