Chipotle tomato pie pops, nestled in a bed of caramelised cheddar – handmade buttery, flaky pastry stuffed with an intensely spicy, smoky, tangy, umami filling. And that crispy cheese...
The credit for this pastry goes to Julia Child, one of my heroes. It's included in her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a meticulously researched and tested bible that everyone should own. I think it's a traditional French method of making pastry, but I've never come across it anywhere else. The pastry is roughly brought together, then bits of it are smeared across the work surface. This blends the fat into the flour in such a way to create beautiful, flaky layers of pastry without the time-consuming folding of puff pastry. It's the best pastry I've ever tried.
The filling is a very flavourful spicy mix of chipotle in adobo (an incredible vegetarian seasoning), dried tomatoes and fresh coriander. The mature cheddar melts and caramelises into a little crispy nest, so cheesy and savoury – one of my favourite flavours.
Can I tempt you to a smoky chipotle cheddar nibble?
Chipotle cheddar pie pops
flaky, buttery pastry
- 280 g plain flour
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 big pinches sugar
- 220 g chilled goat butter cut into pieces
- 8-9 tbsp cold water
chipotle tomato filling
- 50 g dried tomatoes
- 15 g fresh coriander
- 50 g fresh sourdough breadcrumbs
- 3-4 chipotle in adobo chopped
- 1 egg
to assemble the pie pops
- 150 g mature cheddar finely grated
- 1 egg yolk beaten
- 2-3 tsp nigella seeds
- 10 lolly sticks
for the pastry
- Add all the ingredients to a food processor (except the water) and pulse to blend the fat into the flour – stop when the butter looks like oatmeal flakes.
- Scrape everything into a large mixing bowl and drizzle over the water. Mix the dough together with a claw-shaped hand, then gather it together into a rough ball.
- Tip the rough dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Smear heaped tablespoon-sized pieces across the work surface, spreading the dough about 15cm each time – this blends the fat into the flour, making for flaky, buttery layers.
- When you have smeared all the dough, gather it all into a ball and knead briefly to make a homogenous dough. Wrap in clingfilm or baking paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.
- When you are ready to roll out, bash the dough all over with a rolling pin to soften it, then roll the pastry about 2mm thick. Keep the surface lightly floured as you work, but don't use loads of flour, it will make the pastry dry and tough.
- Using a 8cm round pastry cutter, stamp out as many rounds as you can. Gather the scraps together and roll out again, stamping out more rounds. Discard any leftovers, the dough will be chewy and overworked at this stage. Chill the pastry rounds while you make the filling.
for the filling
- Cover the dried tomatoes with boiling water and leave to soften for 20 minutes. In a food processor, blend the coriander with the breadcrumbs and set aside. Put the dried, soaked tomatoes in the food processor (no need to clean) with 6 tbsp soak water and blend to a chunky purée. Blend in the chipotle, lime juice, herby breadcrumbs, egg, 1/2 tsp flaky salt (1/4 tsp fine salt) and lots of freshly ground black pepper.to assemble
- Preheat oven to 200℃. To assemble the pie pops, put 1 heaped tsp of filling into the middle of a pastry round, dampen the edge, then cover with another round. Press all around the edge to firmly close the mini pie, then cut the whole thing again with the pastry cutter to tidy the edge. Repeat with the rest of the pastry rounds.
- Heap little piles of grated cheddar onto a baking tray (about 15g per pie pop) and rest each piepop in a small heap of grated cheddar. Brush the tops with the egg yolk and sprinkle with nigella seeds.
- Bake until the pastry is puffed and well browned and the cheese has deeply caramelised, about 20 minutes.