Saturday, June 9, 2018

Cornish Pasties – well Cornish-ish anyway !

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If you are from Cornwall, shut your eyes and block your ears for I am about to commit sacrilege. First though, here’s a little bit about the Cornish pastry, the traditional fare of Cornish tin miners. It is simply a half-moon-shaped savoury pastry containing diced beef skirt, onion, turnip (swede), potato, maybe some parsley, and little else. In some places there was a tradition of putting the initials of the owner on the pasty so that in mines where an oven was provided, the miner could pick out his own pasty from the hoards.

The Cornish pasty has recently been given Protected Geographical Status, meaning only pasties made in Cornwall and containing only the traditional ingredients can be called Cornish pasties.

As my humble pasty is not made in Cornwall, it is only Corn-ish.  These Corn-ish pasties went down a storm at a picnic last weekend. As they cannot be truly Cornish I didn’t feel so bad about going off-piste with ingredients like sweet potato and chorizo. I’ve used a mixture of meats because that’s what was in the fridge. You could use all beef mince if you prefer.

For 10 one-person pasties you will need...
... to pre-heat the oven to 175°C at step 4
500g plain flour
1 teaspoon fine table salt
150g butter, chilled and grated
175mls iced water 

1                    Place the flour, salt and grated butter in a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour. This simply means taking pinches of the mixure and rubbing it between thumb and fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (or use your stand mixer). Mix in just enough of the iced water to bring the pastry together in a ball – you may not need all the water. Cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate until needed.

250g minced beef
150g finely diced veal
75g onion, finely chopped
75g potato, finely diced
75g sweet potato, finely diced
25g chorizo, finely diced (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon fine table salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

Egg wash
1 egg, beaten and mixed with a pinch of salt

2                    Place all the filling ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and mix together until the vegetables and herbs are well distributed throughout the meat.
3                    To assemble the pasties, roll out the pasty to about 3mm thick. Stamp out 13cm circles (5 inches). I don’t have a pastry cutter this size so I use a small bowl as a template, resting it on the pastry and cutting around it with a sharp knife.
4                    Pile approximately 2 tablespoons of the mixture on one half of each pastry round, leaving a margin of at least 1cm at the edge. Fold the other half of the pastry over the filling and press the edges together.
5                    Either crimp the edges of the pastry together using a fork, or try this crimping technique: Stand the pastry up so that the joined edges are at the top. Starting at one end, clamp the pastry join between a thumb and forefinger and twist it through 180 degrees, then using the other hand, hold this twist in place while with the other hand you move along the top of the pastry, a thumbs-width at a time, pinching and twisting. Tuck both ends under to seal the pastry.

Cheap therapy: Pinch and twist. Repeat.

6                    Place the prepared pasties on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking parchment. Brush lightly with egg wash and transfer to the preheated oven.
7                    Bake for about 35 minutes or until golden brown. If like me you are rushing out the door to a picnic, wrap the hot pastries loosely in a clean tea towel – they’ll get soggy if you seal them in aluminium foil or cling wrap. Otherwise place them on a cooling rack and leave them to cool. They also freeze beautifully. 

Corn-ish pasties - ok who wants to fight over the last two?

If life is too short to take the time to fill and crimp 10 individual pasties, you could always supersize them and make four large ones instead, for sharing. The larger ones need about 50 minutes in the oven.
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  1. Well, fully authentic or not, those are truly lovely pasties you've made. In Michigan's Upper Peninsula, great pasties are still available everywhere and they are a big deal there. I don't know if the Cornish would approve of them, but they still seem pretty authentic and they were, indeed, traditionally taken by workers into the UP's copper mines and eaten for lunch.

  2. If I make a large one, I don't have to share right? These sound fabulous! I've love spicy patties so I'm all about you getting all insane with the chorizo. Those Cornwallians should take a cue!


  3. Foodbuzz will never let me comment on your blog through their link. No idea why.

    I love it, I want it, I must have it.

  4. I will become cornish if you will give me a batch of these gorgeous pastries :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  5. It is late and these are making me hungry Hester!
    I must give the old pasties a whirl. We have Americans coming to visit soon and I know these would be deadly to have in the freezer for late night snacking after we get home from all the, em, walking xx

  6. I'd never eaten a pastie until I moved to Australia. Then of course I pronounced it like an American would. Everyone at the pie shop laughed, rolled their eyes and muttered, "American."

    I laughed when John told me I'd said it wrong.

    So nice and loud I said, "then I'll have a pastie please!" In my best not very Australian accnt.

    The lady didn't bat an eyelash and said, "what sort, doll?"

    I've never made them at home but I should because I love them.

    I will never call them Cornish, I promise.

  7. I love it when you go off-piste, Hester, especially with chorizo. I'm hooked on it and wished the pasties as a child in Scotland had your filling. Oh, and no need to fight on the last 2 pasties, since one is clearly marked Hester and the other has my name written all over it! It's mine, it's mine...

  8. Excuse me while I elbow Jill out of the way! The pasty clearly has wonderful crispy golden pastry which is mine all mine...preciouseesss.

  9. Authentically Cornish or not, I want one. I may have to make some...And soon!

  10. I love Cornish pasty : )The step by step photo is great!

  11. I’d always wanted to make these!! I had my first Cornish pastry in London. They were frozen and came from the supermarket, but nevertheless they were so good. Maybe I was hungry or maybe I got lucky and bought the right stuff?

    Anyway I’m so happy you posted these. And included great step by step pictures of how to shape them. Hope you had a great weekend!

  12. Great recipe!

    Actually Cornish Pasties were all about using what was

    available, which at that time was probably lamb.

    It was about a portable lunch using leftovers, so I

    would say that they can pass as real Cornish Pasties.


    Have a Joyful Day


  13. I could use one of these right now! I love your photo tutorial - so helpful! Thank you for sharing!

  14. There was just an article about these on National Public Radio the other day--something about how people are protesting fast foods like pasties being taxed? Anyway, these look delicious--savory and flaky!

  15. Delightful! And love the picture recipe. I think blood would be drawn fighting over these babies. A

  16. This is such a detailed post. I love the passion with which you make your recipes...outstanding! Cornish pasties sound like a great weekend idea for movie time with my family!


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