Well, probably not Cornish Pasties, merely Pasties, now that they have European PGI status. But you know what I mean.
First, an admission. I’ve never been able to make a palatable Cornish Pasty by following the traditional recipes. That’s partly because I’m a poor pastry cook. Maybe I just don’t have the touch; my pastry always larks sparkle. But I now realise that it’s partly because the recipes just don’t work. But this was a success:
My interest was piqued by a posting on (of all places) The Rev Counter, which is a motorcycling forum. Of course if there’s one thing we motorcyclists enjoy, second only to bacon sarnies, it’s a nice pasty. Opinion was divided between those who favoured only rare-breed beef sliced thinly and mixed with organic heritage-variety vegetables, and those who maintained that the ride down to Cornwall was well worth it to procure the genuine article.
Then someone posted a recipe given to him by his dad, who was a retired baker. It was so simple that much scorn was poured on it. But I thought I’d give it a try.
Makes 5 large pasties or 7 smaller ones
8 oz plain flour
3 oz lard
About 15 tsp cold water (which comes to about 90ml for the flour that we use)
Sieve flour, add a pinch of salt, then rub in the cut up fat with finger tips. Add enough water to make a soft dough. It doesn’t feel like short crust; it’s much softer – more like bread dough. Let it rest in the fridge for half an hour.
250 gms good minced beef
Finely chop the onion and soften in a little oil. Add meat and brown lightly. Add enough water to cover, add generous amounts of freshly ground black pepper, and salt to taste.
Simmer until meat is cooked, about 5 mins.
Peel and cut up potatoes and steam until cooked. Don’t yet discard the water in the steamer. Put potatoes through a ricer (or mash them). Let everything cool. Gently combine meat and potatoes. Add some potato liquid if necessary.
Heat oven to 220C (200C fan).
Cut pastry into 5 pieces and roll each one into a circle about as big as a saucer. Put a decent spoonful of meat mix on one side and fold over the pastry.
Wrap the edges together and pinch to make tight. Brush with an egg and milk mix.
Bake in a hot oven until brown for about 20-25 mins.
And no, there’s no swede, and the meat is indeed minced not chopped. I’ve tried the recipe including swede and I’ve tried it with chopped beef. Neither is a great improvement to what is plain home cooking.
Simple though they are, with a shake of Worcester sauce, we think they’re hard to beat.