Sunday, 26 January 2014

'cornish' pasty

You really can't beat a proper Cornish pasty. Sometimes it's the only thing that'll do. In the last few years pasties have become an important feature of my culinary life. You see, I married a Cornish man. He is born and bred in Cornwall from a long line of proper Cornish folk. Pasties are so important to his family that the very first thing his Dad asked when we told him we were getting married was "how many pasties do you want me to bring for the wedding reception?" No Cornish party is complete without a pasty it seems.

But lets get this out of the way  before we go any further - I know what I've made here can't  truly be called a Cornish Pasty. It was made in Bangkok not in Cornwall and it didn't use Cornish ingredients but my argument is that as it was given a ceremonial blessing from my husband we can call it Cornish. He also supervised the pasty making to ensure I adhered to the official standards (side crimping, NO CARROTS, egg glaze, correct meat and appropriate ingredient ratios).

My recipe is based on the one from the Cornish Pasty Association but with the substitution of butter for the margarine (I refuse to use that stuff) and lard for the white shortening. I couldn't find lard here in Bangkok so had to render my own from so pork fat I bought at the butchers. You can check out the original Cornish Pasty Association recipe here

Ingredients (enough for 4 proper sized pasties)

500g strong bread flour (you need to use a stronger flour so that you get the more pliable consistency you need)
120g lard
25g unsalted butter
5g salt
175g cold water

450g good quality beef eg. skirt
700g potato (ideally a waxy kind) or 450g potato and 250g swede (I don't like swede very much so we didn't use it)
200g onion
Salt & pepper to taste( 2/1 ratio)
Clotted cream or butter (optional) 

  1. Place the flour in a large bowl, then chop the butter and lard into the flour and mix with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. 
  2. Add the water and mix/knead until the dough comes away from the edges of the bowl and becomes elastic. This will take a little longer than it does with regular pastry as your trying to build up the strength that is needed to hold everything in. 
  3. Wrap the dough ball in cling film then leave to rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight. 
  4. When you're ready to assemble the pasties, preheat your oven (Gas 6, Fan 165C, Electric 210C)
  5. Next finely chop and slice the potato, onion and beef, season very generously with salt and pepper and mix everything together in a large bowl.
  6. Quarter your pasty dough and roll out into circles about 2-3mm thickness. You're aiming for about the size of a dinner plate.                                                                                                                                              
  7. Place a quarter of the meat and potato mixture slightly off-centre in the circle. Add an extra little dollop of butter or clotted cream if you wish then fold over the pastry so that everything is sealed in and you have a semi-circular shape.  

  8. Next is the crimping to make sure everything stays sealed while cooking. This is probably the most tricky part of making the pasty. I've tried to include step-by-step photos below but you'll mostly need to feel your way with it. Sorry. There are some useful videos on the internet if you want some more guidance. Paul Hollywood's demonstration is straight forward and easy to follow and starts around 3:25.

    Not bad for a Polish girl!
  9. Place each crimped pasty on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Make a couple of small holes in the top of each pasty, glaze with beaten egg or milk then bake for around 40mins to an hour until it is golden brown all over. 
  10. Try to resist eating them straight from the oven. Pasties are really at their best when they're just warm. A pasty is a meal in itself so don't feel the need to serve it with any accompaniments. Just enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. never question the power of a Cornish pasty!!!!!! 'tis a thing of beauty!


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