Happy Australia Day everyone! Technically it was yesterday Australia time, but it’s still 26 January in some parts of the world, including both coasts of the US, so it still counts in my books! Also, I couldn’t post my Aussie-centric recipe yesterday because I was doing what Aussies do best on Australia Day – drinking with my mates! So today it is. And with this recipe, I’m also going to give you a lesson in all things Australian! Get excited, there’s a lot of links coming your way!
Australia Day commemorates the day that the First Fleet of convicts arrived in Australia in 1788 and, much like the Fourth of July in America, it unites the country in a celebration and appreciation of all things Australian. The Australian flag is central to all Australia Day celebrations. You’ll find it emblazoned on towels, board-shorts, bikinis, thongs (the Australian kind), t-shirts, stubby holders or in the form of a temporary tattoo. You name it, some enterprising person has put the flag on it.
Also paramount to any Australia Day celebration is a visit to the beach or a swim in the pool, a barbecue (Australian style) with some form of lamb, beef sausages and steaks, the Triple J Hottest 100 Countdown, beer, beer and more beer, and a tonne of Australian food. You’ll often find lamingtons, Anzac biscuits, pavlova, fairy bread, sausage rolls, and my personal favourite, meat pies on the spread at an Australia Day shindig.
Considered by some to be our national dish, an Aussie meat pie is made in individual servings so that it can be eaten almost anywhere. They have a shortcrust pastry base and a puff pastry top and are filled with beef mince (ground beef) in a rich, meaty gravy. The recipe I bring you today is an adaptation of the hearty meat pie and is known as a Jaffle Pie. A jaffle pie differs in that it is made using only puff pastry and instead of being baked in the oven, it is made in a jaffle sandwich maker.
When I moved to London, I found an Aussie pie shop near my flat and was so excited to try it out. All they sold were these jaffle pies though and I couldn’t understand why they were calling themselves an Australian pie shop when a true blue Aussie like me had never heard of them (supposedly it’s a Western Australian thing). Nevertheless, I decided to give their pies a go, and I was quickly hooked. These pies were so amazing that I ate three of them at last year’s Australia Day celebrations in London! Unfortunately, the store has now closed down, so I decided that I had to learn to make my own for when I return to London and need a little taste of home.
Who knew that jaffle makers could be so versatile? I had always used them solely for making toasted ham and cheese sandwiches, but I’ve now discovered that you can make McDonalds-style apple pies, along with any other sort of pie you desire, sweet or savoury, as well as pizza pockets and all sorts of fancy toasted sandwiches. I’m definitely going to be testing a few more recipes in future.
Jaffle Meat Pies
Serves 4 (big servings, with leftover meat sauce)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
500g beef mince (ground beef)
½ cup beef stock
2 tbsp cornflour
¼ cup tomato ketchup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1½ tbsp barbecue sauce
2 tbsp dried parsley
4 sheets frozen puff pastry (25cm x 25cm)
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook mince, stirring occasionally, until browned, approx. 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Combine 2 tablespoons of beef stock with cornflour and stir to make a paste, then stir in remaining stock. Add to saucepan, along with tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and barbecue sauce. Stir and bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and refrigerate for about 10 minutes to cool slightly.
- While meat is cooling, preheat jaffle sandwich maker and remove puff pastry from freezer to thaw.
- When ready, spray jaffle maker with vegetable oil, and set one piece of puff pastry over the base (half the pastry will be hanging over the edge), and spread approx. ½ cup of meat over each side of the jaffle maker, leaving a 2cm edge of pastry to avoid spillage. Fold hanging pastry over meat and close jaffle maker, without clamping shut. Cook for five minutes, or until pastry is golden and crispy. Repeat with remaining sheets of puff pastry. Serve hot with tomato ketchup or barbecue sauce.