Jamaican patties are one of the most popular Jamaican foods but lobster patties are an indulgent treat. The only place I’ve ever had one was at Devon House Bakery, in Kingston Jamaica. The patties are loaded with large pieces of lobster and potatoes in what tastes like a delicious and spicy bisque. I decided to recreate the patties at home until I can return to Jamaica to snab a few. Here are a few notes below:
Traditional Jamaican patty crust is a basic mixture of flour, coloring, water and fat. The fat used in Jamaican patty crust is called beef suet. There is a simple Jamaican patty crust recipe.
Instead of cooking the filling in water, I kicked the flavor up a notch by making a simple lobster stock first. When cleaning the lobster, remove the meat and reserve the shells. Rinse the shells under cold running water before adding them to a medium saucepan with vegetable stock, half of a large diced yellow onion and two bay leaves. Cook the stock until the shells change in color to a deep orange. Strain the stock and set aside. The stock is later used to deglaze the aromatics and cook the potatoes.
Breadcrumbs and potatoes are used to bind the filling for these patties. Since the lobster is so delicate and it will be baked in the oven until the pastry is cooked, there is no need to fully cook the pieces on the stove. Pay close attention to the steps below to prevent the lobster from overcooking and becoming rubbery. The filling is brightened with a little butter and fresh lemon zest. Do not underestimate the use of lemon zest in seafood dishes. It adds freshness and brightness to the filling in this recipe and is a necessary addition.
Folding the Patties:
Devon House patties are folded differently from the circular traditional shape of other patties. The layout starts with a square and ends in a pouch with four corners. You will need to locate the corners at the bottom of the square, lift and fold them to the center of the square to create an upper seam. Repeat this for the corners at the top of the square. Finish by sealing the two open slits in the center of the square. The idea is to link each corner of the square with the opposite corner. I found that the patties were easier to fill and bake with this folding method. There were no explosions or leakages during baking and the crust held up better overall.
These ingredients will make 4 large patties and bake them at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
- 4 – 4 oz lobster tails (16oz) (reserve shells)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- ½ purple onion, diced finely
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 scallions, diced finely
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper, finely diced
- 2 tsp fish seasoning
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 1 medium white potato, medium diced
- ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp butter
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1 egg (for egg wash)
- Reserved lobster shells
- 1 ½ cups veggie stock
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ yellow onion, large dice
- Make the patty crust, wrap in cling film and set in the refrigerator.
- Remove lobster meat from the shells and save the shells. Rinse shells and meat under cold running water. You can add a bit of lemon juice to the water but not directly on the meat. Cut meat into 2-inch pieces and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, add lobster shells, onion, veggie stock and bay leaves. Cook the stock over medium heat until the shells turn to a deep orange color. Remove promptly from the heat, strain the stock into a medium bowl and set aside. Discard the shells, onions and bay leaves.
- In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium low heat. Once the oil melts, add red onions and saute for about 30 seconds before adding the grated garlic. Cook garlic for 30 seconds and add in scallions, scotch bonnet peppers and fresh thyme. Stir the pan and cook for an additional minute before adding powdered seasonings.
- To the aromatics add fish seasoning, all spice, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Cook the seasonings until fragrant for about 30 seconds.
- Deglaze the pan using the lobster stock and allow it to come up to a simmer. Add in diced potatoes and cover the pan. Allow the potatoes to completely cook until fork tender, about 7-10 minutes.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, turn the heat off and add the lobster pieces and butter. Gently toss in the sauce. The lobster does not need to be fully cooked. Use a spoon to mash about a ¼ of the potato cubes. Add in bread crumbs and lemon zest. Stir to combine. If the sauce is still runny, add about 1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs will continue to absorb the liquid from the sauce as the filling cools. Spoon the filling into a bowl and set aside to cool. The filling needs to fully cool before you can assemble the patties.
- Make an egg wash by whisking 1 egg with 2 tablespoons of cold water. You will use the egg wash to seal the patties.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Liberally flour a large baking tray and set aside.
- To assemble patties, pinch off a golf ball sized piece of dough and place it on a well floured board or surface. Roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thickness. Roll the dough into a cylinder and then roll the cylinder onto itself until it looks like a ball or puck to create the layers and flakes in the patty. Roll the dough flat again and use a sharp knife to cut the dough into a square. Discard the excess dough.
- Add about 4 tablespoons of lobster filling to the center of the square. Brush the edges of the square with the egg wash using a pastry brush or your fingertips. Lift the two corners at the bottom of the square and join the tips of the corners in the center of the filling. Press the opened edges of the dough closed to create a seam. Repeat steps for the corners at the top of the square. Seal the last two openings on the dough by pressing the edges of the dough together. Once the patty is sealed, use a spatula to help transfer it to the floured baking tray.
- Repeat steps 11-12 until all of the patties are assembled. Bake patties at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot.