Not calzone, not empanadas, good old fashioned Cornish pasties. Common as muck back home but nigh-on impossible to track down in my new neck of the woods. Having grown up In Cornwall this is one of my top comfort foods and so ironically it becomes more necessary the further you get from the source.
I always think that pasty pastry should be a bit more robust and doughy than your standard shortcrust. This may just be my recollections of warming comfort food on dreary Saturday lunchtimes spent in Liskeard waiting for my Dads car to be MOT-ed though. This is why I favour strong flour so if you prefer a more delicate crust by all means substitute plain flour. Equally if you want to use a shop bought puff pastry then it’ll be our secret – I promise not to tell!
INGREDIENTS (makes about 4)
450g Strong Flour
200g Butter or 100g Butter + 100g Lard
175ml approx. Cold Water
Filling: (approximate quantities)
1 large Onion
400g Beef Skirt (optional)
To make the pastry sift the flour and gently rub the cold butter/lard into it until you have a breadcrumb-like mixture. Slowly add enough water to bring this all together to form a ball of dough. It’s a good idea at this point to wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest in the fridge whilst you prep the filling.
Preheat the oven now to 200°c.
Peel the spuds and slice them (the best pasty fillings are always sliced – never cubed) then cut these slices into bite-sized pieces. Do the same with the swede and dice the onion. Mix all of the filling vegetables together and season well using plenty of pepper. If you’re using the beef cut it into generous morsels and lightly coat them in flour but don’t add them to the rest of the filling just yet.
Unwrap the dough and gently roll it out to about 4mm. Using a plate as guide cut out circles from the dough, re-rolling as necessary. Place several tablespoons of filling onto half of each circle (about 1 1/2 cm from the edge) Layer the beef on top of this.
Brush the edge of the dough with water, fold the other half over the filling and press down the edges.
Now time to crimp! Not nearly as hard to do as it is to describe I promise. Place your index finger on the edge of the pastry at one end of the pasty. Now take the pastry just in front of it and pull it over your finger. Pull out your finger and repeat the process all around the edge and then simply tuck in the end.
Cut a couple of steam holes in the top of each pasty and brush with egg wash. Arrange on a greased baking tray and bake for 30-40 mins until beautifully golden. Enjoy hot or cold!