One of my favourite savoury bakes is Cornish Pasties. These are a very traditional item in Cornwall. Farm workers would take them into the fields. Miners would also take them for lunch. The pastry was always very firm to withstand travelling. Not only that but there was also a thick rim which could be used to hold the pasty whilst eating. That rim was how the pasty was held, in the dirty hands of the workers.
The pasties contain potato, swede(rutabaga), onion and beef. A good amount of pepper is used to add a spicy kick to the pasties. Often, it seems, carrot is used too. But that is frowned upon by those who know the traditional pasty.
The pastry most often used these days seems to be shortcrust. However I have watched reviews of supermarket pasties and they all used puff pastry. But I have to say those pasties did not look appetising at all. Indeed I thought they looked quite awful, with a rather mushy filling.
There is a particular way of crimping the pastry for a Cornish Pasty. But I haven’t managed to master that. So I crimp mine in the most simple manner. In essence that doesn’t matter since it doesn’t affect they flavour or enjoyment.
To make the pastry robust, such that it can be handled easily, I used bread flour. I also kneaded the pastry dough to work the gluten in the flour.
Since the filling is raw before baking everything should be chopped into small enough pieces to allow them to be fully cooked.
Traditionally the meat used is beef skirt. However any beef can be used, such as chuck, rump etc.
The recipe takes time. That is mainly because the pastry dough is rested in the fridge for at least two hours. Other than that this is a very simple recipe.
I crimped my pasties in different patterns, but in the simplest way possible.
They baked very well indeed. I ate my first one just warm and it tasted fantastic. Of course, they can be eaten hot or cold too. They can also be frozen and then reheated when needed.
The recipe will make 6 good sized pasties.
Another great savoury recipe is: Deep Filled Minced Beef Pie.
Easy Cornish PastiesCourse: Pies, TartsCuisine: British, CornishDifficulty: Easy
500g(3 1/3 cups, based on scooping packed flour into 250ml cup) bread flour
6g (1 tsp) salt
100g(7 tbsp) lard, cold and cubed (you can use shortening instead)
150g(10 tbsp + 2 tsp) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
100ml(6 tbsp+2 tsp) ice cold water
1 beaten egg for an egg wash
400g(14 oz) beef, diced into 1 cm pieces
400g(14 oz) potatoes diced into cubes and then sliced into thinner pieces
200g(7 ox) swede(rutabaga) diced into cubes and then sliced into thinner pieces
2 medium onions chopped
3g(1/2 tsp) salt
Good grind of pepper(adjust to taste)
- Place the flour, salt and butter into a food processor(you can make the pastry entirely by hand too).
- Add the butter and lard and process until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs.
- Add most of the water and process again, until the mixture clumps together. You may not need all the water.
- Tip the mixture out onto a clean work surface and squeeze into a ball.
- Knead the pastry dough for 3 minutes, to create some gluten to strengthen the dough.
- Form the dough into a disc and place in plastic wrap and then chill for at least two hours.
- In a large bowl place the potato and swede and sprinkel over the salt and pepper and mix around.
- Add the onions and beef and mix again until everything is evenly distributed.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400 F.
- Line a couple of baking trays with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and for each piece into a ball.
- On a lightly floured work surface roll out each ball of pastry dough to a diameter of 22cm(about 9 inches).
- Use a plate or similar placed on the pastry and cut around the rim to leave a well defined disc.
- Place 1/6th of the filling onto the centre of the disc of pastry.
- Brush the half edge of the pastry , forming a semi circle of brushed pastry, with egg wash.
- Lift the edge of the pastry, from both sides and join them together, forming a nice seal to enclose the filling.
- Turn the filled pastry onto its’ side and gently press around the filling to create a flattened surface to be used as a rim.
- Crimp the edge of the pastry as you wish, I rolled up the edge to form a rim and then created patterns using my fingers pressed into the dough, or a knife to make notches.
- Brush all over the top surface and side of the pastry with egg wash.
- Make two slits in the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape during baking.
- Place the pasties on a baking tray.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 160C/140C Fan/325F and bake for a further 45 minutes.
- Remove the pasties from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool until you need them. They can be eaten, hot, warm or cold. They can also be frozen and reheated as necessary.