I tried my hand at making Jamaican patties, for the first time in my long life, a few days ago! As they say in Jamaica: “The Devil always finds evil things for idle hands to do!” One should never try to make Jamaican patties in Illinois, since there is no way that they can turn out “Jamaican”.
How did I do? Well, I don’t know if you are aware of the fact that I, Tony Gumbs, have a Cordon Bleu in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Arts at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France! Got that one night when I was asleep. That being said, on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest, I award myself the distinguished grade of C – , or D + in Pattyfication! (Just think what grade an unbiased judge would award!).
I set out, using pre-mixed dough from the supermarket, and a patty recipe that I found sometime ago on the Internet. The dough was very convenient, however the finished pastry did not turn out as crisp and as flaky as one finds in “real” store-bought patties. I had found it nigh impossible to coax the dough into a decent patty shape, and the end results were rather shapeless and ugly blobs that seemed to move about on the baking sheet each with a will of its own. I swear that I could hear them squeaking to each other, as if in a wild conspiracy, but baking them in the oven sure put an end to that!
The filling that I had made per the recipe, was very flavourful, however it was way too dry. I believe now that I added too much breadcrumbs and too little beef stock. Anyhow, my wife and I consumed them all….and so far… so far.. we are still alive, and have not broken out with any gruesome afflictions from pattyritis, ptomaine poisoning or salmonella. Small triumph.
This experience has left me with a very healthy respect for those who really know what they are doing in the art and craft of the Jamaican patty cuisine. It will probably take a month or two to restore some semblance of order to the kitchen. Reminds me of when the kids were young! I think that my wife may be trying to decide whether to roast me in the oven…or to zap me in the microwave! Maybe she’ll do it half- and- half, using the razor-sharp kitchen knives.
“Heck,” I tell her, “look on the positive side: There were no fires or explosions! No Fire Department trucks at your door! Don’t I get ANY credit for good intentions?” She is silent. A wise man once said: “If at first you don’t succeed … the Hell with it!” I guess I will make another attempt some day, long after this episode is forgotten.
Take care and walk good!
This is the recipe Tony used and the Web site where he found it. Most people seem to have modified the recipe:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 dash salt
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup shortening
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons margarine
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
Add to Recipe Box
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a large bowl, combine flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, and pinch of salt. Cut in 1/4 cup margarine and shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water until mixture forms a ball. Shape dough into a log, and cut into 10 equal sections. Roll each section into a six inch circle (approximately 1/8 inch thick). Set aside.
Melt margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until soft and translucent. Stir in ground beef. Season with 1 teaspoon curry powder, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook until beef is evenly brown, stirring constantly. Stir in beef broth and bread crumbs. Simmer until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
Spoon equal amounts of filling into each pastry circle. Fold over and press edges together, making a half circle. Use a fork to press edges, and brush the top of each patty with beaten egg.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.