Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pasties in the graveyard and tomatoes in your salad

Please tell me, when ever indeed did the Cornish pasty become the fashionable snack of our railway station concourses? Or have I been under a rock for so long of late it isn't even funny anymore? Maybe one leg up is that the tiddy oggy has recently been awarded Protected Geographical Indication, something that not only specifies the recipe and method by which they can be made, this now gives them location specific status that the likes of Stilton and Parma ham can lay claim to - moving in the circles of special company indeed. Anyway, enjoying a properly made one, crimped down the side and eaten from end to end after visiting a long lost friend is extra special too, whatever your thoughts on the pasty, dining with the dead, or a combination of the two. 

That was lunch, loved loved it. At home, dinner was tomatoes from the Isle of Wight, and an English style feta from Belton farm in Cheshire, watercress from Hampshire and some chocolate mint from the garden. A couple of olives, a few slices of cornichons and a glug of olive oil all tumbled on top of home made granary bread. Delicious in silence.

Cornish pasties

Makes 6 pasties

12oz (350g) plain flour
3oz (90g) margarine
3oz (90g) Trex vegetable fat
12oz (350g) beef skirt
3-4 medium sized potatoes
2 onions
1 egg beaten
Salt and lots and lots of black pepper
A few knobs of butter

Fan oven 180°C/non fan ovens 200°C

First of all make your shortcrust pastry. Whizz the flour, margarine and Trex in a food processor until you have a breadcrumb consistency. Tip it into a bowl and as you cut with a knife, add enough drops of water to make a soft dough which leaves the edges of the bowl.

Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place it in the fridge for half an hour to rest. This prevents the pastry shrinking when you cook the pasties.

Cut the skirt into small pieces. Dice the onion and peel the potatoes. Divide the pastry into six. With a rolling pin, roll it our into six round pieces, less than a quarter of an inch thick. Chip the potato into very small pieces and divide between each pasty. Season.

Add an equal amount of beef to each one, and season again. Then you add a small amount of diced onion. Season.

And then add a small amount of potato on top of that and two small knobs of butter to give it a bit of juice. Final seasoning.
Pull edges of the pasty together, dust your hands with flour and crimp the edges together.

Brush with beaten egg and cook for 35 minutes. Ten minutes before the end, brush again with some more egg to make ensure the pastry is very crispy. Cool on a wire rack