From the West Country
A Cornish pasty is a traditional savory pastry that originated in Cornwall, a county in southwestern England. It is a baked pastry filled with a mixture of diced meat, usually beef, along with diced potatoes, onions, and swede (rutabaga). The ingredients are seasoned with salt and pepper before being encased in a pastry shell.
The pasty is typically shaped into a semicircular or “D” shape. It has a distinctive crimped edge that helps to seal the filling inside. The crimped edge is traditionally on one side of the pasty, allowing miners to hold the pasty without touching the crimped edge, which they would discard since it was often contaminated with dirt from their hands.
Cornish pasties are known for their hearty and portable nature, making them a convenient and filling meal. They were originally popular among miners and workers in Cornwall, but they have now become a beloved food across the United Kingdom and beyond. Cornish pasties are often enjoyed as a takeaway meal, picnic food, or a comforting dish served with vegetables or a side salad.
Here’s a recipe for a classic Cornish Pasty:
For the pastry:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and diced
- 1/2 cup cold water
For the filling:
- 1 lb (450g) beef, cut into small cubes
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 rutabaga (swede), peeled and diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- For the pastry, mix the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the cold diced butter and rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Gradually add the cold water, a little at a time, mixing with a fork until the dough comes together. Gather the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- For the filling, combine the beef, potato, onion, and rutabaga in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Roll out the pastry dough on a floured surface to about 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out circles about 6-8 inches in diameter.
- Place a portion of the filling on one side of each pastry circle, leaving a border around the edges. Dot the filling with butter.
- Moisten the edges of the pastry with water, then fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to form a semicircular shape. Press the edges together to seal, crimping with your fingers or using a fork.
- Place the pasties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut a small slit in the top of each pasty to allow steam to escape.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and allow the pasties to cool for a few minutes before serving. They can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature.
Cornish pasties are traditionally eaten by holding the crimped edge and biting into the filling, but they can also be enjoyed with your favourite Chilli sauce, side of salad or chutney.