By Bimla sheokand
Being Cornish by birth, I cringe when I walk into a store or shop that supposedly sells the famous Cornish Pasty. More times than not, I pick it up, read the ingredients and toss it down in disgust! Strange things appear within the ingredients such as peas and carrots. Then when you read on a bit further, you get a hint of why they have got it so wrong. These Cornish Pasty forgeries are often made anywhere other than Cornwall!
Then there's the pastry itself. Now I am not that brilliant at making pastry, but even I know the Cornish pasty has an outer layer of shortcrust and not puff pastry which is all air and nonsense!
Before we get into the recipe itself let's talk about size. Have you seen those apologetic things in the store or shop ? Some of them should come with a magnifying glass so they can be seen! In my youth my mother would often make genuine Cornish pasties for us. By today's commercial standards they were huge! They would overlap the edges of a dinner plate and be around four to five inches across at their widest point! Now THAT was a pasty!
Okay, so how do you make a genuine Cornish pasty? What do you put in it? Let's go for it...it uses old style weights and measures sorry about that, but that's my history...
1lb shortcrust pastry 6 ounces potatoes 12 ounces steak (in times back it could well have been mutton ... it was cheaper). 3 tablespoons of cold water 1 small chopped onion salt and pepper to taste .... personally I prefer a little extra pepper myself.
Start with the pastry. (I hope you have better luck with it than I do!). If you are not used to such large pasties, roll it out to the size of a small plate and about a quarter of an inch thick (the ingredients above are about the right quantity for this). When I make Cornish pasties though, they tend to be dinner plate size and the ingredients increased accordingly.
Cut all the solid ingredients up into small pieces. The onion should be finely cut. They are not only easier to eat this way, but cook quicker too. Remember to get rid of any gristle or fat etc from the meat.
Mix the now chopped up potatoes, meat, water, onion and salt and pepper thoroughly. (That's another thing I find in those shop or store sold "Cornish" pasties ...all the pepper seems to be concentrated into one spot! There you are munching away and then you suddenly hit that spot! I think you can guess the rest!)
Now we start getting toward the tricky bit. For more details go to www.july4-recipes.com.With the pastry laid out, use the ingredients to fill half of it in a bit of a pile ...unless you want a flat pasty! Make sure though, that you leave about an inch clear pastry from the edge.
Dampen the exposed edge with water.
Carefully (if the pastry is too thin, this is the point at which holes start appearing ...I speak from experience!), lift the empty half of the pastry over the top of the mixture. In effect, you are folding it in half.
At this point you could cheat to do the edging. If you want to, then press the edges together with the back of a fork to seal them. If you want a true-blue Cornish pasty though, you will need to master the art of "crimping".
For more details go to www.cat-head-biscuit.com
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