Cornish Pasties

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:

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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

Pastry

8 oz plain flour
Salt
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.

Filling

250 gms good minced beef
1 onion
Potatoes

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.

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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.

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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.

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