From special occasion food to retro food
Pastetli are a bit of a retro food in Switzerland these days. When I was a child in the 1980ies, my mum made them regularly, mostly on Sundays or when we had guests over, but these days this is one of the Swiss meals that has been replaced by many modern families with more exotic choices such as a Thai curry or Mexican fajitas. But, the Pastetli are still around and they’re still part of the Swiss food landscape. The Pastetli itself is a basket made of puff pastry. You can buy them in any Coop or Migros, probably not in Aldi or Lidl. There are the regular sized ones and the tiny, bite-sized ones. The tiny ones are great as party food, filled with whatever savoury filling you like, for example cream cheese and salmon. The regular sized ones are mostly filled with either a creamy Brätkügeli sauce or a creamy mushroom sauce. When I was younger, the traditional filling was veal sweetbreads, but these days not many people still eat those parts of the calf. Photo source: Migros
How to cook Brätkügeli
The Brätkügeli (see photo) are small sausagemeatballs and still very popular. They’re traditionally made of veal, but other versions are available too. There are many recipes for Brätkügeli, for example the below sauce but with rice instead of puff pastry baskets, or with rice and a Swiss style curry sauce. Photo source: Migros
The origins of Pastetli
Pastetli were invented in France where they’re called vol-au-vent, French for ‘windblown’ to describe its lightness. The first time they appeared in a cookbook was in 1739. While they’re served as an appetiser in France, they’re eaten as a main meal not only in Switzerland but also in Belgium and the Netherlands. It is also from the Netherlands where our Swiss name Pastetli origins from. The Dutch call them pasteitje (little pastry). From there it came to the German Pastete. Just to add a little complication though, a Pastete in Switzerland is rectangle cake shaped puff pastry pie filled with sausagemeat, mushrooms and other things. The Pastetli, meaning little Pastete, is the French vol-au-vent. Confused? We are too.
Recipe for 4 people
- 1 onion
- 2 tbsps butter or oil
- 150g button mushrooms
- 3 tbsps flour
- 1 dl white wine
- 2 tsp beef stock powder
- 1.5 dl cream
- 600g Brätkügeli
- 8 Pastetli
- Some parsley or chives
- Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C.
Heat the butter or oil in a saucepan. Add the chopped onions and fry gently until soft. Add the chopped mushrooms and fry until the mushrooms are soft. Add the flour and fry for two minutes while constantly stirring.
Then add the wine, 4 dl of water and the stock powder. Bring to the boil and let it cook for 5-10 minutes while stirring regularly.
While the sauce is cooking, heat the puff pastry baskets in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
Add the cream and salt and pepper to taste. Add the Brätkügeli and cook until they’re hot. Chop the chives or parsley and stir it into the sauce.
Place the Pastetli baskets onto plates, fill them with the sausage meat and sauce and serve with either a salad or steamed vegetables. Enjoy!