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Spinach and thyme pasties

These tasty little parcels are very good still warm from the oven, but let them cool down and they'll pack a real punch for a picnic, a party or a lunchbox. If using ricotta, it's a good idea to add Parmesan, but if you're using a fairly strong goat's cheese you won't need it.


To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt together, or give them a quick blitz in a food processor. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips, or blitz in the food processor, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the cold milk, little by little, until the pastry just comes together, then turn out on to a work surface and knead briefly to bring it into a ball. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the ovent to 180°C/Gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment or a non-stick liner.

For the filling, wash the spinach thoroughly, then pack it, with just the water that clings to it, into a saucepan. Cover and put over a medium heat until the spinach has wilted in its own steam. Drain in a colander. When the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much moisture as you possibly can with your hands, then chop roughly.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for about 10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Stir in the chopped spinach and leave to cool.

Tip the spinach mix into a bowl and add the goat’s cheese or ricotta, Parmesan if using, nutmeg, thyme, lemon zest if using, about half the beaten egg and plenty of salt and pepper. Mash together thoroughly.

Roll out the pastry to a 26 x 39cm rectangle, about 3mm thick, and cut into six 13cm squares. Brush the rim of each square with a little water. Divide the spinach mixture between the squares, then fold the pastry diagonally to enclose the filling and crimp the edges well to seal. Brush with the remaining beaten egg and make a hole in the top of each with a small, sharp knife.

Transfer the parcels to the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 25–30 minutes or until golden brown. Eat the pasties warm or cold.

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  • 250g plain flour
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 75ml milk


  • 350g spinach, any tough stalks removed
  • 1tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 125g goat's cheese or ricotta
  • 50g Parmesan, finely grated (optional)
  • A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • A handful of thyme sprigs (lemon thyme is particularly good), chopped
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest (optional)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Veg Every Day!