Making a Cornish Pasty (well 4!)
Making a Cornish Pasty is something which you will need to practice – you can’t just throw one together and if you asked a true Cornishman he would say the first thing you need is a good woman – although that’s how every recipe starts when you get down west
I would also suggest looking on YouTube for crimping skills, it’s a dark art and one which can’t be explained with words. I’ve tried it several times and always up with a very higgledy piggledy crust, but then I’ve not tried it with a good woman so maybe next time?
Also, a word of warning – don’t crimp your pasty over the top – it is easier but shows and level of laziness more associated with them folk from over the boarder – I can’t mention any names and it would probably be unfair to point a finger but if they hadn’t been so lazy and walked a little further in the early days they would now be Cornish! I’m just saying…
Making the Pastry – Pasty pastry, for four eight-inch pasties.
- 450g 1lb strong white flour
- large pinch salt optional
- 100g 4oz margarine
- 110g 4oz lard
- 175ml 1/3pt water
Put the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut off a quarter of the lard and rub into flour. Grate or slice the rest of the fats into the mixture and stir with a knife. Pour all the water in and stir until absorbed. Knead a little and leave at least 30 minutes in the fridge before using.
Pasty filling, quantity for 4 pasties.
200g Chopped onion and leek
300g cubed turnip(Swede)
400g beef skirt or chuck steak
600g roughly chopped potatoes
black pepper, salt (season to taste – don’t be scared!)
Making the pasties
Keep the sliced potatoes in a basin of cold water till needed. Trim and gristle off the meat and cut it (with some fat) into 6 mm (1/4 in) pieces and separate into 4 piles. Separate the vegs into 4 equal parts too.
Generously flour the board or area you are using. This allows the pastry to relax as you roll, especially if you flip the pastry up from the surface every now and then. Cut off a quarter of the prepared pastry. Roll it out, keeping the shape, into a circle 21-23 cm (8-9 in) across. The pastry should now be the right thickness. Place an upturned dinner plate over the pastry and trim round to get a nice round shape.
Layer up the pasty contents starting with onions, leek and swede, then add all the meat, then layer the potato’s and finally the remainder of the veg. Season well between each layer but do not season the top layer – salt in contact with pastry can give it a bitter taste.
Dampen one side of the pastry with a little water. If you dampen the pastry all round or use too much water you will find the edges slide instead of sealing, so don’t slosh it on.
Fold the damp side of the pastry to the other and press firmly but gently together, so that you have a seam down across the pastry, or by the side, whichever you find easier. From the right side if you are right-handed (or the left if you are left-handed) fold over the corner and crimp by folding the pastry seam over and over to the end. Tuck in the end well to seal. Alternatively, if you find this difficult, just curl the edge like a wave.
Make a small slit in the top with a knife and patch any other breaks or holes with a little dampened rolled-out pastry.
Brush the pasties with milk or egg wash or even just water and place them on buttered paper or a greased and floured tray, leaving a good gap between them.
Bake in a hot oven 220C (425F, gas 7) for 20 to 30 minutes. Check the pasties. If brown, turn them down to 160C (325F, gas 3). Bake for another 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave them in the oven for another 15 minutes with the door shut.
Remove from the oven and with a slice lift the pasty onto a plate. Cut in half, allowing some of the steam to escape.
If you are eating them picnic style, place the pasties onto a cooling tray and wait 15 minutes before eating. If you want to eat them an hour or so later, or are taking them on a journey, wrap them straight from the oven in paper and then a clean cloth. Pasties keep extremely hot for a long time and if well wrapped a pasty made in St Ives would still be ‘eating hot’ when you reach Exeter Services.
This recipe is thanks to Anns Pasties (a very good pasty indeed) – www.annspasties.co.uk