Cornish Pasties

Cornwall is world famous for its pasties. A pasty is a form of free form pie folded so that it is self supporting. Despite Cornwall’s fame for its pasties they were in fact once eaten across Europe in various forms. Medieval feasts often featured plate fulls of pasties sometimes filled with ingredients such as venison or lamprey.

A dish known as a Hoggan was eaten in Cornwall up until the 20th Century. This was a peice of meat covered in coarse barley and roasted in a fire. AK Hamilton Jenkin said this meat was “Green Pork”. One Cornish language word for a pasty in “Hogan” no doubt taken from this dish.

The Cornish pasty of today is quite an invention taking very basic ingredients and turning them into something delicous. Cornish pasties are now protected by law and must meet the following criteria:

“A genuine Cornish pasty has a distinctive ‘D’ shape and is crimped on one side, never on top. The texture of the filling for the pasty is chunky, made up of uncooked minced or roughly cut chunks of beef (not less than 12.5%), swede, potato and onion and a light peppery seasoning. The pastry casing is golden in colour, savoury, glazed with milk or egg and robust enough to retain its shape throughout the cooking and cooling process without splitting or cracking. The whole pasty is slow-baked to ensure that flavours from the raw ingredients are maximised. No flavourings or additives must be used. And, perhaps most importantly, it must also be made in Cornwall.”

Cornish Pasty Recipe provided by the Cornish Pasty Association.

This recipe is for 4 good sized Cornish Pasties

METHOD

pasty1. Pastry

  • 500 gms 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.
  • 120 gms white shortening
  • 25 gms cake margarine
  • 5 gms salt
  • 175 gms cold water

Mix fat lightly into flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add water and beat in a food mixer until pastry clears and 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.

Leave to rest for 3 hours in a refrigerator, this is a very important stage as it is almost
impossible to roll and shape the pastry when fresh

2. Filling

  • 450 gms good quality beef eg. skirt
  • 450 gms potato
  • 250 gms Swede
  • 200 gms onion
  • Salt & pepper to taste( 2/1 ratio)

Clotted cream or butter (optional)

Chop the above finely then add to the rolled out circles of pastry raw. Layer the vegetables and meat adding plenty o f seasoning. Put your dollop of cream or a knob of butter on top. Then bring the pastry around and crimp together. Try practicing on a potato first or just flatten like a turnover and mark with a fork. Crimping is the secret to a true Cornish pasty but it really has to be taught it is almost impossible to describe.

HANDY HINTS

  • Always use a firm waxy potato such as Maris pier or Wilja.
  • Put in plenty of seasoning.
  • Ensure that all your veg is freshly prepared

Use a good cut of BEEF eg. skirt. This is the underside of the belly of the animal. Its juice
produces wonderful gravy, has no fat or gristle and cooks in the same amount of time as the
raw vegetables.

  • Cooking time and temperature
  • Gas No6 approx 50 min-1 hour
  • Electric 210 approx 50min-1 hour  Fan assisted 165 approx 40 mins