Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cornish Pasties

I seem to be on a British cooking kick lately. I just love to cook things knowing I am keeping up the tradition of recipes that were made my grandmother, great grandmothers, and beyond. I am lucky to have the luxury of modern conveniences such as an electric oven, big powerful mixers and food processors. I can't imagine what it must have been like to have to do everything by hand and then try to cook with a wood burning oven.

Cornish pasties were traditionally made for Cornish miners to take with them down into the mines. They were made with a sturdy crust filled with meat and veggies, everything in a nice, tidy package that the men could stick in their pockets and have for lunch. I made mine with a lard/butter crust which is what I found on an English website on the subject. I imagine that suet or bacon fat could also be used or a combination of vegetable shortening and butter. A cardiologist's nightmare. My crust was so easy to handle. It rolled out like a charm and was ever so flaky. A crust success!!

Also, apparently carrots are a no-no in a traditional Cornish pasty. Turnips are the veggie de rigueur. Well, I had no turnips so carrots made their way into my recipe. I think parsnips or perhaps even a little butternut squash cut into small little cubes would be delicious. There was leftover filling which when sauteed, made a great hash for breakfast.

Cornish Pasties
(Makes 7 pasties)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup cold lard, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup ice water

Mix dry ingredients into a bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add ice water a little at a time, tossing with a fork to make a pastry-like dough. Add a bit more water if it seems dry. Dough should hold together when squeezed lightly. Gather into two balls, press firmly, then wrap with plastic wrap and chill while preparing the pasty filling. I made mine the night before so it was well chilled when I was ready to make the pasties.

1 lb. bottom round steak cut into small, bite sized pieces
2 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into a small dice
1 carrot, cut into a small dice
1/2 cup diced onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
3-4 shakes Worcestershire sauceMix all of the filling ingredients together well and let sit for 15 minutes.Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it's approximately 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 6 inch circles. Place circles of dough onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Put approximately 1/3 cup of filling in the middle of the circle. With water, wet 1/2 of the circle's edge with water. Fold the other half of the circle over the filling and press tightly around the edge and then turn the edge over itself to completely seal so no filling leaks out while baking. Brush each pasty with an egg wash (1 beaten egg with a little water or cream), make a 1 inch slit in the top of each pastie to let steam escape while cooking.Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes then turn down oven to 325 degrees and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown.


Salem Man said...

Those look yummy!

KandN said...

I wonder if they used parsnips and turnips because of how they lasted in storage?
Oh and was this the original "Hot Pocket"? :>D

Salem Man said...

I think this is a version of the calzone.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

This reminds me of a Mexican empenanda. I had a hankering for pasties, ever since my husband raved about the one we at at a tea house.
You solved the debate as to whether or not the beef is cooked before filling the pastry or not. I need to remind myself to make this. I like your dough ingredients. I found a non-transfat lard at Whole Foods. I bet this is a tender crust. Thanks!
PS: I'd use carrots, anyway!

Big sis said...

These look fabulous. I have never had good luck with lard pastry so i will try your method. Thanks to feast for the eyes tip for the " healthy Lard" at Whole foods. Seems like an oxymoron.