Cornish Pasties

Now we’ve made some pastry we are going to use it to make Cornish pasties. These are a great traveling food. They are a complete portable meal and originated as a convenient way for farm workers and miners to carry a wholesome meal for the day. The pastry edge is used to hold the pie.

You can read about their origin here at the Cornish pasty association.

A pasty is basically a kind of pie where the ingredients are wrapped up in an easy to hold way. There are lots of possible ingredients. Today I will make meat pasties and cheese and onion pasties.

The pastry from before is enough to make 4 large and 4 small pasties. you can prep while the pastry dough is cooling in the fridge.

First start browning the meat. Here I have 1kg of minced beef. You can also use cubes of meat and chopped potato.

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While that is cooking, chop the vegetables. Here are 4 onions with the one powered kitchen tool I use, the fantastic Bosch Ergomix 750 chopper.

I also finely shred potatoes and carrots to add to the mix. Pretty much anything can go in.

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And some cheese blocks.

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I added half the onion and shredded potatoes to the meat with some seasoning.

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And separately sauteed more onion and potatoes for the cheese and onion pasties. Then I added some crushed tomatoes to the meat. You can also add flavourings like curry powder and chili.

 

Now lets use the pastry. It needs to have been out of the fridge for half an hour so it is pliable. We’ll need an egg to make it stick when we seal the pasty.

 

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Roll it to less than 1/4 inch.. you will need some flour to stop it sticking to the roller and surface. Pictured is one quarter of the doubled pastry recipe.

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Don’t worry if it tears… worst case you can reform it into a ball and start again. Next use a guide to cut it into a circle.

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Then add the filling. You can add flavourings before you fill. I like to add Thai Chili, Indian Curry, or Brown Sauce.

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Brush the edge with the egg… and fold over.

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Then crimp it shut with your fingers. You can make a nice fancy crimped edge if you get good at this. I tend to overload the pasty with too much filling … try not to do that as it makes the pie difficult to seal.

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I take the remaining pastry, form it back into a ball and make another  one.

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Here is the Potato and Onion mix with some cheese added.

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Poke a hole in the top to let steam escape.. here I made a different shape with the crimp in the top as well. Ready to go on an oven tray on some parchment (baking) paper.

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Put in the oven at 220C for about 10 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 180C for the next 20 minutes. And you get delicious pasties.

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They freeze well. The large ones make a good meal for 2 at lunch.

Pastry for pies

I decided it was a good time to stock up on some food for our upcoming ski trip. First step was to make pastry. There are a lot of recipes around so I blended a few of them.

You need:

2 1/2 cups of Flour, 250g Unsalted Butter, 1 egg, 1 tsp Salt, 1 tsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp Sugar, 2tbsp water, and if you have it 1 tsp baking powder.  I doubled the entire recipe as I was stocking the freezer and feeding 4 so I used 5 cups of flour and 500g butter etc.

First step is to freeze the butter. Make sure it was the unsalted kind. This helps a lot with cutting it up small enough to blend in the flour.

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You want to Cut it into small cubes. Be very careful cutting up the frozen butter as you can get hurt if you slip. Because it is frozen you have time to  sowork the butter.

 

I find that if you use only chilled butter, it becomes very soft before you are done whereas the frozen works well.

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Next mix the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder (don’t worry if you don’t have the later as we will be making pies so the rising is not critical).

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Now mix in the butter and cut it into the flour until it is well blended and the lumps of butter are gone.

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I use 2 spatulas to start… you can see here the lumps are coated and are blending in. You may find the lumps are too frozen still… just be patient as with the constant motion of the spatulas in a criss-cross motion the lumps will break up.

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Then towards the end I use my hands… the warmth from my hands helps the final blending in of the butter into a nice crumbly mix. You can feel the dough forming at this stage.

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Now mix all the liquid ingredients (egg, water, lemon juice) in a mixing jug and add it to the dough. It will start to bind the mix together and form into a real dough very rapidly. You may find you need to use some extra water for the rest. I find that recipes are never exact as  there is some variability due to humidity etc. You just need to get a feel for the process and feel of the dough when it is ready.  Remember that these pictures show a double recipe. I find that it is pretty forgiving.. no need to worry about being precise.

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Then form the dough into patties (lumps) that you will eventually roll to make the pastry. Wrap the dough in plastic film and put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour before using. My double recipe made 4 manageable lumps of dough.

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When you use it you will need to remove it from the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling so that it becomes pliable (as the butter warms) and does not crack when rolled.

Roast Chickpeas

If you are looking for a healthy alternative to crisps (chips) roasted chickpeas make a nice snack.

Drain some cans of chickpeas and pat them dry (pictured are 2 cans worth). Put them on an oven tray on some parchment (baking) paper) and add 1 table spoonful of oil and flavour to taste. Here you can see from left to right:

  • cayenne pepper
  • garlic
  • curry powder

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Heat at 450F (230C) for about 40 minutes… take care near the end of the cooking as they finish roasting quite quickly… check at 35 minutes and keep an eye on them until they are done.

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Yummy!