|Photo Courtesy of Tom Yardley|
"Cornwall, it is said, is the land of saints and pasties. This old saying is not as odd as it seems: Cornish people are fiercely defensive of their traditional food, and linking their favourite meal with the saints is a natural combination of spirit and body."
In honor of this (and also my husband really missing his Cornish food), we celebrated St. Piran's Day (the patron saint of Cornwall) with some delicious pasties.
Pasties are kind of hard to explain. A proper Cornish pasty is filled with steak, swede, onion, potatoes, but you can also get cheese & onion, chicken, veggie etc. It is kind of like a calzone, but with short crust pastry as in a pie.
Traditional pasties were made for the miners by their wives. Legend has it that they would fill one end with steak and then the other and with jam or apple for a dessert. The crimping (a part I love) would be thrown away due to the dirty hands holding it. The pasty was a "hot, tasty and cheap meal."
I remember my first pasty was in St. Ives (a beautiful seaside town) with some uni friends 12 years ago. The seagulls were circling above and even pooed on me - good luck, huh? The seagulls love these (as pictured in the photo above). Our friends dad took this photo in St. Ives. Look at the determination in that seagull's eyes.
As I've gone on and on, I'm sure you'd like to know how to make these famous pasties. Without further ado:
Pasty Pastry (for four eight-inch pasties)
450g 1lb strong white flour (large pinch of salt optional)
100g 4oz margarine (Echo or similar hard variety)
110g 4oz lard
175 ml 1/2 pt water
Put the flour and salt (if used) into a bowl. Cut off a quarter of the lard and rub into flour. Grate or slice the rest of the fats into the mixture and stir with knife. Pour all the water in and stir until absorbed. Knead a little and leave at least 30 minutes in the fridge before using.
Pastry can be made the day before, wrapped in polythene and stored in the fridge overnight. Pastry freezes well, but remember to take it out the night before you need it. Do not refreeze.
Here is what they look like when cut out:
Pastry filling, quantity for one pasty (Luke says there is no way you can fit all this into one pasty!)
50g 2oz onion
50-75g 2-3 oz turnip (swede)
100g 4 oz beef skirt or chuck steak
150g 6oz slice potatoes
black pepper, salt
Keep the potatoes in cold water till needed them. Trim the gristle off the meat and cut into 1/4 inch pieces.
|Cornish men do it dreckly!|
Generously flour the board to roll the pastry. Place the swede and onion across the center of the pasty, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the steak.
Sprinkle with a little salt, and add the remaining potato. Do not season the top layer: salt directly in contact with pastry can make it taste slightly bitter.
Dampen one side of the pastry with a little water. If you dampen the pastry all round or use too much water you will find the edges slide instead of sealing, so don't slosh it on.
Fold the damp side of the pastry to the other and press firmly but gently together, so that you have a seam down across the pastry, or by the side, whichever you find easier. From the right side if you are right-handed fold over the corner and crimp by folding the pastry seam over and over to the end. Tuck in the end well to seal.
Make a small slit in the top with a knife and patch any other holes or breaks. Brush pasties with milk or egg wash or even just water and place them on buttered paper or greased and floured tray, leaving 2 in between them.
Bake in a hot oven 220 degrees C (425 degrees F) for 20 to 30 minutes. Check the pasties. If brown, turn them down to 160 degrees C (325 degrees F). Bake for another 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave them in the oven for another 15 minutes with the door shut. Then they are ready to enjoy!
Luke also makes cheese and onion ones (I like these better). If you want to make these just replace the steak with cheddar cheese.
Pasties are delicious with chips or tossed salad and they're even nice as leftovers. We had our's out on the deck for lunch in the sunshine:
|Conor and his pasty!|