Often when we go to visit Emma’s Nanna and Grandad, Nanna makes us a smoked oyster appetizer. It is very delicious and Emma, along with Mummy and Daddy, eats so many that she has difficulty eating anything else for dinner.
Imagine our dismay when suddenly we all had a hankering for these tasty tidbits and Nanna and Grandad were away…for three whole weeks…what would come of our need for oysters wrapped in buttery flakey pastry? Would we have to wait until they were back to have them again?
I, for one, needed my fix and took on the mission to make the pastry from scratch. Nanna has told me many times how easy it is but until this time, I hadn’t made my own and instead usually opted to use frozen puff pastry. There are a number of different recipes out there and they all come back to the same few ingredients: flour, butter, salt, egg, water and vinegar. And it turned out that pastry *was* easy to make, just like Nanna said.
After pulling the first batch from the oven, Emma was a bit tentative about eating any. “These aren’t Nanna’s oyster buns”, she told me. Finally, she was willing to taste one when I suggested we share a little bite. Then she promptly ate four more. And asked for oyster buns for lunch the following day. And over the holidays. I’m thinking they’ll be perfect during Oscar-viewing this weekend too.
They aren’t Nanna’s, but they sure are good!
Smoked Oyster Buns
Inspired by: Emma’s Nanna
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, ground
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 2 large eggs + 1 for egg wash
- 1/2 cup water, cold
- 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 4 tins (85g each) smoked oysters, drained but not dry
Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour (or cut in using a pastry cutter or knife) until the mixture forms coarse breadcrumbs.
Beat the egg, water and vinegar together and pour it into the flour. Mix it together until a shaggy dough forms. Turn it out on to a lightly floured surface and knead it once or twice. It should come together into a clumpy dough. If not, add some more water, a teaspoonful at a time, until it does. There should be no flour or butter loose in the bowl.
Divide the dough into three balls, wrapping each in plastic wrap. Chill it for approximately 30 minutes. (I sometimes end up leaving it overnight.)
When the dough is chilled and rested, line two cookie sheets with parchment. Preheat the oven to 400F.
Remove one ball of dough from the refrigerator (and plastic wrap) and on a lightly floured surface, roll it out to about 1/8″ (2-3mm) thickness. Cut the dough into approximately equal sized squares. Then place individual oysters centred on each square. It’s alright to have a bit of oil left on the oyster and in the bun.
Fold the edges of the square around each oyster. Place the oyster bun seam side down on to the prepared cookie sheet. When all the buns are ready, brush with egg wash. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Repeat with the other two balls of dough when desired. Best served warm.
Tips and Suggestions:
- This recipe can be made either by hand or in a food processor. I’ve done both and had success either way.
- If desired, vegan spread (such as Earth Balance) can be substituted for the butter for a dairy-free pastry.
- For a more hearty pastry, try using half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour.
- The unbaked, wrapped dough keeps in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer in an airtight container for a few weeks. Thaw it thoroughly before using. Makes it easy to prepare quickly when the mood strikes.
- You can substitute in other fillings instead of the oysters such as sausage meat or little pieces of brie with apricot jam. By cutting the dough into larger rounds, you can make pasties or empanadas too.
- Remember to seal the edges well so your filling doesn’t leak out.