The art of the pasty

A traditional Cornish pasty- that handheld, shortcrust pastry-wrapped parcel concealing diced beef, potato, swede and onion- is a thing of such singular, humble beauty that we’re reluctant to even consider putting any kind of contemporary or culturally diverse spin on it. And yet, the thought of other vegetables, meats and (gasp) even cheese tucked into that golden, crumbly pastry, is difficult to shake from our minds.

So while the recipe below is for a traditional Cornish pasty, we won’t begrudge you swapping out the beef for melty cheese and a generous shake of paprika, or stuffing the pastry full of lamb mince, rose harissa, red onion and pomegranate jewels, or even filling it with diced chicken tossed with our superb tandoori paste.

The world is your pasty.

 

Ingredients

Serves 12 hand-sized pasties
675g plain flour
375g unsalted butter, very cold, diced
2 tsp salt
A small jug of ice cube-filled cold water
300g chuck or rump steak, diced in 5-8mm pieces
200g swede, diced in 5-8mm pieces
200g waxy potato, diced in 5-8mm pieces
1 onion, diced
Salt & pepper (to season)
1 egg, lightly beaten (to wash)

Cut the butter into cubes and return to the fridge, removing only moments before needed. Place the flour into a food processor, add the butter, and pulse-blitz until the mix resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Slowly pour in the water until larger balls of dough begin appearing, then quickly deposit the mix onto a workbench. Push the flour together until it begins to form a tighter dough – taking care not to over-work it – and add more water as needed.

Once it’s just come together, flatten into two discs, wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the diced beef, potato, swede and onion in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 160C, and line a pair of baking trays with baking paper.

Remove one disc of dough from the fridge, unwrap onto a lightly floured workbench, and flour your rolling pin. Roll out the dough to a thickness of roughly 4mm, and use a side plate to cut circles in the dough. Gather the remaining dough, roll into a ball, wrap and return to the fridge.

Spoon a small pile of the meat and vegetable mix into the centre of the dough circles, wet half the edge and fold over, crimping the seam shut tightly. Transfer to the prepare baking tray and repeat with the remaining dough and filling mix.

Brush the pasties with the lightly beaten egg, then bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with a side of piccalilli or HP sauce.

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