The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that pasty was identified in around 1300 but what exactly is a pasty?
a folded pastry case with a savoury filling, typically of seasoned meat and vegetables.
The pasty became commonplace in the 16th and 17th centuries and really attained its true Cornish (Cornwall, England) 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). Source
I have vague memories of eating pasties as a child whilst on a brief seaside holiday to Cornwall. While I love a traditional Cornish pasty with the best of them it’ fair to say they have minimal seasoning, maybe a pinch of mustard if you’re brave enough to stray a little from the true Cornish recipe. I just knew it wouldn’t pass muster with my husband who like’s his food with bags of FLAVOUR, although he’s Algerian since coming to the UK his favourite food has been curry and I’ve always been quite partial.
How To Make Curried Cornish Pasties
First let’s start with making shortcrust pastry
I’m making an all butter pastry for my pasties, whilst some would use vegetable shortening or margarine you just can’t beat the flavour you get from all butter pastry.
Rub butter into flour that’s had a pinch of salt mixed in, until breadcrumb consistency,
that’s sort of breadcrumb consistency. In my defence my arms were beginning to tire – yes i’m not the fittest.
Add in the usual water and the more unusual milk, yes milk – don’t ask me why I’m just following this recipe
bring pastry together with a butter knife and then your hands.
pop pastry inside a freezer bag (or wrap in clingfilm) flatten slightly with your hands and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes, or freezer for 15 minutes if you’re pushed for time.
Meanwhile prepare your pasty filling – chop beef rump steak, swede and potatoe into 1cm cubes and yes I used a ruler to help me with this because you need the filling components the same size, so they cook at the same rate and within the baking time or these pasties will be inedible, not good. I’d ran out of the traditional onions so used 3 garlic cloves instead, finely chopped. The flavourings include; curry powder, garam masala and tomato ketchup as well as the obligatory S & P. You could throw in some chopped green chili as I did the day after when I made use of the leftover filling by making yet more pastry to encase this deliciousness.
I dislike waste and although I scaled down the original recipes for both the pastry and filling by half and should have ended up with 3 pasties (i got 4) there was still more filling than what I could cram inside the 4. alhamdu’lillah I’m glad because I discovered these pasties needed that extra kick in the heat department.
Back to the day before. Roll out chilled pastry to about 5mm thickness (i didn’t use a ruler for that) and using a 15 cm in diameter plate as a guide cut out circles of pastry.
Egg wash the top edge of the pastry circle and place as much filling as you dare into the middle.
Fold the bottom half of the circle over and pinch the edge to seal the filling in then give the pasty an egg wash. One is supposed to crimp the edge but I had very little pastry spare and well the original crimp was a mere handle for workers to lift their pasty out when they had re-heated it down the mines, it wasn’t eaten.
I had a better attempt at crimping the next day but then either I had the oven too high or miscalculated my timings and ended up with these
Slightly burnt pasties, they actually tasted better than they looked
masha’Allah I had a spare from the day before’s more beautiful bunch of pasties which saved the photography day.
Crisp, flaky pastry encased a soft, succulent and in this case spicy filling.
Pasties are enjoyed warm or room temp and are ideal for school / work lunch (or picnics) along with a salad and you know everyone eats pasties with mango chutney?! nah, just me then.
Curried Cornish Pasties
- For the pastry:
- 3 cups of plain all purpose flour
- 140 grams of butter
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup of cold water
- 1/3 cup of cold milk
- For the filling:
- 1 medium onion, finely diced (or 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped)
- 125 grams of swede / rutabaga, diced
- 1 large baking potatoes, diced
- 250 grams of beef rump steak (halal), diced
- 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce or ketchup
- 1 teaspoon of curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of garam masala
- 2-3 green chillies, chopped * optional
- freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- In a large bowl or food processor sift the flour and salt.
- Cut the cold butter into small cubes and rub into the flour with your hands or using the food processor, until it resembles course breadcrumbs.
- Make a well in the centre and add sufficient water / milk mixed with a knife and then your hands to form a firm dough.
- Handle as little as possible while forming it together, as over handling causes pastry the be tough and hard when it is baked. Cover the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 200°C / 392°F / Gas Mark 6
- Chop the onion or garlic finely.
- Peel the swede and potatoe and cut into very small cubes around 1cm (½ inch).
- Slice the steak into small pieces approximately the same size.
- Place the meat and vegetables into a large bowl and toss through the seasoning, curry powder, garam masala, green chillies and tomato sauce, then cover.
- On a lightly floured bench or board roll the pastry out to around 5 mm (1/8 inch) thick.
- Cut 6 rounds, using a 15 cm (8 inch) diameter plate as a guide.
- Arrange the filling evenly in the centre of each round and brush a little of the egg on one edge.
- Lift the opposite edge of the pastry over the filling to seal the pasty.
- Fold and pinch at regular intervals along the edge to form a neat crimp.
- Brush each pasty with egg to glaze and place on a baking tray
- You can use any leftover pastry scraps to decorate your Pasty if desired.
- Bake for ¾ hour, or until golden and cooked through.