Serves: Makes ~6-8 pasties
Preparation time: ~45 minutes
Calories: ~400 calories per pasty
From the town of Eccles in the last post, I’m going down to the county of Cornwall today. The foot of the British Isles, it’s here you’ll find the national parks of Exmoor and Dartmoor, the latter being the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mystery ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles‘. I’m told that the moors are quite creepy during the night – that the shapes of bushes and trees play tricks on your mind and make for a less than enjoyable camping experience.
In any case, I’m not here to talk about spectral trees or miserable camping today, I’m here to talk about something which is a bit closer to my heart, and infinitely more delicious – the Cornish Pasty. Now, with this post and the last post, you’re probably starting to form an idea about English cuisine – well, I won’t lie; we eat a lot of pastry. Tarts, pies – both savoury and sweet (which reminds me – if you ever have a chance to visit the town of Melton Mowbray, in Leicestershire, you absolutely must try a Pork Pie, slices, pastry-clad cakes… but anyway – I do seem to be going off at a tangent here. So, Cornish Pasties – what are they? In a nut-shell, they’re semi-circular pockets of pastry, stuffed with beef, potatoes and usually some other vegetables – most traditionally carrot and swede (also known as rutabaga). In this recipe I’ve added a few extras. Additionally, it’s up to you whether you want to use chunks of beef or minced beef.
Few things can beat a hot, flaky pasty, but they’re also absolutely delicious when cold too, thus making an excellent lunch or picnic food. There’s a story that they used to be popular amongst Cornish miners, and we made with a large “handle” of pastry, so they could eat them in the mines without having to worry about cleaning their hands. They could eat the pasty and then just discard the soot-covered handle. Reading more about pasties on Wikipedia, it appears that they’ve travelled elsewhere in the world, along with the Cornish miners as they emigrated.
Enjoy the post today – I’ll be back again on Monday with another English dish… I’m not entirely sure what yet, but I’ll endeavour to find something which isn’t wrapped in pastry! Have a nice weekend everyone!
For the pastry
- 250g Plain Flour
- 200g Margarine or vegetable shortening
- 1 tsp Salt
- A little milk for brushing
For the filling
- 250g Beef – minced or small chunks
- 1 small Leek
- 1 large Carrot
- 3 medium Potatoes
- 1-2 small Turnips
- 1 large Onion
- 2 tbsps Olive Oil
- 1 tsp dried Thyme
You’ll also need
- A food processor
- Start off by making the pastry – place the flour and margarine or vegetable shortening into a food processor and then pulse until you achieve a breadcrumb-like consistency. Transfer to a large bowl and add a few tablespoons of water, while stirring, to achieve a dough. Form into a ball, place into a bag or bowl, cover and transfer to the refrigerator. Peel and chop the carrot, turnip and potato into small pieces and place into a large pan of water. Bring to the boil and cook until soft before draining and setting aside.
- Peel, wash and finely chop the leek and onion. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and then fry the leek and onion for a minute or two before adding in the meat. Continue cooking until the meat is done.
- Transfer the carrots, turnip and potato into the pan and mix well. Add in the thyme and salt and pepper the mixture to taste.
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius and then remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Roll out on a floured surface to a thickness of about 3 – 4mm and cut into rounds using a cutter with a diameter of about 12-15cm.
- Divide the filling between the pastry rounds and moisten the outside edge of the round before folding them over and pressing the edges together. Seal the edges with a fork before brushing all over with a little milk.
- Place into the pre-heated oven and cook for ~20 minutes, until they’ve turned a rich golden brown. Remove from the oven, then enjoy warm or cool.