Cornish Beef Pasties are essentially meat pies encapsulated in a flaky, buttery crust, ideal for a handheld meal. The origin of this delightful dish traces back to Cornish miners who traveled globally, making it a popular treat in mining towns across various continents. I’ve grown up savoring these delicious pasties, and now I want to share their legacy and the secrets to preparing them.
How Do You Pronounce ‘Pasty’?
First things first: it’s pronounced pah-stee and not pay-stee. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s dive into some intriguing pasty trivia. These pies gained popularity with miners due to their convenient, filling, and delectable nature. The original pasties often had both savory and sweet fillings, giving miners a complete meal experience. Today, while there are numerous filling variations, my personal favorite remains the beef and vegetables combo.
What’s Inside a Traditional Cornish Pasty?
The official Cornish Pasty, known as the Oggy pasty, boasts ingredients such as beef, potatoes, onions, and swedes (or turnips). While I respect the tradition, I’ve introduced my tweaks, using ground beef for convenience and substituting turnips with carrots. Also, my seasoning palette is a tad more expansive than just salt and pepper.
Prepping the Pasty Filling
For my version of the filling, I begin on the stovetop, browning the ground beef with onions, potatoes, and carrots. Seasoning it with Worcestershire sauce, garlic, rosemary, and thyme adds depth and richness to the flavor. After preparing the filling, it’s time to focus on the crust, which is an all-butter concoction with egg yolks to enhance its flexibility.
Assembling and Baking Your Pasty
Once your dough is ready and rolled out, it’s time for the filling to take center stage. Place the filling on one half, wet the edges, fold, and seal your pasty. Don’t forget the three slits on top for steam to escape. Baking them for about thirty minutes will leave you with a golden-brown, tantalizing pie, ready to be devoured. If you’re like me and grew up with this tradition, each bite will feel like a nostalgic journey.
Storing and Freezing Your Pasties
Another fantastic aspect of these pasties is their freeze-friendly nature. After a partial bake, you can freeze them to enjoy later. When the cravings strike, simply bake the frozen pasty for another twenty minutes. A dash of malt vinegar is my go-to accompaniment, offering a tangy contrast to the beefy richness.
Recipe Breakdown for Cornish Beef Pasties
The following recipe serves six, and the preparation involves a mix of stovetop and oven procedures. Allergen alert: It contains gluten and eggs. [Then follow the recipe details.]
A Dish That’s More Than Just Food
Cornish Beef Pasties have journeyed from the dark mines of Cornwall to households worldwide. Their rich history, combined with their undeniable deliciousness, makes them more than just a meal. They’re a testament to the human spirit’s ability to innovate and find comfort in the simplest of things, even in the most challenging environments.
Cornish Beef Pasties
- 1 lb of either ground beef or chopped leftover roast
- 1 lb waxy potatoes preferably red or Yukon gold, diced
- 2 peeled and diced carrots
- 1 finely diced small onion
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon each of dried rosemary and thyme kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Creating the Dough:
- In a spacious bowl, combine flour and salt.
- Segment the chilled butter and, with forks or a pastry blender, blend into the flour till a crumbly texture forms.
- Stir in water and one egg yolk into the mixture. Once the flour is fully mixed, knead on a clean counter till the dough forms.
- Envelope in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F while lining a baking tray with parchment.
- Over medium-high flame, season and brown the beef. Once done, transfer to a bowl.
- In the residual beef fat, sauté potatoes and onions for 6-8 minutes. Add butter if needed.
- Introduce garlic, rosemary, and thyme to the skillet, cooking until aromatic. Mix in Worcestershire sauce.
- Combine the veggies with the beef, seasoning to preference. Let it cool to room temperature.
- Flour a surface, segment the dough into six equal parts, and roll each into a 3/8-inch thick circle.
- On half the circle, place the beef mixture, maintaining a 1/2-inch border. Moisten the dough’s edges, fold over the filling, and seal either by crimping or fork-pressing.
- Position on the baking tray and make three vent slits atop each pasty. Brush with an egg yolk-water mix for a golden finish.
- Bake until they boast a golden hue, typically 30-40 minutes.
- Freezing Tip: If freezing, pre-bake for 20 minutes sans egg wash. When ready, egg-wash the frozen pasty and bake for an additional 20 minutes at 400°F.