Traditional cornish pasties
My husband was keen to try these because in his university days he used to buy a Cornish pasty every day from Mrs Kennedy at the local dairy. Mrs Kennedy was from Cornwall and therefore the high priestess of pasty making. “Not too bad,” he said after biting into one of mine. “Mind you, Mrs Kennedy had been making them for years.” So it wasn’t exactly a 10 out of 10 but I’ll take it as an eight. Cornwall fiercely protects its ownership of these pastry offerings and they now have a protected status.They were created in Cornwall to feed hungry miners during the 17th and 18th centuries. They would take one into the mine knowing it was a complete meal of meat and vegetables that could be eaten without needing cutlery. Some miners were lucky enough to have a pasty which was half meat and vegetables and half stewed apple or fruit, providing a main and a dessert in one package. The pasty differs from a meat pie because the pastry is a very dense shortcrust one. It has a taste and texture which is delectable compared to the ready-made pastries you buy. The filling is also quite dry, which means it doesn’t pour out of the pastry as happens with a meat pie. These are absolutely delicious and well worth the time they take to make, but make sure you cut everything into very small pieces. The steak, potato and swede should be chopped to about the size of a fingernail to ensure they cook through. My family likes these fresh from the oven but also cold the next day in school lunches as a treat. You could decorate each pasty with the intended owner’s initials if you want to really spoil them.
- Preheat your oven to 210C.
- Put the flour, mustard and butter in a bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add 3 tbsp of cold water and mix with a knife until the mixture forms a ball. You may need to add more cold water. Try not to knead the pastry too much – as soon as it forms a ball, cover it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.
- To make the filling mix together the finely chopped steak, potato, swede, onion and parsley. Then add the stock, mustard and horseradish and season with salt and pepper. Mix together well.
- Roll the pastry out evenly on a floured bench to 5mm thick. Using a saucer cut out six or seven circles.
- Beat the egg, and with a brush paint it onto the inside edges of the circle before placing a mound of the filling in the middle. Bring the edges up to meet in the middle and crimp with your fingers to form a seal. Place on a greased oven tray and use the rest of the beaten egg to glaze the pasties.
- Put in the oven for 10 minutes before reducing the heat to 180C. Cook for another 20 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp.
Tip: If you can’t find fresh horseradish leave it out, but it does add a really nice flavour.