30 May 2013

Traditional Cornish Pasty

That may or may not be a little touch up patch on the front right..pretend you don't see it! :)

If you have never been to Cornwall then you might well never have had a real Cornish pasty. This is the sad truth! Everywhere I go there are very yummy looking Cornish pasties in very yummy smelling bakeries, and yes they may sometimes be 'ok' but I am yet to find one that is traditional. More often than not they are made using a mushy minced mixture...that's just a blasphemy in Cornwall! There are a few things that make a Cornish Pasty the real deal -
1. The 'D' shape
2. Crimped on one side
3. Filling is created from roughly cut, uncooked chunks of beef, onion, swede and potato
4. Seasoning is a happy amount of pepper and salt
5. Robust pastry that can hold it's shape in the oven/cooling (used to be a ready 'packed lunch' for workers)
6. Sadly the one point I cannot achieve at the moment, has to be made in Cornwall!


Now I do not want to offend anyone who likes minced meat pasties! Everyone has their own tastes and opinions. My gran was a traditional Cornish lass and we often went to Cornwall to visit relatives, so having been brought up knowing what was the 'real deal' and what wasn't has made me a bit stubborn on the matter :) I love me a propa' pasty!


This recipe is the next of my Paul Hollywood attempts (following on from this scrummy bloomer), I checked with my mum that the recipe follows the same method as my gran's and then set to it!
It's just deliciously good. The crust is flaky yet sturdy and tastes divine, the ratio of veg/meat in the filling was great and cooked perfectly, and they reheat wonderfully the next day. Took me back to my childhood! The only thing I would change would be to be a bit more liberal with the butter in the filling to make it even more moist, and one tip would be to use more salt and pepper than you think you might need :)

The method to make the pastry may surprise you, kneading pastry is a bit of a shocker as light quick fingers are normally advocated but I guarantee it works. If you think you might like to give a traditional Cornish pasty recipe a go I think this is as close to the real deal as you will get, your family will love them I promise you!

 Traditional Cornish Pasty
Adapted from Paul Hollywood at BBC Food
Makes 4 large pasties

For the pastry:
500g plain flour (N1)
120g (4oz) vegetable shortening (or suet)
1 tsp salt
25g butter (or margarine)
175ml cold water
1 egg, beaten (for glazing)

For the filling:
350g (12oz) beef skirt, rump steak or braising steak
350g (12oz) waxy potatoes
200g (7oz) swede
175g (6oz) onions
salt and pepper
a few knobs of butter

Put the flour, shortening, salt and butter/marg into a bowl. If the fats are hard, rub into the flour with your fingertips until a breadcrumb consistency first, then add all the water and combine with a spoon.
Crush everything together into a rough dough with your hands.
Turn dough onto a clean surface (no oil/flour needed) and knead the dough for 5 minutes until the dough becomes smooth. Be rough with this dough! (N2)
Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30-60 mins

While the dough rests, peel and dice the potatoes, swede and onion into roughly 1cm squares
Dice the beef to the same size
Mix the veg and beef in a medium bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Set aside until dough is ready

Preheat the oven to 170C / 325F / gas 3 and line a baking tray with parchment paper
Divide the dough into 4 even pieces, one by one shape each into a ball and roll out into the best circle you can manage! Roughly the size of a dinner plate (25cm across)
Spread a quarter of the filling onto half of each disc, leaving a gap of at least 2cm around the edge
Put a few knobs of butter on top of the filling and fold the pastry over the filling, pushing together the edges with your fingers to create a sealed semi-circle
Crimp the edge to ensure the edges do not leak, either use a fork or by making a series of twists around the edge (tutorials online may help you with this, not my forte!)
Place the pasties on the tray and brush each with the beaten egg
Bake on the middle shelf for 45 minutes or until they are golden brown (increase temp to 180C for the last 10 mins if not browning)

Store leftovers in the fridge and reheat in the oven for 10mins or so
Enjoy! :)



Notes
1. Original recipe calls for strong bread flour. I know my gran wouldn't have used it so I didn't either! But it's your choice :)
2. Being rough and kneading pastry goes against every instinct I had and Im sure a lot of you might question it too. This traditional pastry is meant to be sturdy enough for it to be transportable but it does NOT skimp on flavour or texture, seriously you will not regret trying it!

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