Pastry favourites

Bart Beek | VOLUME 30, ISSUE 3

There’s something irresistible about fresh pastries … be tempted by these savoury delicacies wrapped in pastry goodness.

Crispy spiced pork rolls

Frozen spring roll wrappers are available in most supermarkets. Once thawed, keep the wrappers covered with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out. I don’t add salt to this filling because the oyster and hoisin sauces already contain a good amount of salt.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Serves: 6

4 tblsps extra virgin olive oil

½ cup pine nuts

1 tblsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 cloves garlic, crushed

6 mushrooms, diced small

500g pork mince

2 tblsps Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine

3 tblsps oyster sauce

3 tblsps hoisin sauce, plus extra to serve

1 tblsp sesame oil

1 cup sliced water chestnuts, cut into halves

½ cup spring onions, chopped fine

Salt and pepper, to taste

12 large spring roll wrappers, thawed

2 eggs, beaten

Canola oil, to deep fry

Heat a wok on a gas burner on low heat. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in the wok. Add the pine nuts and toss to brown evenly – be careful as the pine nuts can easily burn if the oil is too hot. When golden, drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

Increase the wok’s heat to medium. Add another two tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the ginger and garlic for 10 seconds only (don’t allow to brown). Add the mushrooms and turn the heat to high. Cook for several minutes. Add the pork mince, continually stirring and tossing to break up the mince. Continue until all the juices have evaporated and the mince begins to sizzle.

Add in the Shaoxing wine, oyster sauce and three tablespoons of hoisin sauce and toss well through the meat on high heat until the moisture has cooked away.

Turn the heat down to low. Add the sesame oil, toasted pine nuts, water chestnuts, and sliced spring onions. Transfer to a bowl, adjust the seasoning and allow to cool slightly.

Brush the edges of a spring roll wrapper with a little beaten egg. Place several tablespoons of the filling in one corner and roll up tightly, folding in the sides and forming a sausage shape. Continue to make rolls until all the filling has been used up.

Heat the canola oil to 180°C in a deep fryer or a deep pan. Fry several rolls at a time for three minutes or until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with a bowl of hoisin sauce.

Pork, fennel and thyme sausage rolls with chilli jam

This easy-to-make chilli jam is the perfect partner for these delicious, moist sausage rolls, while the fennel seeds add an explosion of flavour to the pork, carrot and zucchini filling. Make small sausage rolls for a party or as a snack, or shape larger ones for a main meal.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

Makes: 24 small rolls

Chilli jam

6 cloves garlic

1 tblsp fresh ginger

6 red capsicums, seeds removed, diced

8 red chillies, trimmed

2 cups tinned chopped tomato

1 cup red wine vinegar

700g caster sugar

To make the chilli jam, puree the garlic, ginger, capsicums and chillies in a blender. Transfer to a heavy saucepan and add the tinned tomatoes, vinegar, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently, until thick and glossy. Cool and pour into sterilised jars.

Sausage rolls

2 tblsps extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 tblsps fennel seeds

1 large brown onion, finely diced

2 tblsps fresh thyme leaves

4 slices bread, soaked in ½ cup milk for 5 minutes

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1 zucchini, washed and grated

500g lean pork mince

Salt and freshly milled black pepper, to taste

4 sheets butter puff pastry

1 egg, beaten

To make the sausage rolls, heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the crushed garlic and cook for two minutes. Add two tablespoons of the fennel seeds, the diced onion and the thyme leaves. Stir well and cook for several minutes. Tip into a bowl and allow to cool. Gently squeeze the bread dry and add to the onion mix along with the grated vegetables, pork mince, and seasoning. Combine well and transfer to a piping bag.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Place the puff pastry sheets onto a lightly floured surface and cut each in half. Pipe a thick line of the meat mixture onto one edge of the pasty sheet and gently roll up. Brush a little of the beaten egg onto the edge of the pastry and roll tightly onto the seam. Continue until all the filling has been used up.

Brush the sausage rolls with egg. Cut into 6cm portions (or larger for a main meal) and place onto a baking tray. Top with a scattering of the remaining fennel seeds and bake for 30 minutes until golden and cooked all the way through. Serve with a small bowl of the chilli jam.

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend made of sumac, thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, and salt. It’s used in a variety of meat, bread, and vegetable dishes – like these crêpes filled with za’atar-spiced, grilled snapper strips.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6


3 tsps dried thyme leaves

1 tsp sumac

1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

½ tsp salt flakes

To make the za’atar, combine the ingredients and store in an airtight container.


1¼ cups full-cream milk

130g plain flour

2 tblsps unsalted butter, melted

2 eggs

1 pinch salt

1 cup coriander leaves

50g unsalted butter, to oil the crêpe pan

The ingredients will make 20 crêpes.

Place the eggs and milk into a mixing bowl.

Add the plain flour and beat well. Mix in the melted butter and the salt.

Heat a crêpe pan and coat lightly with butter. Add a ladle of crêpe batter and tilt to cover the pan evenly. Quickly place four coriander leaves onto the wet top of the crêpe. Once the crêpe’s edges turn up slightly and the bottom has coloured a little, turn over and cook for 30 seconds. Continue making crêpes until the batter is used.

2 portions snapper fillets, skin removed and cut into strips

1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tblsps za’atar

6 crêpes

1 cup Greek-style yoghurt

1 tblsp fresh mint, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

Salt flakes and freshly milled black pepper, to taste

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat a pan and add the olive oil. Roll the snapper strips in the za’atar, then fry until cooked. Place a snapper strip onto each crêpe. Squeeze a little lemon juice onto the fish and roll the crêpe up tightly.

Combine the yoghurt, mint, garlic, and seasoning. Serve the snapper crêpes with the yoghurt dip and extra lemon wedges.

Empanadas are baked or fried pastries stuffed with a savoury or, occasionally, a sweet filling and can be presented hot or cold. They are popular in Latin America, Latin Europe and Southeast Asia.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

1 medium brown onion, finely diced

2 small chillies, seeded and chopped fine

500g lean beef mince

1 tblsp ground cumin

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp ground cinnamon

4 medium potatoes, diced and cooked

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Salt flakes and freshly milled black pepper, to taste

1 tblsp butter, melted

½ cup Kewpie-brand Japanese mayonnaise


400g plain flour

120g cold butter, diced

1 tsp salt flakes

1 egg

60ml ice-cold water

To make the pastry, place the plain flour, butter, and salt into a food processor and blend until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and water and quickly mix until it comes together. Remove from the food processor and knead lightly. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion, and chilli and cook until fragrant and lightly coloured. Increase to high heat and add the beef mince, tossing and stirring well until evenly browned. Add the cumin, paprika, and cinnamon and cook well until the mixture sizzles. Spread the mixture onto a wide tray to cool.

Once cool, add the potatoes, egg, and parsley. Season to taste.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Roll the dough out to 3mm thick and cut out 15cm-diameter circles. Place three heaped tablespoons of the beef filling onto the centre of the pastry. Brush the edge of the pastry with a little water and bring together to form a tight pasty shape. Crimp the seam and place onto a baking tray. Continue to shape empanadas until the filling is used up.

Brush the empanadas with melted butter and bake for 25 minutes or until lightly golden and crisp. Serve with a dipping bowl of Kewpie mayonnaise.