13 June 2015

Cornish Pasties - this time with suet pastry

For some reason, I had been hankering after making some Cornish Pasties for the longest time.  However, as hubby is always somewhat dubious about my pastry I hadn't broached the thorny subject.  What made the difference in this instance, was the advent of the suet pastry recipe from Jamie Oliver that I used in the making of the Kate & Will's Wedding Pie.  This pastry has been so successful that it has become both my menfolk's casing of choice for all savoury pies and pasties.

So when I suggested home made Cornish Pasties - for "English baking week" on one of my favourite Facebook pages - but made with the gold star of pastry recipes, hubby was won over and agreed.

Ready for the oven
Now I will admit that as regards the other Cornish Pasty recipe on Rhubarb & Ginger, it doesn't differ a very great deal.  However, I thought it was good to make a whole new blog posting about these pasties as opposed to simply making a note on the original recipe.  Clarity, and all that.  *wink*

All baked and ready for their paper bags and adventure!
Aside from the issue of the pastry, the only other significant differences between the two recipes are that this one uses chopped steak (rather than steak mince) and this one also utilises a half a crumbled Oxo cube by way of seasoning, to just up the flavour profile a wee bit.  Oh - and I paired mine with some healthy stir fried vegetables, whereas the menfolk had the ubiquitous man food of hash browns and baked beans with theirs.

The pasties turned out to be so very successful, as the pastry really is tasty and firm enough to easily cope with the filling.  Hubby felt that there still wasn't enough black pepper in them (even with my including it in the pastry!) for his liking and I do have to agree.  I think another half a teaspoonful would have done the trick, so feel free to add extra to the filling if you're a fan of peppery Cornish pasties.

I ate the one leftover pasty the following day for my lunch.  It was just as good, if not better, cold - and with some tasty pickle or relish would not be out of place on the lunch menu of any good Cornish pub.

Now I have a few Cook's Tips for you :

1.  It really is very important that the pastry is handled and worked as little as possible.  The longer it is handled or worked, the tougher it will bake.  As regards the water, I have found that carbonated mineral water adds a little lift, but if you don't have carbonated just ordinary very cold tap water will be sufficient.

2.  I roll the pastry out between two pieces of cling film rather than on a floured surface, which is by far the cleanest way I know of it do it.  Now this has the added benefit, once you've cut out your circle, of providing you with some cling film to close over the top of the pastry and prevent it from drying out while you make the other three!  I found it was worth turning the pastry over before adding the filling, as it was easier to pick it up from the cling film, that way.

3.  If you are using steak, rather than steak mince, you should ensure that the meat has a little bit of fat marbling it, for flavour.  Too lean and your pasties won't have that lovely beefy flavour.

4.  The black pepper is an essential - and more rather than less.

5.  A simple but most effective tip is always to egg wash before you cut the slits or holes in the pastry.  Do it the other way around and the holes will fill with egg which will seal as it cooks - and your pasties will unzip themselves in order to let the steam out.  It is also worth taking care to not let the egg drip off onto the paper lining or it will burn as the pasties cook.

There.  Who'd have thought making pasties could be so complicated?  *chuckle*  It isn't complicated at all really - it's just a matter of avoiding some of the little things that could so easily spoil what would otherwise be a perfect bake.

So now all you need is to find some brown paper bags in which to put your hot pasties, then off you go to somewhere suitably rural in which to eat them, along with lashings of ginger beer and some slabs of fruit cake.  Oh - that would be Dorset pasties then, not Cornish.  *wink*

Either way, in front of the t.v. or on a windswept hillside - enjoy them!

CORNISH PASTIES (suet pastry version)

Ingredients :

For the pastry ...
-  300g all purpose (plain) flour
-  100g vegetable suet
-  100g salted butter
-  pinch of sea salt
-  pinch of fresh ground black pepper
-  120ml very cold water (I use refrigerated and carbonated mineral water).

For the filling ...
-  300g lean beef steak, cut into strips, then diced finely
-  a medium onion, diced
-  1 medium sized potato, peeled and diced finely
-  one quarter (or less) of a swede (rutabaga), peeled and diced finely
-  a good pinch of sea salt
-  1 heaped tsp of freshly ground black pepper (more if you like it!)
-  half a beef Oxo cube, crumbled.

Optional : 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley.

1 egg, for egg wash.

Method :

1.  Firstly make the pastry, by placing all the ingredients but the water into a bowl.  Rub the butter into the flour (doesn't matter if some suet comes along for the ride) until you have small cornflake shapes.

2.  Add the water, mixing through with a knife until the dough begins to come together.  You may need a little more water, or a little less, so add it in a couple of instalments to be on the safe side.  Do not knead the dough at all.  Just pat and push it until it comes together in a ball.

3.  Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.

4.  Take the filling ingredients and mix together in a bowl, making sure to crumble the half Oxo cube finely and mix it in well.

5.  Cut the pastry into four even sized pieces and roll each one out into a 4-5 inch circle.

6.  Egg wash around the edge of half of each circle.

7.  Divide the filling evenly between the four pastry circles, placing it on the opposite side to the egg wash.

8.  Fold the free edge gently over the top of the filling, pressing down lightly around the edges to seal.

9.  Crimp the edge in whichever manner you feel most confident, the important thing being that the edges are very well sealed.

10.  Place onto a parchment or non-stick silver foil lined baking tray.

11.  Egg wash the four pasties.

12.  Cut a couple of slits (or make holes) in the top of each pasty.

13.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200degC/400degF/Gas 6 for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180degC/350degF/Gas 4 for another 40 minutes.  Remember to turn the baking tray half way through the cooking, to achieve an even bake.

Serve either hot from the oven, or cold the following day with a pickle such as my Rhubarb & Apple Relish.  Gorgeous!

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