Well, the season ended a few weeks ago and we bet you are missing all things Cornwall already! In fact, we’d wager you’d give just about anything for a proper Cornish pasty (take or leave the accompanying seagulls).
That’s why we’ve decided to let you in on an age-old (not so) secret recipe. Passed down through the ages- how to make a ‘proper’ good Cornish pasty at home, dreckly!
Of course, you can only call it a “Cornish Pasty” if you make it in Cornwall, but we won’t tell if you don’t. As one of the few foods that has protected status by the European Commission, the good old Cornish Pasty is in the same league as Champagne, Stilton cheese and the Melton Mowbray pork pie.
Back in the days when tin mining was all the rage ‘round these parts, the miners’ wives would lovingly make their husbands packed lunch. We’re not talking bento boxes back then, but the good old pasty. The thick pastry crust meant the men could hold it in their grubby mitts without giving themselves arsenic poisoning. When they’d eaten the delicious meaty filling, they would throw the crust to the ‘Knockers’. Knockers are mischievous little sprites that cause mayhem in the mines if they aren’t fed. Some lucky beggars even had a pudding filling in one end of the pasty, with the meat and veg in the other end so they could enjoy a two course meal in one.
Legend has it that the Devil himself refuses to cross the River Tamar, because of the Cornish woman’s penchant for turning anything into a tasty pasty filling. Seems to be working so far!
Recipe from The Cornish Pasty Association
FOR SHORTCRUST PASTRY (rough puff can also be used):
500g strong bread flour (it is important to use a stronger flour than normal as you need the extra strength in the gluten to produce strong pliable pastry)
120g lard or white shortening
125g Cornish butter
1 tsp salt
175ml cold water
FOR THE FILLING
400g good quality beef skirt, cut into cubes
300g potato, peeled and diced
150g swede, peeled and diced
150g onion, peeled and sliced
Salt & pepper to taste (2:1 ratio)
Beaten egg or milk to glaze
- Add the salt to the flour in a large mixing bowl.
- Rub the two types of fat lightly into flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add water, bring the mixture together and knead until the pastry becomes elastic. This will take longer than normal pastry but it gives the pastry the strength that is needed to hold the filling and retain a good shape. This can also be done in a food mixer.
- Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 3 hours in the fridge. Very important.
- Roll out the pastry and cut into circles approx. 20cm diameter. A side plate is an ideal size to use as a guide.
- Layer the vegetables and meat on top of the pastry, adding plenty of seasoning as you go. The amount of salt and pepper to use will vary according to taste but a good rule of thumb is to use a good pinch of salt and a gentle pinch of pepper on each layer.
- Bring the pastry around and crimp the edges together.
- Glaze with beaten egg or an egg and milk mixture.
- Bake at 165 degrees C (fan oven) for about 50 – 55 minutes until golden and piping hot in the centre.