Why It Works
- The dough is loaded with butter and colored with curry to ensure it bakes up flaky and vibrantly hued.
- The deeply-flavorful ground beef filling is stippled with onion, garlic, and Scotch bonnet peppers and loaded with curry, allspice, and thyme.
It's been a weird summer in the Midwest. Morning sunshine has regularly given way to cool, rainy afternoons. In other words, it doesn't feel like the season ever got off the ground. Since cool weather didn't take a vacation, frankly neither did I. That got me thinking about warmer climes, ones with turquoise water lapping arcs of white sand.
Enter these flaky Jamaican meat patties, pastries that are everywhere on the island, from ramshackle roadside stands to neighborhood restaurants and, yes, resorts. You'll find them when traveling to other Caribbean islands, too, and that's a godsend because they're so good.
I figured, why not make them at home? I opted for the traditional filling of seasoned ground beef, which just so happens to be my personal favorite. Of course, they're commonly stuffed with everything from shrimp to ackee and chicken, so you can let your imagination run wild. While they make a great snack in smaller form, it's common to eat them as a meal. That's what I intended here.
Typically, the yellow-hued, suet crust is made with fat from curried goat. That wasn't exactly feasible in my home kitchen, though. So I adapted this dough recipe because I favor its easy approach and ochre tone. Curry powder lends that color, while two sticks of butter (yup, two sticks) take the place of lard.
Make the dough in advance because it needs to chill for at least an hour. When cutting it out, a circular side plate works quite well in terms of size. Because the dough is a bit sticky, you'll need a fair amount of additional flour for your work surface and rolling pin.
As for the filling, it's not difficult to make. The key is to ensure it packs a flavorful punch. So, in addition to onion, garlic, and Scotch bonnet peppers, I've added a slew of aromatic herbs and spices, which simmer with the meat in a bit of broth. Meanwhile, Worcestershire and Pickapeppa sauces lend nuance. If you can't find Pickapeppa, standard steak sauce will do. I'm going to be honest, though—it isn't as good. Once the meat has absorbed most of the liquid and the mixture is almost dry, I add breadcrumbs for body.
Although it's tempting to go for broke, don't overstuff the dough. Place about 2 tablespoons of filling onto half of the circle, leaving a 1/2-inch rim around the edge. That way, you have room to seal them properly. Brush the fringe of each circle with an egg wash, fold the dough over to create a half-moon shape, and secure the filling by sealing the edges with the tines of a fork. After a quick brush with egg wash, they bake for about 30 minutes and come out smelling (and tasting) like bliss. Best of all, no plane ticket to the island is required (hrm, or maybe that's a bad thing...I wouldn't mind a trip to Jamaica right about now).
For the Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons yellow curry powder, preferably Jamaican
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 large egg, lightly whisked
For the Filling:
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, minced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 1/2 tablespoons Pickapeppa or steak sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder, preferably Jamaican
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Egg wash made from 1 large egg beaten with 1/4 cup water
For the Dough: Add flour, salt, curry powder, and butter to the bowl of a food processor.
Whisk water, vinegar, and egg together in a small bowl. Add it to flour mixture and pulse until a ball of dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
For the Filling: Brown ground beef in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, breaking meat into little bits. When beef is nearly cooked through, nudge meat to the side of the pan, reduce heat to medium and add onion, pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables have softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add broth, Pickapeppa sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, cayenne, curry, allspice, salt, bay leaves, and thyme. Stir to combine, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Add breadcrumbs and stir thoroughly.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
Flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll dough out to 1/8 inch thick. Cut dough into 6-inch circles and place 2 tablespoons of meat filling onto half of each round of dough. Brush edges of dough with egg wash. Fold dough over filling to make a half-moon shape. Press edge with tines of a fork to seal.
Set patties on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until dough is golden brown and cooked through, about 25 to 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
If you're planning on serving these to a crowd, it's possible to par-bake them 3/4 of the way. Just remove them from the oven after about 25 minutes. Prior to serving, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and finish cooking them for another 15 or so minutes, until the crust is cooked through and the filling is warm.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 49g||63%|
|Saturated Fat 25g||126%|
|Total Carbohydrate 62g||22%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||16%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 3mg||17%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|