If you've never had a Jamaican patty before, I highly recommend you find your local Jamaican eatery RIGHT now and go get one. A good Jamaican patty is crisp and flaky but soft at the same time, and the filling needs to be creamy and packed full of spices and flavor. They're supposed to be so good that you are willing to burn your mouth and face just so you can keep eating it while it's hot. Seriously, they are that good!
When I lived in Grant Park, I had one pretty much every week, because I stopped by Hodgepodge Coffeehouse. I would go in and get either a "Bless Your Heart" (their version of a caramel macchiato) or a "Slap Yo Pappy" (a cold brew with chocolate, seriously it's so good) and I would always always get a beef patty while I was there. We've since moved from Grant Park all the way over to Mableton, and one of the things I miss most is stopping at Hodgepodge.
I remember one time my husband and I tried our hand at making some. We found a recipe online and gave it a shot, and it was really not great in the end haha! My job was to make the dough while he made the filling. Side note, my husband is a great cook. He's one of those naturals, and he loves testing and trying out different flavor combinations. That is not me one bit! The one thing that I just love about baking is the science behind it, where measurements are used to great precision. It's like a science experiment every time, but with delicious results! For our patties, we used the patties from Hodgepodge as our goal for finish and flavor. To say we didn't even come close is an understatement. So when game night with Family came up this past weekend, I wanted to give them another shot.
This time around, I was slightly more familiar with working with dough in general. I made a beef version and a chicken version. I had to make them separately because the recipe I found uses the low-sodium powdered beef bullion packs, and my sister has a beef allergy, so we made a chicken version for her and others that prefer chicken. I personally prefer beef, but both came out pretty good, I think!
This recipe in particular said to mix my dough by hand. First I was to squeeze the butter pieces into the dry ingredients, so they become crumbly. And then to add cold water and work the dough until it becomes the consistency of play-doh.
One of the things it mentioned was not to "overwork the dough." I didn't really know what this meant, or why, so I just mixed until I thought it looked like it was supposed to, like play-doh. When we finished up with our patties, I knew my dough was off. It kept wanting to stay together, it was really hard to roll out, which I guess at least I got a good workout in the end? So I ended up googling and trying to find out why my dough wasn't flaky, but tough. I found out that to get flaky dough, you need to incorporate your cold butter into the dough. When you bake it, the pieces of butter melt away, and leaves pockets of air in your dough, thus making it flaky. Maybe I'm over simplifying it, but basically, that is the gist. Knowing this just makes me want to give it another shot, so maybe I'll make an updated post for Jamaican patties once I get it right!
In the end, they weren't the super success I was hoping for, but they still tasted delicious, and good flavor is half the battle!
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed!