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.
Annie’s Cornish Pasties
|Serves||2 large pasties|
|Prep time||35 minutes|
|Cook time||1 hour|
|Total time||1 hours, 35 minutes|
|Meal type||Lunch, Main Dish, Snack|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot|
|Occasion||Birthday Party, Casual Party, Halloween|
|By author||Karen S Burns-Booth|
- 450g plain flour
- 115g chilled butter, cut into small cubes
- 115g chilled white vegetable fat (such as Trex, or lard)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- cold water to mix
- 350g beef, cut into small slivers, almost shaved but NOT minced (I use rump steak)
- 2 medium potatoes (peeled and shaved into thin slivers or very small dice)
- 1/2 large swede (peeled and shaved into thin slivers or very small dice)
- 1 medium onion (peeled and cut very finely)
- salt and black pepper
glaze and seal
- 1 small egg (beaten )
A classic Cornish Pasty recipe from my Cornish friend Annie; these are large pasties, and nothing else is needed on the plate! Annie used to use rump steak and so that is my suggested cut of beef for these pasties. Don't be shy with the pepper either. Note: If there is any filling left over, just freeze it or make another pasty or pie!
|Step 1||Pre-heat oven to 220 °C/ Gas 7.|
|Step 2||Pastry: Place the flour, butter, white vegetable fat and salt into a large clean bowl. |
Rub the fats into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, working as quickly as possible to prevent the dough becoming warm.
Add the cold water to the mixture and using a knife stir until the dough binds together, add more cold water a teaspoon at a time if the mixture is too dry,
Wrap the pastry in Clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
|Step 3||Divide the pastry into 2 and roll each piece into rounds the size of a tea plate (approx 6 - 7 inches). |
Place the onion, potato, swede and meat into a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Season well with salt and pepper, especially with pepper, Annie's pasties were very peppery.
Divide the meat and vegetable mixture between each pastry circle and place to one side of the circle. Brush the edges with a little beaten egg.
|Step 4||Fold the circle in half over the filling so the two edges meet. Crimp the two edges together to create a tight seal. Brush each pasty all over with the remaining beaten egg. |
Place the pasties on a greased baking sheet and bake in a hot oven for about 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 160°C for a further 40 minutes. Smaller pasties need less time. If they are browning too quickly cover loosely with greased paper. Bake until golden brown.
Serve hot or cold.
Fiona Maclean says
I have to say, that’s almost identical to my mum’s filling, except she would never use swede because SHE didn’t like it;) And I remember the use of rump steak. She also used a lard/butter mix in her pastry.
I crimp however I can – but then as you know, I #cantbakewontbake 😉
I think most classic recipes are similar Fiona, and, there can be very little variation in a proper pasty recipe…..the pastry in these is amazing, and I also like my filling peppery too. Karen
Love the Cornish Pasty (and I make a mean one myself) – its such a complete meal. This made my mouth water just reading it. Love the historical facts. Bought a great little book last time in London called Pasties by Lindsay Bareham – it has all manner of fillings from different parts of the country – plus bits of history and snippets of stories!
I know that book, my sister has it I think…..the classic Cornish pasty has only got potato, beef, onions and swede (rutabaga) in them………however, I DO love a good cheese and onion pasty too! Karen
Your pasty looks glorious. The pastry lovely and crumbly and lots of tasty filling. I’m off to finish my Smoked Mackerel Kedgeree for lunch.
Thanks Janice….this pasty pastry is so short and flaky and I have to say it’s delicious!
Fishfingers for tea says
Delicious! My Dad is an expert cornish pasty maker and dabble every now and again. They really are at their best with simple but very fresh ingredients.
I agree that simple but good ingredients are the best in a pasty…….Karen
Sarah, Maison Cupcake says
I love a good pasty and these look fab. I daresay they taste even better in Cornwall! 😉
Thanks Sarah! I bet they would taste better if sat on a Cornish Beach!
This is just so perfect and reminds me of being in Cornwall eating pasties on the beach over Easter. I love the swede and generous amount of pepper as these help to make the Cornish Pasty what it is. I like to have Colman’s mustard with it!
I LOVE mustard with my pasties too…..and I LOVE pasties on the beach too….great memories of my days in Cornwall!
Wow Karen…I could just take a big bite….pleeeeeeease!
I would love a friend like Annie….what a welcome she gave you. I always love the fact that you don’t just give a recipe…there’s always so much more attached like a little story or historical facts. Brilliant! ;D
Good luck with your entry although I don’t think you need it….you’re a winner already!
LOL! My friend Annie is like a pasty herself, authentic, Cornish, unique, great to know and always a pleasure to see! THANKS for you lovely comments.
Karen please please send me one – it looks so good!! I love cornish pasties and remember having some really good ones down in Cornwall. I think your crimping looks good – definitely better than if I tried! loved reading the history of the Cornish pasty too . Brilliant entry for best of british!
THANKS Ros – sending pasties on their way now! The pastry was so short, which is good, that my crimping wasn’t as tidy as it usually is, but they tasted great! 🙂
They look like they tasted great, too!
Thanks Noeleen…..they did taste good!
Oh fantastic Karen. If only I ate meat, I would be wolfing down one of your Annie’s pasties for sure. I’d better keep quiet about them though or my mother will be knocking on her door – she loves a good pasty. I’m writing the round-up now and have written a bit about the Cornish pasty, but not as much as you. think I’ll just direct folk over to you. However, I do have a controversial statement about crimping – you’ll have to wait until I post tomorrow 😉
Thanks for your fabulous 2nd entry 🙂
And how did you know we had to wade through piles of chocolate papers everytime we need to move around the house? Ha ha – loved that!
OH! Now I am intrigued…..about the crimping wars! I am on my way over to see that round up, I bet there were some LOVELY entries from a county that is so rich in culinary traditions. Karen 🙂
Jenny @ BAKE says
now that sounds like a friend you want to keep! gorgeous photos of what looks to be a gorgeous pie!
Annie is a keeper thanks Jenny and the pasties are lush! Karen
Sam Calhoun says
I so want to be met at the door with a large gin and tonic and a cornish pastie. It just doesn’t get any better!
Hi Karen, Love your blog and Love a good Pastie, can they be frozen do you know and if so would you defrost them before cooking or cook from frozen thanks Maureen
Karen Burns-Booth says
Thanks so much Maureen! Yes, they can be frozen before cooking, but you will have to defrost them before baking! Karen
I just found your web site and am enjoying it very much. My mom used to make these and I want to try. Can you use already baked beef in these along with other ingredients, or must meat be raw? Thank you
Karen Burns-Booth says
Hi France, You can add ready baked beef to the pasties, and adjust the cooking time, although the potatoes still need to cook as well the other vegetables. Karen
Thank you, I will be having some left over corned beef and thought I might try that.