Petits Pâtés from Pézénas are small meat pies in the shape of a cotton reel. There are several stories behind the Petits Pâtés but all of them hold that in the mid-18th century Clive of India stayed in the area and is responsible for their creation. One version of the story says that Clive stayed at the Chateau de Larzac in 1768 and that his Indian cook invented the pies (a more refined version of Keema Naan) from the local ingredients and gave the recipe to a pastry cook called Roucairol.
Another tells that Clive convalesced in the Château Saint Martin de Grave and formed the Picnic Club, to which members contributed favourite dishes. The Clives had an English cook, Carrington, who made curries for the club – possibly France's first Indian takeaways – and Carrington commissioned the Petits Pâtés from a baker who was given the recipe.
The pies are a mixture of sweet and savoury and are made from a mixture of brown sugar, roast mutton and lemon zest, enveloped in a thin layer of rich pastry. They should be eaten hot and served as a starter with a glass of wine.
50g softened butter
200g of leg of mutton
25g mutton fat
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 spoonfuls of raisins, chopped
1 egg yolk
salt & pepper
Mix all the pastry ingredients together and knead. Rest the dough for 2 hours. Chop the leg of mutton and the fat, season with salt and pepper. Add the grated lemon zest and chopped raisins. Put aside. Roll out the pastry. Butter some ramekins and line with the pastry. Fill with the stuffing and cover with the remaining pastry. Pinch the edges together to seal them. Brush with an egg yolk. Cook in a preheated oven for 30 mins at 200ºC.