Traditional Cornish Pasties (Handheld Meat Pies)
Traditional Cornish Pasties
The base of traditional Cornish Pasties is a pastry filled with meat and vegetables. In the county of Cornwall, in the south of England, the pastry provided lunch for the local tin miners. They are now found around the country and sometimes in the USA they are termed hand-held pastries. The pastry can be a simple short crust pastry or a flaky pastry and they can be made from fresh or frozen pastry.
The filling for the pasty can be vegetable, meat or both and traditionally they include swedes. As swedes are not usually available in local supermarkets and very few people grow them, I make them with just a selection of vegetables that you typically would use in casseroles and other dishes – carrots, potatoes, celery and anything else that you have in the garden or refrigerator. The meat and vegetables do not have to be cooked before putting into the pasty envelopes. For a vegetarian version, you obviously just omit the meat.
Recipe for Cornish Pasties
Ingredients for Cornish Pasties – for 4
Premade pastry – either flaky or short crust
1 large steak or 2 smaller ones
2-3 sticks of celery
A handful of mushrooms
1 egg beaten
Small potatoes – I prefer a waxy variety like red or fingerling
To Make the Cornish Pasty
1: Defrost pastry if needed;
2: Chop the vegetables into half-inch cubes;
3: Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes;
4: Roll the pastry into a square about 12-inches on the side and ¼-inch deep;
5: Cut the square into 4 smaller squares 6-inches per side and neaten the edges;
6: Lightly score the pastry square diagonally;
7: Add the meat and vegetables close to the scored line but on just one side and season with salt & pepper;
8: Brush a little beaten egg onto the edges of the square;
9: Fold the far corner across the filling to make a triangle;
10: Press down firmly to seal;
11: Crimp the edges for a decorative look;
12: Brush the top with a little more beaten egg;
13: Place the pasties onto a tray lined with lightly greased parchment paper;
14: Bake in a hot oven – 400 degrees for about 15 minutes so that the pastry rises then reduce the oven to 375 for another 15-20 minutes. The pastry should be lightly brown and the insides fully cooked.
The pasties can be eaten cold for lunch or warm with a green salad for dinner. They are also perfect to have for lunch when you take a hike in great spring weather or have a family picnic.