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From Jamaica with love

Passport & Plate - Jamaican style Pork and Apple Patties

Jamaica | Monday, 2 March 2015 | 3 photos

Makes 12 patties

400g minced pork or turkey (or mix of both)
3 spring onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
4 tsp Caribbean curry powder
Leaves from a small sprig of fresh thyme
Salt and black pepper
2 large bramley apples, peeled, cored, diced
For the pastry
250g butter
450g plain flour
½ tsp turmeric
3 eggs

Caribbean Curry Powder
• 4 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
• 2 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
• 2 tablespoon mustard seeds
• 3 star anise
• 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
• 1 tablespoon allspice (pimento) berries
• 3 tablespoons ground turmeric


How to prepare this recipe
1 In a nonstick pan, gently fry the mince, spring onion, garlic and ginger until the meat is browned. Add the chilli. Stir in the curry powder and thyme and cook for 2 minutes. Add a large glug of water (approx. 100ml), and a good pinch of salt and pepper to the pan, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

2 Add the apple and cook for 5 minutes until the apple is just tender. Set aside to cool.
3 Blitz the butter, flour, turmeric and a pinch of salt to a course crumb. Mix in 2 of the eggs, and a little cold water if needed, until the dough comes together. Wrap and chill whilst the filling cools.
4 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Thinly roll out the pastry and use an 18cm saucer to cut out 12 circles – re-roll the pastry as necessary. Spoon filling on half of each disc. Brush the edge with egg or milk and fold the pastry over the filling, pinching the edges together. Put on a baking parchment-lined tray or two, glaze with the final beaten egg and prick the tops to let the steam escape. Put in the oven and bake for 25 30 minutes until golden.

For the Curry Powder
When a recipe calls for ‘Caribbean’ curry powder, it’s important not to substitute an Indian curry powder. Caribbean curry includes Pimento, or Allspice, and this ingredient adds a sweet, subtle flavour to any dish.

Place all the ingredients for the Caribbean curry powder, except the turmeric, into a dry frying pan. Toast the spices over a medium heat for about 5- 6 minutes or until they colour slightly and release their aroma.
Allow the spices to cool and then grind them to a powder with a pestle and mortar or use a spice grinder. Mix in the turmeric and store in an air-tight container.


The story behind this recipe
For me, the Street Food of any country tells a story, usually of the people, the environment, and the climate to which the food belongs. In the case of Patties, Jamaica’s favourite street food, the dish is also a link to my heritage and a nod to nostalgia.
It’s believed that Patties came about after the British colonised Jamaica, bringing with them their working men’s food of Cornish Pasties. As slavery ended, Indian indentured slaves arrived, introducing flavourful curry spices. The end result of these influences is the Jamaican Pattie, golden crisp pastry encasing a curried filling, enhanced with fiery Caribbean peppers and local thyme.
As children, it was always a special treat when my Jamaican Dad would bring Patties home after visiting the local Caribbean club. They were a fiery, exotic taste of sunshine and spice, livening up cold Lancashire evenings. We’d fight over the last crumbs.
Little did I know at the time that these processed patties, made in the UK, did not live up to the freshly baked version in Jamaica.
I got to taste the real thing when I began working on cruise ships and visited Jamaica’s Montego Bay on a weekly basis. On the high street in town there is a bakery, and whatever time of day or night, there is a queue of locals and tourists, waiting to buy the freshly baked treat.
Office staff, labourers, school children, we all would grab our food, packaged in small paper bags, and then find a spot in the shade to devour the goods. I always struggled to decide which filling to choose, traditional beef, vegetable, chicken, fish, or goat. I worked my way through them all at some point.
Some fantastic Patties are now available in the UK, but nothing beats making your own and eating them fresh from the oven. I’ve introduced new options - Turkey, and Pork ‘n’ Apple - equally as good as the more traditional fillings. There is always a list of family and friends, waiting for the next batch to hit the table.

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