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Pasty Party

Pasty Party

I’m back! Did you miss me? We went on holiday- I say holiday, with a two year old the term is sorely stretched – to Devonwall (Devon and Cornwall for the uninitiated) and managed to visit both Granny and Grandma as well as various other relatives. And everyone survived!  In one piece! Hurrah!

I did have high hopes of blogging on holiday, but LBB slept in the only room with a computer so that put paid to that. Plus, the weather was really good almost all the time so we spent a good deal of time outside (read: at the beach) which is not very conducive to writing about baking; or indeed doing much other than brushing sand off LBB’s food and preventing myriad attempted drownings

Now we are home again though, baking can resume in earnest. I have many, many cakes to make in the near future (birthday/housewarming/thank you for storing my family’s large collection of original artwork whilst we continually push back the date that our floors will be sanded etc), but for now I thought I would share one of LBB’s very favourite foods: the Cornish Pasty. I have previously blogged about my own version of this, which is fine as far as it goes, but this is the real deal. All the way from sunny (yes, sunny and warm!) Cornwall. Enjoy.

Makes about 4-6 pasties

 

Ingredients:

500g Cornish pasty pastry (the recipe for which Granny BB did not divulge, but which can be found here and here)
500g beef skirt, rump steak or braising steak
2 medium onions
1 medium swede
A sprig of parsley
Salt and pepper (omit salt if making for small children)
1 egg (for egg wash)
Flour for dusting

 

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 and line a tray (non-stick is a good idea) with baking parchment.

If making the pastry from scratch, do this a good couple of hours in advance so that it has time to chill. If cheating with ready-made short crust (inauthentic but probably acceptable in a pinch) take it out of the fridge.

Prepare the filling by slicing the vegetables (except the parsley) into very small pieces, approx 1cm squared. Slices are better than diced pieces as they cook more quickly and evenly, but diced vegtables won’t kill you, so do whatever is easiest. Dice the meat into equal sized pieces as well and set this all to one side.

Sliced not diced

Sliced not diced

Divide the pastry into 4 or 6 equal portions (depending on how many pasties you want to make) and roll one portion out to about 3-4mm thick and approximately the size of a small side or dinner plate (keep the other portions in the fridge under clingfilm to prevent drying out). Place a small side or dinner plate on top of the pastry and cut round it with a knife. Remove the plate and behold your perfect pastry circle. Don’t discard any pastry off cuts; you may need them later for patching up.

Roll out the pastry

Roll out the pastry

Add plate and cut around

Add plate and cut around

Gently lift up half of the pastry circle and slide the rolling pin under it, so it curves over it away from you. On the half of the pastry circle not over the rolling pin, place a spoonful or two of potato slices, followed by a smaller spoonful of swede, onion and beef. Sprinkle salt and pepper if using, then repeat. Finish with another spoonful of potato and a sprig of parsley.

Lift onto rolling pin

Lift onto rolling pin

Add filling

Add filling

Brush some beaten egg around one half of the pastry circle, and then carefully bring the top half to meet the bottom half (where the filling is) and press them together.

Press together (better than this)

Press together (better than this)

In order to achieve the distinctive Cornish Pasty look you now need to crimp the edges. Truthfully I have no idea how you do this. Granny BB tried to explain and I watched her several times, but still failed utterly when I came to do it myself. The best I can do is to say that you sort of tuck the pastry under itself as you roll along the sides. That’s no help at all is it? I’m sorry. Do your best. I won’t judge.

If you have been left with any holes in the pastry, then patch them up with the pastry offcuts. If you’re feeling particularly creative you could fashion them into leaves or bunches of berries or whatnot. Place the pasty on the baking tray (a delicate operation) and then make a small (say 2cm) slash across the top to let steam escape.  Finally glaze with more beaten egg. Repeat with remaining pastry and filling.

Once you have assembled all your pasties on the baking tray, place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. If you intend to eat the pasties immediately, you can remove them from the oven after 40-45 minutes and spoon in a few spoonfuls of beef gravy through the slash in the top, before returning them to the oven for the final 10-15 minutes. If not, don’t worry, they will be lovely anyway. Assuming you like meat, potatoes and pastry that is.