A pasty is a baked pastry originating in and today the national dish of Celtic land, Cornwall in the United Kingdom.
You place uncooked steak, potato, swede (turnip), onion, salt and pepper in one half of a flat shortcrust pastry circle and then fold the pastry in half to wrap the filling in a semi-circle. The pastry wrap is sealed with the signature crimping technique of the curved edge.
The Cornish pasty has now spread with the Cornish Diaspora and is popular in South Australia, California, Nevada, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, Pennsylvania, Ulster, New Zealand, South Africa, Jamaica and even the Mexican state of Hidalgo.
More a hearty meal than a mere snack. Just the thing for a cold winter’s lunch or at rugby or football match.
Tuck into your culinary heritage.
CORNISH PASTY RECIPE
for 6 servings
For Shortcrust Pastry
(Rough puff pastry can also be used):
- 500 g strong bread flour (it is important to use a stronger flour than normal as you need the extra strength in the gluten to produce strong pliable pastry)
- 120 g lard or white shortening
- 125 g Cornish butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 175 ml cold water
- 400 g good quality beef skirt, cut into cubes
- 300 g potato, peeled and diced
- 150 g swede/turnip*, peeled and diced
- 150 g onion, peeled and sliced
- Salt & pepper to taste (2:1 ratio)
- Beaten egg or milk to glaze
*The vegetable to use is the yellow-fleshed swede, not a white turnip. This is known commonly in Cornwall as the turnip. It’s also known as the yellow turnip/Swedish turnip in some places and in North America it is called rutabaga.
- Add the salt to the flour in a large mixing bowl.
- Rub the two types of fat lightly into flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add water, bring the mixture together and knead until the pastry becomes elastic. This will take longer than normal pastry but it gives the pastry the strength that is needed to hold the filling and retain a good shape. This can also be done in a food mixer.
- Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 3 hours in the fridge. This is a very important stage as it is almost impossible to roll and shape the pastry when fresh.
- Roll out the pastry and cut into circles approx. 20cm diameter. A side plate is an ideal size to use as a guide.
- Layer the vegetables and meat on top of the pastry, adding plenty of seasoning.
- Bring the pastry around and crimp the edges together (see our guide to crimping).
- Glaze with beaten egg or an egg and milk mixture.
- Bake at 165 degrees C (fan oven) for about 50 – 55 minutes until golden.