Cornish Gold for Best of British
– Annie’s Cornish Pasties –
Now I realise that there is another Annie’s Cornish Pasty recipe, the ones that are VERY famous and are sold in Ann’s shop in Helston, on The Lizard in Cornwall…….and, as it happens, I have tried Ann’s pasties many times and I can vouch for their taste and fame! But this recipe is NOT from that famous shop, it’s a recipe that I learned through watching and listening, whilst my Cornish friend, who is also an Annie, made her pasties……and these pasties are “bootiful my handsome”…….BIG, BEEFY and BLOUSY and totally fabulous!
Annie used to make these every weekend for us when we used to go down to stay with her…….we would drive up to her house and be met with a large gin and tonic in one hand and giant Cornish pasty in the other hand! OH what bliss! She made her pasties BIG and they were always stuffed full of amazingly simple and yet fabulous fresh ingredients. So, it’s with great pride that I am submitting Annie’s Cornish Pasties recipe for the Best of British blog challenge, which is being hosted by Choclette this month and the region that she is promoting is, you guessed it, CORNWALL! Choclette lives in decadent luxury amongst piles of discarded chocolate papers, over at Chocolate Log Blog…….the challenge is being hosted by The Face of New World Appliances and there is a prize for the best recipe at the end of the monthly challenge for £50 Amazon voucher.
But let’s broach the thorny issue of the seal or crimp! On the side or down the middle? Well, I have it on reliable authority from Annie, that a true pasty is crimped down the side……and just in case you want to challenge me, the Cornish Pasty Association, also agree that that is the CORRECT form of crimping on a GENUINE pasty! Here is what they have to say about the subject:
A genuine Cornish pasty has a distinctive ‘D’ shape and is crimped on one side, never on top. The texture of the filling for the pasty is chunky, made up of uncooked minced or roughly cut chunks of beef (not less than 12.5%), swede, potato and onion and a light peppery seasoning.
The pastry casing is golden in colour, savoury, glazed with milk or egg and robust enough to retain its shape throughout the cooking and cooling process without splitting or cracking. The whole pasty is slow-baked to ensure that flavours from the raw ingredients are maximised. No flavourings or additives must be used. And, perhaps most importantly, it must also be made in Cornwall.
My crimping isn’t top-notch, but at least my pasty is a “D” shape and is crimped down the side……that means my pasty is a proper job! And, as for the history? Most people know the connection with pasties and tin miners, but is there more to this tasty pie that meets the eye? Again, here is what the Cornish Pasty Association has to say about the history of the pasty:
Cornish Pasty – Historical information:
A wealth of historical evidence confirms the importance of the Cornish pasty as part of the county’s culinary heritage, with some of the first references appearing during the 13th Century, during the reign of Henry III. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that pasty was identified in around 1300. The pasty became commonplace in the 16th and 17th centuries and really attained its true Cornish identity during the last 200 years. By the 18th century it was firmly established as a Cornish food eaten by poorer working families who could only afford cheap ingredients such as potatoes, swede and onion. Meat was added later.
Evidence of the Cornish pasty as a traditional Cornish food is found in Worgan’s agricultural survey of Cornwall of 1808. In the 1860s records show that children employed in mines also took pasties with them as part of their crib or croust (local dialect for snack or lunch).
By the end of the 18th century it was the staple diet of working men across Cornwall. Miners and farm workers took this portable and easy to eat convenience food with them to work because it was so well suited to the purpose. Its size and shape made it easy to carry, its pastry case insulated the contents and was durable enough to survive, while its wholesome ingredients provided enough sustenance to see the workers through their long and arduous working days.
By the early 20th century the Cornish Pasty was produced on a large scale throughout the county as a basic food for farm workers and miners.
Cornish pasty – Shape and recipe:
There are hundreds of stories about the evolution of the pasty’s shape, with the most popular being that the D-shape enabled tin miners to re-heat them underground as well as eat them safely. The crust (crimped edge) was used as a handle which was then discarded due to the high levels of arsenic in many of the tin mines.
The Cornish pasty’s recipe has a 200 year continuity that is unique. Recipes were handed down from generation to generation, often by word of mouth and rarely written down because they were made almost every day. Pasties formed a key part of Cornish local life and tradition. Young girls were often made to practice crimping techniques using plasticine before being allowed to work with pastry. Even allowing for minor variations across the county from Parish to Parish, it is the concept and the cultural ideal that epitomise the importance of the Cornish pasty and its enduring links to Cornwall.
Back to MY pasties now, I hope that you enjoy this recipe, it hinges on simple and great seasonal ingredients, as well as crisp, flaky pastry too…….these pasties made it to my Monday Meal Plan, as well as being entered for Best of British, and I hope that Annie’s super recipe will make it into your kitchens too……bye for now, back tomorrow with more recipes and news, Karen.