This week is Cornish Pasty Week, a celebration of the delicious, hearty pastry snack. Here we give you an easy Cornish Pasty recipe so you can make a batch of them yourself. But first, let’s explore some facts about Cornwall’s finest culinary export!
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WHAT IS A CORNISH PASTY?
A Cornish pasty is a British baked shortcrust pastry, traditionally filled with meat and vegetables.
WHERE DOES THE CORNISH PASTY COME FROM?
The clue is in the name! The Cornish pasty’s origins are in Cornwall, South West England. The pasty is traceable as far back as the 13th century. These pasties were originally developed for Cornish miners. These men and women would need a meal that sustained them during this hard labour, so the pasty was ideal.
Easily packed into a lunchbox, the thick shortcrust pastry and substantial filling would stay warm until lunch or could be simply heated up again with an oil lamp. The thick pastry’s ability to stay warm also meant they were frequently kept close to miners’ bodies, to keep them warm!
The thick crimped edges both hold in the filling and were used for miners to hold onto so their dirty fingers didn’t contaminate the rest of the pasty with arsenic.
DID YOU KNOW: Some miners’ wives went a step further and included a sweet filling at one end of the pasty, to provide a sweet dessert?
WHAT IS IN A CORNISH PASTY?
In 2011, the traditional Cornish pasty was given Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in Europe. For pasties to be sold as a ‘Cornish Pasty’ they must meet the following criteria:
Must be made in Cornwall
Can only contain the following
Swede (known locally as turnip)
Salt and pepper
Ingredient must all be raw when the pasties are made, then slowly baked in order to make the traditional Cornish pasty flavour and texture.
You must crimp pasties’ edges must be crimped in the traditionally Cornish style.
DID YOU KNOW? FOUR MORE PASTY FACTS
The British rhyme “Oggie Oggie Oggie” connects to Cornish pasties. The term ‘Oggie’ derives from ‘Hoggan’, the Cornish name for pasty. Bal-maidens(women who did manual labour in the mining industries of Cornwall and western Devon) who cooked the pasties would shout “Oggie Oggie Oggie” down the mine shaft to say the pasties were ready to eat. The miners would shout “Oi, Oi, Oi” up in reply
Cornish pasty’s crimps are on the side, whilst Devonshire pasty’s crimps are on top.
Legend says the devil won’t venture into Cornwall as he fears becoming a Cornish Pasty’s filling.
Jamaican patties derive from the Cornish pasty. Cornish sailors took it to Jamaica who then changed it to include local ingredients. The patty is spicier than its Cornish cousin!
EASY CORNISH PASTY RECIPE
So, you have all the facts about what makes a Cornish pasty, so now here is a super easy Cornish pasty recipe for you to make your own!
This recipe makes six pasties.
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Rest time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hours 25 minutes
For the shortcrust pastry:
450g plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
125g unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
125ml cold water
For the filling:
400g beef skirt, finely chopped
300g potato, peeled and finely diced
150g swede, peeled and finely diced
150g onion, peeled and finely chopped
Salt and black pepper, to season
Beaten egg a to glaze
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
For the pastry, blend flour, baking powder, salt, butter and yolks in a food processor until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Then slowly add water until the mixture becomes a dough.
Wrap the dough in cling film then chill for an hour.
For the filling, place the chopped beef in a bowl then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Season all the vegetables to taste with salt and black pepper, then combine with the meat.
After the pastry has chilled, divide it into six equal pieces. Roll each piece out onto a lightly floured surface until it’s just larger than the diameter of a dinner plate. Be careful not to tear the pastry!
Trim the edges of each pastry piece to form a disc, using a dinner plate as a guide.
Spoon the filling onto half of each pastry disc, leaving 1.5cm free at the edges.