To make 4 pasties you will need:
For the savoury shortcrust pastry:
- 8 oz, 225 g, or two standard measuring cups of plain or all purpose flour.
- a pinch of salt.
- 4 oz, 110 g, 1 stick of lard, or other hard, block vegetable cooking fat, or alternatively, 2 oz, 50 g, half a stick of lard or other hard white block cooking fat, and 2 oz, 50 g, half a stick of margarine.
- 6 to 8 tbsps of cold water to mix.
- a little extra margarine to grease the tin.
- a little milk to glaze.
For the Filling:
- 1 medium sized onion.
- 1 medium sized potato.
- 1 small carrot.
- 8 oz, 225 g, minced or ground beef.
- 1 small egg.
- salt and pepper.
- a pinch of mixed herbs.
- 1 beef oxo, stock or bullion cube.
- Start by pre-heating the oven to hot, Gas Mark 7, 425 f, 225 c, 200 fan.
- Grease a large flat baking sheet.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl and add a pinch of salt.
- Take your fat straight from the fridge, then cut or break it into small pieces, drop it into thecentre of the flour and, keeping your hands as cool as possible, rub it into the flour, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Do this by picking up a little of the mixture between the fingers and thumbs of both hands, rubbing your thumbs across your fingertips, then letting the mixture trickle back into the bowl. Lift your hands up slightly as you repeat the process to add air which will help make the pastry nice and light.
- Don’t be tempted to overwork the mix because if it becomes too warm it will begin to stick together again and the pastry will be too (short), making it crumbly when you come to roll it out. When you can’t feel any more little pieces of cool sticky fat in the mixture, add the water a tablespoon at a time, mixing it in with a flat bladed knife, until the pastry starts to come together. You will feel that its gradually getting harder to mix and you’ll find it beginning to form a ball in the bottom of the bowl. When this starts to happen, just use your hands to bring the mixture together. It should be soft and there shouldn’t be any dry bits left in the bowl.
- Knead the dough very lightly and put it into a polythene bag and then into the fridge to keep it cool while you prepare the filling. (Please see my glossary of preparation techniques on making and rolling out pastry), for more helpful details.
To make the filling:
- Peel the onion, potato and carrot.
- Finely chop the onion, and finely dice the potato and carrot.
- Beat the egg in a small bowl.
- Put the minced or ground beef into a large bowl, add the diced vegetables, beaten egg, mixed herbs, the crumbled oxo, stock or bullion cube and a shake of salt and pepper. combine everything together well using a fork.
To make the pasties:
- Lightly flour a pastry board or clean surface, take the pastry from the fridge and, keeping your hands cool, roll it out using a floured rolling pin, giving it a quarter turn regularly so that it stays a nice round shape. Don’t roll it out too thinly because it needs to support the filling, but if you take a small saucepan lid and use this to measure and cut out circles, there should be enough pastry to make four rounds.
- However, You will probably need to re-flour your board and rolling pin and re-roll the pastry out a second time to make the last round. After you have cut out the circles, put a quarter of the meat mixture into the centre of each one.
- Using your fingers or a small pastry brush, dampen right round the edges of each circle with cold water. If you have no sight, It is easier to do this by putting a little cold water into a teacup, hold it in one hand and dip two or three fingers from your other hand in and quickly run them round the edges.
- Now, lift the pastry from the left and right, up in to the centre to form a ridge above the filling, press the damp edges together and pinch and crimp the pastry all the way along the top and down each side to seal each pasty well.
- They will feel like long fat sausage shapes with ridged tops and flat bottoms where they have been standing on the board or surface.
- Prick each pasty with a fork in two or three places to release the steam during cooking and brush with a little milk to glaze.
- Put them on to the greased baking tin and cook near the top of the oven for fifteen minutes, then turn down the temperature to warm, Gas Mark 3, 325 f, 170 c, 150 fan, and continue baking for a further 50 to 60 minutes depending on the size of your pasties and the temperature of your own oven.
- You are cooking the pastry more slowly now so that it doesn’t burn and to make sure that the filling is properly cooked through.
- Your Cornish pasties should now be firm to the touch, and golden brown. You may be able to hear the filling sizzling slightly too.
These pastry delights were traditionally taken to work by farmers and Cornish tin miners and eaten in the hand just as they are.
The recipe can vary, for example, change the meat to ground lamb if you wish or leave the meat out altogether, and add a few peas, diced turnip or swede.