Cornwall has many traditions but one of the most famous is the passing down of the pasty recipe from mother to daughter. You can buy a pasty in a shop all over Britain but there's nothing like the taste of the real thing, home made and local to Cornwall. I learned to make a pasty from my mother who learned from her mother. In this way, our heritage is preserved.
Cornish pasties originated as food for the miners. Men would take a meat and potato pasty to work and the thick crust served as a hand hold. This was important in tin mines where the soil contained large quantities of arsenic. Some people made a savoury filling at one end of the pasty and had a sweet apple filler at the bottom end. Miners would always take care to leave a small piece of pasty for the knockers or small elves that lived in the mines as a way of guaranteeing good luck doing such dangerous work.
PASTY RECIPE (makes 4 pasties)
For the pastry:
450g strong white flour
For the filling :
400g chuck steak or beef skirt
200g turnip sliced
600g sliced potatoes
salt and pepper
First, make the pastry. Put the flour in the bowl and cut off a piece of lard. ub this into the flour and then grate in the remaining fats. Stir the mixture with a knife. Add the water and knead the mixture until all the water is absorbed. Leave the pastry in the fridge for at least an hour before using.
For the filling, make sure the beef and onions are finely chopped. The potatoes and turnip will need to be thinly sliced. Roll out the pastry on a floured board. Cut a quarter of the pastry and roll this into a circle 21-13 cm in diameter. I use an upturned plate to get a good shape. Place the onions and turnip on the base of the pastry leaving a gap between the filling and the edge. Add some sliced potatoes and the meat. Season this with pepper and salt. Add a small knob of margarine on the top with a little chopped parsley.
Moisten the edge of the pastry with milk. Fold the two edges of the pastry together so they seal. Then crimp the edges by folding one corner under the pastry edge and repeating until there is a firm seal to the pasty. Glaze the pastry with a little milk and when all the pasties are made, place them in the oven. Cook them in a hot oven at 220C/425F/Gas 7 for 45 minutes until the pastry is golden and the meat is cooked.
Pasties can be eaten direct from the oven or taken on a picnic.
Country: United Kingdom
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