“I am sooooo full,” says Aunty Marg.
“Me too,” says Grandpa Bert.
“I couldn’t eat a wafer-thin mint,” says Mr C.
“Not even a bit of Wensleydale?” asks Wallace.
“Goo goo,” says the baby (but he only had milk, which always fills him up. Besides, he has an inbuilt overflow mechanism for those I’ve-eaten-too-much moments).
There you all are, mindlessly eating chocolate-covered Brazil nuts and hanging around for the Queen’s speech (I had a friend whose Mum used to make them all stand to attention throughout that speech – seriously). Uncle George is trying to solve the fiddly little metal puzzle thing from a Christmas cracker while Oor William is wandering around with what looks like a black slug balancing on his upper lip (another cracker gift). And then someone asks …
“What shall we do tomorrow, then?”
Now, instead of running kicking and screaming from the living room and hiding under the pillow on your bed just to escape your oh-so-wonderful-but-by-now-incredibly-irritatingly-annoying relations for just one tiny moment of peace, why not propose … a Boxing Day walk? Come rain or shine, just wrap up warm and march the troops outside for a bracing blast of fresh air. And here’s the best part. You can gather up all those leftover sprouts and carrots and turkey trimmings and bread sauce and roasties and stuffing, and parcel them up into warm, steaming Boxing Day pasties to hand out to everyone as portable lunch feasts. Outdoors entertainment with the added feel-good factor of counting towards your exercise and economy-drive regimes. Skill.
These leftovers pasties are the easiest things in the world to make, and everyone always loves them. Trust me.
Here’s what you need to do …
Put 10 oz plain flour, 2 1/2 oz butter and 2 1/2 oz lard in a mixing bowl with a good pinch of salt (this gives enough pastry for four large pasties – increase the quantities as needed to make enough pasties for your Boxing Day party).
Use your fingers and thumbs to gently rub the fats into the flour. Don’t squeeze too hard or you’ll end up with a crumble topping mixture. Aim for a fine breadcrumb texture.
Use a tablespoon to sprinkle water over the mixture, cutting it through with a knife until it begins to hold together.
Use your hands to bring the dough together (gently, gently – it needs a bit more handling than the pastry for a sweet, crumbly lemon tart, but you still don’t want it to end up being too tough to bite through). Divide the dough into four equal parts (roughly equal is fine). Wrap each part in clingfilm, flatten with the heel of your hand and leave to rest in the fridge for half an hour or so).
When you’re ready to make the pasties, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Gather together your Christmas dinner leftovers.
Chop the chunky meat and vegetables into bite-sized pieces and mix together with enough bread sauce/gravy/cranberry sauce/stuffing/etc to make a moist but not too sloppy filling.
Roll out each slab of pastry into a rough circle (‘rustic’ is good – there aren’t any Michelin-star inspectors watching!). Place a good dollop of filling into one half of each circle. Wet the edges of the pastry with water using a pastry brush (or one of your kids’ paintbrushes, if all else fails). Fold one half of the pastry circle over the filling and press down to seal the edges. Make some little folds and tucks around the edges to hold the whole thing together (technically called ‘crimping’, but anything that stops the filling escaping in the oven is all that’s needed).
Transfer each pasty to a baking tray (use a spatula if you need a bit more support underneath during the transfer).
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp.
It’s best to leave the pasties to cool a little on wire racks so that the bottoms don’t go soggy from the steam as they’re sitting on the baking tray, but do parcel them up while they’re still warm and head out with your crowd for the hills and wide open spaces …
These pasties were designed for the Feeding the Masses project hosted by Most Wanted, the lifestyle magazine from VoucherCodes.co.uk. This project aims to create a collection of recipes for feeding large groups of people over the festive period. Importantly, some dinner hosts face a great deal of financial pressure around this time of year, and they want to prove that feeding a small army needn’t be costly or too stressful – no matter how big their appetites are. Each recipe in the collection should therefore feed 10 or more people for around £3 per head. I hope that these Boxing Day pasties achieve this aim … assuming you have sufficient leftovers from a previous meal, the only real cost involved is in the ingredients for the pastry. I find that coming up with tasty ways to use leftovers is one of the most thrifty food tips that we live by in our family. Between you and me, I often enjoy the leftovers more than I enjoyed the meal they were leftover from … but shh, that’s a secret ;-)