Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cornish pasties

Cornish Pasty
 I would like to add the recipe for a properly made Pasty to the list of topics to avoid at all cost. when in a social environment. I have many people get upset with me that I do not make pasties quite the way their mothers did by adding carrots, using sliced or cubed filling. Where the pastry is crimped doesn’t even register with me as an issue worthy of debate. I only care if it is flavorful, and I’ll be happy having it as a snack….. Then again the Cornish pasty is derived from Cornwall, England and the residents there don’t even agree on how to make a pasty so I don’t think the issue is ever going to be resolved.

I think of the pasty as a comfort food, and couldn't care less if it is crimped on the top or the side. I don’t add carrots to mine, but I know many people do. I know the wives of many miners made them for their husbands to take to work. I know that some even added a sweet filling to a corner of the pasty so dessert and entrée could co-exist peacefully.  I know a bunch of people who live in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin not only eat them, but take them seriously enough to bend my ear about technique once they hear the word pasty.

When I make pasties I don’t even follow the recipe exactly as it is written below because I make dozens at a time.  I blanch my vegetables ahead of time, and fold them into my beef just before stuffing my pastry. Speaking of pastry, I use puff pastry for my pasties because I like the texture over the traditional crust. I cook my beef in a slow cooker for several hours with the herbs, spices and Demi-glace that make the pasties that leave my kitchen tender, and well-seasoned little bundles of Joy that I think you too will enjoy.


For the pastry:

Puff Pastry Sheets


10 ounces all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

pinch salt

5oz cold unsalted butter

cold water, to mix

For the filling:

1 teaspoon olive oil

12oz eye of round steak, cut into cubes

1 onion, finely chopped

1 medium potato, peeled and finely chopped

3 medium turnips, peeled and finely chopped

1(6oz) rutabaga, peeled and finely chopped

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 pinch ground mace

¼ cup demi-glace

Sea salt and ground white pepper

2 tablespoons water (optional)

1 egg, beaten, to glaze

HP brown sauce, to serve (optional)


1. If making the pastry from scratch, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter into small pea sized pieces and add to the flour. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2. Add a little cold water, a tablespoon at a time, until the butter and flour mixture begins to come together. Using your hands, bring the dough together into a ball, then wrap in cling film and place into the fridge to chill while you make the filling.

3. For the filling, heat a little oil in a non-stick pan. Place the beef into the pan and sear on all sides, then remove from the pan and set aside.

4. Add the onion to the pan (adding a little extra oil, if necessary) and cook over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes, or until soft.

5. Add the potato, rutabaga, turnips, Worcestershire sauce, demi-glace and dried thyme. Season the mixture well with mace, salt and ground white pepper and stir.

Cover with a lid and cook gently for 5-10 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan if the mixture becomes too dry.

6. Return the beef to the pan and stir well, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

7. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

8. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to approximately 1/4 inch thick. Using an upturned saucer or small plate as a guide, cut out circles about 8 inches in diameter.

9. Place the filling in the center of each pastry circle. Brush the edges with beaten egg and fold the pastry over the filling to make a half-moon shape. Using your fingers, crimp the edges together to

Seal the dough, and prevent the filling from bursting out when baking.

10. Place the pasties onto a parchment lined sheet pan and brush with more beaten egg. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown.

11. Serve the pasties hot, with some brown sauce, or beef gravy.

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