There is much debate about how to make a traditional cornish pasty. Should the filling be raw or pre-cooked? Should the crimp be on the top or the side? And there is even debate about the origin of the pasty. A recipe from Devon found in a book dated 1510 pips Cornwall’s oldest pasty recipe by over 200 years, according to an article I came across in the Independent.
One thing is for sure though: if you don’t live anywhere near Devon or Cornwall, a homemade pasty beats a shop-bought pasty every time. The filling of a pasty I sampled recently consisted mainly of mashed potato, tiny traces of meat and the odd stripe of carrot. Not a bit like the real thing, which usually contains small pieces of steak, onion, potato and swede.
300g shortcrust pastry
1 small potato, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
75g swede, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
250g braising steak, cut into 1 cm cubes
1 small onion, finely diced
a small amount of milk for glazing
Cut the pastry into 2 pieces. Lightly flour the work surface and a rolling pin, and then roll out each piece until it’s about 20 cm in diameter and 3 or 4 mm thick. With a dish or plate as a template, use a sharp knife to cut a circle.
Divide the filling ingredients in two. Place half of the potato and swede across the middle of the circle of pastry and season with pepper. Next put a layer of steak and onion, and season with salt and pepper. Finally, put a layer of potato and swede, seasoning with pepper. Don’t be tempted to try and use up all the ingredients and overfill the pasties!
Moisten the edges of the pastry with a little water. Bring in the edges over the top of the filling and press together to form the crimp.
Place the pasties on a baking sheet and chill for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
Brush with milk and then bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until golden.