The Jamaican Beef Patty (Beef Patties) is a food of my childhood. My childhood evokes memories so clear to me, it’s as if they occurred yesterday. I can still remember the first time I picked up a book to read.
I was four years-old. I remember sitting alone near the door of my bedroom, attempting to read Judy Blume’s, Freckle Juice. My mom had taught me how to sound out letters from the alphabet a few weeks prior and since then, I was eager to read. After a few minutes of difficulty, without the help of my mom, the sounds from each letter on the pages of the book began to form into words. Words that inspired me to read more. Words that inspired me to appreciate literature.
Nowadays, whenever I pick up a book, I cannot help but remember my first ever moments of reading, and how sophisticated my taste in literature has become. I am still puzzled as to how I went from reading books by Judy Blume, to books by William Faulkner!
Anyway, you may be wondering what my first memory of reading has to do with the Jamaican Beef Patty recipe I am sharing with you today. Well, this beef patties recipe is one that captures a memory from my past- a memory of the first time I attempted to bake something- one of the first dishes I had ever baked.
Yes, the first dish!
Why Jamaican beef patties? Well, besides the fact that a homemade beef patty always tastes amazing, and besides the fact that my aunt G and I wanted to make beef patties (did I mention she’s Jamaican?), I wanted to make something that challenged me to cook and bake at the same time. And damn, my six year-old self was freakin’ good at it!
My aunt G- has one rule about Jamaican beef patties- season the meat however you’d like! I recently asked her about what she put in the beef patties we made over 12 years ago (because I wanted to keep the recipe as authentic as possible. Her reply was something along the lines of, “You can cook the filling however you’d like- there’s no set guideline as to what spices to use; and if anyone says that it’s not Jamaican enough- how would they know? The flavors of beef patties vary from store-to-store in Jamaica and as long as the stuff tastes good- that’s all that matters!”
Gosh, I love that woman!
Anyway… The beef patties recipe.
My version of these amazing beef patties is to die for. The pastry itself is very flaky and doesn’t get soggy, even after you re-heat the pastries in the microwave as a midnight snack. Yes, that’s a big A+ in my book- if the pastry can withstand the torture of a microwave, I’m a very happy camper!
So, what’s the secret to the very flaky pastry? Fraisage! It’s a technique used to create alternating layers of butter and dough in pastry– almost like puff pastry, simply by just smearing a shaggy mess of dough and butter, with the heel of your hand (I have seen people use dough scrapers and spatulas to perform this step, but I prefer the traditional method- the method that saves me from washing another dish!).
In addition to amazing flaky pastry, the filling in each beef patty is just as amazing and has a small kick of spice to it (it’s not that bad- I really promise!), which you will also appreciate!
So, what was the first dish that you every cooked / baked?