Cornish Pasty Recipe in Cornwall

Cornish Pasty Recipe

The Cornish Pasty started life as the working lunch for the tin miners to take underground with them. The pasty was easy to carry, could be eaten with dirty fingers, was nourishing. And could even have savoury at one end and sweet at the other.

The underground miner would not return to the surface or be able to clean his hands when he paused for a lunch break. An added danger was that arsenic wasoften found with tin, so that might be on his hands), they could hold the folded crust and eat the filling, then throw away the dirty pastry. Another tradition believes that it is bad luck for fishermen to take pasties to sea.

The Cornish pasty's dense, folded pastry stayed hot until lunchtime. Traditional bakers in former mining towns, until fairly recently, would bake pasties with fillings to order, marking the customer's initials with raised pastry. This was originally done because the miners used to eat one half of their pasty for breakfast and leave the remaining half for lunch, meaning that a way to identify their pasties, from the other miners', was needed.

For centuries the Cornish have been filling pasties with a wide variety of fillings. In 1985 a group of Young Farmers in Cornwall spent 7 hours making a record-breaking pasty - over 32ft long. This was believed to have been beaten in 1999 when bakers in Falmouth made their own giant pasty during the town's first ever pasty festival.

Although the "traditional" pasty was made from beef, potatoes, onions and turnips, nevertheless the pasty was and is made from a variety of ingredients. The "tiddy oggie" is filled only with potatoes, and you will come across ones with anything from rabbit to egg and bacon or cheese.

Unfortunately the Cornish Pasty has become over commercialised here. The market is not prepared to pay the price of a decent pasty, and hence has become flooded with cheap pasties for a mass tourist market that demand nothing better.

For a decent pasty, I would like to recomend St Martins Bakery. Alongside an extensive range of locally sourced Organic Breads, Pies, Tarts, Quiches and Cakes they also produce a very good Cornish pasty. Made with Local Organic Potato, Swede, Turnip, Onion and of course Tresco Organic Beef. Check out their web at Voted Best food retailer 2002 by the BBC at the Good Food Show.

Other sellers of Cornish Pasties are:

West Cornwall Pasty Co

Cornish Pastie Co in Arizona.

The Pasty Bakery of St Ives Cornwall

The Cornish Pasty in the USA If you want an American Pasty

A typical recipe for two would be:-

Shortcrust Pastry
225 gm plain flour
115 gm fat (mixture of lard & butter)
pinch of salt
The Filling
225 gm steak cut into small cubes
2 or 3 large potatoes
piece of turnip or swede
onion, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper

The Method

1. Sift the flour with the salt, rub in the fat and mix to a pliable consistency with some water, leave to rest for half an hour.
2. Roll out half the pastry into a round about 5mm thick (quarter of an inch)
3. Peel and slice the potatoes thinly onto the centre of round to form a base for the rest of the filling
4. Slice the turnip thinly over the potato, then spread the beef on top.
5. Add a little onion, season with salt and pepper
6. Dampen the edge of the circle of pastry with water to help seal it, bring together the edges make a parcel with the filling in the centre.
7. There should be a neat pastry parcel. If you do get any holes, then patch them with a little extra pastry. You can make the pastry neater by crimping the edges. Fold over the edge to make it slightly thicker, then squeeze tightly every 2 cms to make a neat pattern along the edge.
8 Put the pastry on a piece of buttered paper, make a small slit on the top to let the steam brush the top with a little milk, and put it on a greased baking tray.
9. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C (gas mark 6) for 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 190C (gas mark 5) and cook for another 30 minutes.
10. You can make the pasty as a starter, by making it smaller. Use a saucer as a template to get the size
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