Ubiquitous in Jamaica, and also found all over the Caribbean, these tropical patties are said to have their roots in the traditional Cornish pasty, thanks to a long colonial history going back centuries. Here, they are made of a tender golden turmeric pastry stuffed with a classic curried minced beef filling. They make a tropical addition to a picnic feast.
To make the pastry, place the flour, turmeric and salt in a food processor and pulse together briefly. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. While pulsing, add just enough ice-cold water to bring the mixture together into loose clumps. You can also make the pastry by hand: rub the dry ingredients and butter together between your fingers and thumbs until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the water and stir through with a knife to incorporate it, bringing the mixture together with your hands. Place the pastry on a sheet of cling film and draw up the edges, gently pressing it into a ball. Chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
Pour the oil into a deep frying pan and set over a high heat. Add the mince and fry for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned, breaking the clumps up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Reduce the temperature to medium-low, then add the carrots, onion and red pepper, along with the garlic, curry paste and thyme, and fry for a further 10 minutes, stirring every now and then.
Add the tomatoes along with 150ml cold water and season well with salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for around 30 minutes or until the sauce is well reduced, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, taste to check the seasoning, adding a little more salt and pepper if necessary, then set aside to cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6. On a lightly floured work surface, cut the pastry into 8 equal-sized pieces, gently rolling each one into a ball. Roll out each ball into a circle about the size of a large saucer and about 3mm thick. Brush all around the edges with a little cold water and then spoon some filling on to one half of each circle, leaving a generous 1cm border around the edge. For each patty, bring the pastry up and over the filling, pressing down firmly at the edges to completely seal the filling inside. Trim each one with a sharp knife to give you a neat ‘D’ shape, then take a fork and press down the sealed edge to give you a traditional finish.
Place the patties on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the pastry is cooked; because of the turmeric, they won’t turn golden brown like traditional shortcrust pastry, but should instead be a bright yellow. Serve hot or warm.