The authentic Cornish pasty recipe always uses minced or sliced beef, potato, swede, onion and plenty of salt and pepper, but never, never, never add carrot. Butter or clotted cream is optional, but if you do add it, you get a subtle sauce that coats the filling and gives it an extra oomph. The shape of the pasty must be in the form of the letter ‘D’ and the crimped seam must always be to the side, never across the top.
Allegedly, there is a secret blend of spices used to season the mixture but this is elusively kept from the official recipe and is very hard to verify. So it follows that I can’t stress the importance of using plenty of salt and pepper. If you are too light with the seasoning the meat and vegetables can fade into insipidness.
The Cornish are trying to preserve the name ‘cornish pasty’ in the same way French cheese and wine is, a move I completely support. So I cannot call this recipe a traditional or authentic pasty, but it is based on the official recipe. I have cooked this recipe several times using sliced beef but it would seem the popular voting around me prefers minced beef.
250g plain flour
150g butter, chilled
1 egg, chilled
1 tbsp milk, chilled
A generous pinch of salt
Pinch castor sugar
Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Pour the pastry on to a cold, clean work surface. Bring the pastry together into a solid ball without kneading. Put the smooth ball in a clean bowl covered with cling wrap and place it in the fridge for at least an hour.
200g good quality beef (such as skirt), sliced thinly or lean beef mince
Sea salt and black pepper
Butter or clotted cream, optional
Milk or melted butter to brush the pasty.
Pre heat the oven to 180°C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
Roll the pastry out to about a ¼ cm thickness and cut large circles. I use a dinner plate as a rough guide. Set the pastry aside.
Dice or grate the potato, swede and onion as finely as possible and place it in a large mixing bowl. Add the beef and combine the ingredients with generous amounts of salt and pepper.
Place a reasonable amount of the filling on the centre point of each disc of pastry. Add a small knob or butter or teaspoon of clotted cream on top.
Bring one edge of the pastry over to the other to enclose the filling and crimp the edges together. Try as I have to describe the process of crimping, it is impossible and I highly recommend using you-tube for small education session on how to do it. It is actually not that hard to do, just impossible to describe.
Brush the pastry with milk or melted butter and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
For more information, visit the Cornish Pasty Association www.cornishpastyassociation.co.uk