Cornish Pasties

Cornish Pasties on a wooden cutting board

Tasty Pasty
Back when I was in high school (or like my kids like to say, when dinosaurs roamed the earth) I had a history teacher that I loved. For some reason that I can no longer remember—but was most likely a lesson on the Gold Rush and the miners that immigrated from all over the world—one afternoon we found ourselves making Cornish Pasties in class.

I am a fan of anything in a flaky crust. And, the savory meat and potatoes pasties were an instant hit. I like them because they are the epitome of comfort food. And, also because they can save you from a night of cooking if you have extras in the freezer. Bonus points for portability.

For some reason, I have seen recipes for Cornish Pasties popping up all over my social media feeds. Maybe it’s the change of the season or maybe it’s a coincidence. But, needless to say, I have had pasty on the brain.

Here is the recipe I use for pasties. The traditional recipe calls for the use of a swede, which is the British term for a rutabaga. My inner petulant child refuses to use rutabaga so I will substitute parsnips or carrots or just up the amount of potato and onion. The recipe calls for rolling these out to rounds of about 7 to 8 inches. Personally, I like to make them a little smaller. Closer to 5 or 6 inches. That way, if I am super hungry, I can eat two.

News flash, I eat two a lot…

I opt for a crust with both butter and shortening. While I like all butter crusts in general, with this I prefer the combo. Try it both ways to see which you prefer.

Amy’s Cornish Pasties Recipe
Yields 4 large or 6 small pasties

For the shortcrust pastry
4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
pinch of salt
4-1/2 ounces butter
4-1/2 ounces shortening
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup cold water

For the filling
1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
1 medium parsnip or a large carrot, peeled and diced
12 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
12 ounces raw chuck steak, chopped into small chunks, (lamb works well too but isn’t traditional)
All-purpose flour, for dusting
4-6 tablespoons beef stock or water
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water or milk, for egg wash and a
salt and pepper

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Make the dough
Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and mix together. Add the butter and shortening and rub them in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. (If using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, do this on the slowest speed.)

Make a well in the center, add the egg and 1/2 cup of cold water. Mix the ingredients together, drawing in the flour to form a dough.

Knead the dough
Gradually, bring the dough together with your hands and knead briefly, just 2-3 times until smooth. Avoid overworking the dough.

Allow the dough to rise
Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 20 minutes. The dough can keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, and up to 1 month in the freezer.

Make the filling
Put all the vegetables and thyme into a large bowl. Season very well with salt and pepper and mix with your hands. Add the meat, season again, and mix it in well.

Form the pasties
Divide the pastry into 4 equal portions (or six if you are doing smaller pasties.

Form the dough into balls and roll each one out on a lightly floured work counter into circles about 7 to 8 inches in diameter (0r 5 to 6 inches if making smaller pasties).

Divide the filling between the circles, spooning each portion onto one half of the circle, leaving 1 inch from its edge free of filling. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the beef stock or water into each pasty.

Fold over the empty half of each pastry circle to form a crescent or half-moon shape and seal with egg wash. Using a fork, crimp the edges down all along the seal, then brush egg wash all over.

Use a sharp knife to cut a steam hole in the top, then repeat with each pastie.

Chill the pasties
Place the pasties onto the prepared baking sheet and leave to chill and firm up in the fridge for 20 minutes. (Pasties can be frozen and well wrapped at this stage to store in the freezer.)

Bake the pasties
Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Put the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for another 20 minutes. Check that the pasties are ready by inserting a skewer or the tip of a sharp knife into the potatoes and if they are tender, they are done. Leave to cool slightly before eating warm.

To cook from frozen
Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Arrange the frozen pasties on a baking tray with paper with 4 inches of space between each one.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.

Ensure the pasties are cooked through and piping hot in the center ready by inserting a skewer or the tip of a sharp knife into the potatoes and if they are tender, they are done

Cool the pasties
Place the pasties on a cooling rack, cover them with a clean towel, and leave them at room temperature for up to 30 minutes until they reach a comfortable eating temperature.

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