Sunday, December 13, 2015

Recipe Advent Calendar - Day 12 and 13 - Cornish Pasties

Weird.  I didn't realize until just now that I'd never posted anything yesterday.  I'd given Bob my cookbook so he could make rolls for our Christmas party yesterday (and yes, that man can cook!) :) and never took it back, so it didn't even occur to me that I'd missed it.

So... I wanted to post something good for the weekend days.  Cornish Pasties are one of my favorite things from when we lived in England.  For those of you who have never been to England, these are not pronounced PASTRIES.  You say it like Fast, or Nasty, I suppose.  Pasty.  Not like made of paste, either.  That's a completely different thing!

Pasties are meat pies with a shortcrust pastry on the outside and they are filled with all kinds of yummy fillings and you hold them in your hand while you eat them.  My favorite is the actual Cornish type with potato, onion and steak, so that's what I'm posting here, but you can fill them with most anything savory.

Originally, pasties were from Cornwall in southern England.  The miners would take them for their lunches and they had a savory filling in one side and a sweet filling in the other side.  The edges were crimped with a rolled edge and since the miners had arsenic on their hands from the mine, they would hold this edge while they ate the pie, then they would throw out the edge for the ghosts (or knockers) that they believed were in the mines.

If you're lucky enough to live in parts of Arizona or in Las Vegas, Nevada, you can even go to the Cornish Pasty Company here in the states.  There are probably others, but that's the one I know about. Enjoy! (And watch out for the knockers! )

Cornish Pasties

Shortcrust pastry:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp solid shortening
3 Tbsp cold water

1 cup (8 oz.) finely sliced potato (sometimes I cut it into small cubes but that's not traditional)
1 cup (8 oz.) finely sliced onion and/or turnip
1 cup (8 oz.) sliced or cubed beef steak or chuck roast
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten

Blend flour, sugar, and salt.  Cut With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until the mixture is the size of small peas.  Gradually sprinkle water over the mixture, blending well with a fork.  Roll pastry into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap or waxed paper and chill for one hour.  Roll out the pastry and divide it into two large or four small rounds.  Pile sliced veggies on one half of each pastry, but leave an open edge all the way around. Top with small pieces of beef.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place a few potato pieces on top of the beef to keep it from drying out.  Dampen the edges of the pastry with water and fold the open side over the side with the filling, to make a half-circle.  Crimp the edges of the pastry, like a pie crust, or even pressing down with a fork, although that's not the traditional way.  Make a small slit in the top of the crust to allow steam to escape and brush the tops and edges with beaten egg.  Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  Then reduce heat and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes more.

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