Pretzels

I wanted a few bites from a few different countries for my Eurovision party (lets not talk about the UK’s result) and decided to make some tasty German pretzels with a beer cheese dip. I found the pretzel recipe on the blog ‘Sally’s Baking Addiction’ but I halved it as the pretzels were part of a melee of things. Pretzels are a nice bread choice to make as you only need to let the dough rest for 10 minutes before you can crack on with making them. I didn’t sprinkle them with salt – I’ve never been too keen on the crunching into large salt rocks but feel free to do so before you bake.

Makes 10

Ingredients

  • 180ml tepid water
  • 5g yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp soft butter
  • 250g plain flour
  • 120g baking soda
  • 2,000ml water (or how much fits into your pan)

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

2.) Measure out the flour into a large bowl and add the salt and sugar. Mix around with a fork as you don’t want the yeast to hit the salt.

3.) Sprinkle the yeast into the tepid water and let it brew for 10 minutes.

4.) Pour the yeasty water into the flour and mix with your hand to form a ball. Tip out onto the counter top and knead for about 7 minutes until the dough is smooth.

5.) Let it sit for 10 minutes

6.) Boil the 2000ml of water and once boiling, add the baking soda. Line a baking tray.

7.) Cut the dough into 10 equal pieces

8.) Roll each piece into a rope (probably a bit longer and thinner than mine if you want really neat pretzels).

9.) Shape the dough into pretzels.

10.) Add the pretzels to the baking soda bath – I did two at a time but you can judge based on the size of your pan. Leave for 15 seconds, flip over and leave for 15 more. Then remove to a baking tray with a slotted spoon. (This step gives the distinctive pretzel taste).

11.) Once all the pretzels have been dunked in the baking soda mix (they look a bit puffy after this) and are all on the baking tray, bake for 12 – 15 minutes until golden brown.

Haggis Part 2 – Haggis Pasties

To make the most of the veggie haggis you can buy around Burns’ Night, I bought another pack but did something a little different with it. In Britain, we like our pies and they’re usually savoury. A pasty is generally in the form of a folded circle containing the filling and the most famous pasty is the Cornish pasty. The Cornish pasty has a protected status in Europe so Cornish pasties must contain beef, swede, potato and onion. My version isn’t too different ingredients-wise though I didn’t manage to get the traditional 20 crimps to hold the pastry together.

For my pastry I used whole-wheat flour and learnt why you don’t often see people using it on the Bake-off. I did manage to cobble it together but I gave up on the presentation. The end result was light and flaky though and well-suited the spiced haggis is contained. I’ve seen recipes which put the swede and potato in raw but when I’ve tried that the filling hasn’t been quite as soft as I’d like and I find simmering in a bit of stock adds some flavour. The pasties freeze really well – stick them in the freezer at the point before the egg-wash.

Serves 8 (with a bit of filling left over)

Ingredients

For the filling:

1 pack Simon Howe vegetarian haggis

2/3 swede

1 large potato

2 leeks

300ml beef flavour stock

spray oil

For the pastry:

250g unsalted block of butter

250g strong flour

6 tbsp very cold water

1 egg

Method

1.) Boil a kettle full of water. Take the haggis out of the packet, wrap it in foil. Put in the pan, completely cover with the water and simmer for 40 minutes.

2.) Clean and chop the leeks. Fry in a frying pan.

4.) Peel and chop up the potato and swede. Add to the leeks when they’re soft. Cook down for 5 minutes.

5.) Make up the stock and add to the potato and swede and cook on a medium-low heat until the stock has cooked off.

6.) Remove the haggis from the water and unwrap. Cut off the plastic casing and add the haggis to the potato and mix.

7.) Whilst the haggis and potatoes are cooking, start to make the pastry.

8.) Add the flour to a food processor with 1/2 tsp salt. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour.

9.) Blitz until it becomes breadcrumbs. I just pulse it pressing on and off the button to not overheat the mixture.

10.) Pour into a large bowl and add the water. Use your hands to shape into a ball but work the dough as little as as possible.

11.) Stick in the fridge for 30 minutes.

12.) After thirty minutes, lightly dust your surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out the ball into a large rectangle. Mine was a bit dry due to the flour and crumbled a bit at the edges but I pushed them together.

13.) Fold 1/3 over and then the other third, like a letter.

14.) Turn the dough around and roll out back into a rectangle.

15.) Fold and roll out twice more then fold again, wrap up and put in the fridge for another half hour. (I put it on the fridge on a baking tray to make it easier). After about 15 minutes, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

16.) Once more, roll out the pastry and divide into 8 pieces.

17.) Spoon over about 4 tbsp filling (it should be room-temperature by now otherwise it will ruin the pastry)

18.) Fold the two sides over the filling and crimp them together.

19.) Separate the egg yolk into a bowl and mix with a tbsp milk. (I didn’t add the milk and the egg yolk is showing up on the whole-wheat pastry)

20.) Line a baking tray with baking paper

21.) Put the pasties on the tray and brush with the egg wash.

22.) Bake for 40 minutes.