Monday, December 15, 2014

The Cornish Pasty – Going to Fall Down a Mineshaft? This is the Meat Pie For You!

This Cornish pasty is one of those rare recipes that novice cooks will find easier to make than experienced bakers. That’s because to make this to its original, and very sturdy specifications, you’re forced to over-mix the dough…a cardinal sin that literally gives pie makers nightmares.

Like any pastry dough, we’re just adding just enough ice water to bring everything together, but unlike classic pie dough, we’re going to knead the mixture for a couple minutes past that point.  Thanks to a little thing called muscle memory, this is not going to be easy for some of you.

Get over it; because once you taste and feel the final product, it will all make sense. The tougher, but not tough dough is the perfect delivery system for the meaty filling. Speaking of which, I went with a fairly traditional version, and provided the recipe below, but this great crust will work with all sorts of stuffings.

You could use cooked meat in these, but part of what makes them so good, is how the raw ingredients cook in their own juices, while encased in the tasty dough. I can’t imagine many things that wouldn’t be great in these.

By the way, this recipe is dedicated to my mother-in-law Peggy, who requested it about five years ago. It was one of her favorite foods growing up, and I’m curious to hear how close I got. I hope you give this easy, and delicious meat pie a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 Cornish pasty

4 cups bread flour (mine weighed in at 1-lb 2-oz)
2 oz (4 tbsp) cold butter
3 oz (6 tbsp) cold lard
1 1/2 tsp salt
about 2/3 to 3/4 cup ice water, or enough to just bring dough together (start with about 1/2 cup, and then drizzle in more as needed)

For the steak filling:
12oz cubed beef skirt steak
1/2 cup diced onions
1 cup diced gold potatoes
1/3 cup diced turnip
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne
2 tbsp butter, cut into 8 thin slices

For the egg wash:
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tsp water

- Bake pasties at 350 F. for about an hour or until browned and bubbly

37 comments:

Sherry Bolinger said...

These are beautiful, Chef John! The makers of those "not sprockets" pasties should hand their heads in SHAME!

Vincent said...

Chef John, why didn't you do the old fork drag against the meat pie? I kind of feel ripped off.

Karen Bradly said...

I just watched the video and I wish I had more confidence to make it :)

Spy Hunter said...

Thanks for the recipe! Can I add a lot more butter to replace the lard? If not is there any substitute.

Angela said...

You make this look so easy. I can't wait to try these.

James said...

I'm impressed that this recipe is actually pretty spot-on, although not sure about the cayenne - black pepper should be the dominant flavour here. And as someone who lives in Cornwall, I must express displeasure at your lack of proper crimping - a cardinal sin! Sorry! ;)

Blue Arc said...

Man, those look delicious! I looked them up on the inner net...seems your filling is spot on. I'll give this a try. Probably gonna make a little gravy to go with it. All I need to do is figure out how to get the gravy to the bottom of the mine shaft without making a mess! Thanks Chef!

Steve Kennedy said...

Could that crust be made the evening before and chilled a whole day? I don't get home till about 5:20 and I like to have supper on the table by 6:30 or so.

Kathy Berken said...

I'm very familiar with these as I lived close to the UP of Michigan where the iron miners took these to work. But, the best pasty makers made an extension of dough on one end and filled it with apple or cherry pie filling (homemade of course), so their husbands would get dessert too! What a novel idea! You can get the real thing anywhere within 100 miles of the UP. In restaurants, served with gravy.

Chef John said...

Sure!

Georgia Dabinett said...

Mmmmm.....I think these would reheat for lunch like the sprokets only better. Planning ahead for my January no processed food month. Thanks, Chef John!

nightsmusic said...

You forgot the rutabaga :)

My grandfather worked the mines in the UP for several years after coming to the states from Cornwall. My grandmother made him one of these every day to carry for lunch. It was easy, highly portable, baked to be held in your hand to eat (most of the time) and just delicious! The problem she had was as you said, she couldn't bring herself to overmix the dough so he had the only pastie with a true pie crust. Darned things fell apart like mad once you bit into them, but geez, they were heaven.

She taught me how to make them when I was just a wee child. I however have never had the problem of not overmixing the dough.

For anything.... *sigh*

ScienceSusan said...

Rutabaga! What were you thinking?!?!

Stoev said...

Dude you should make some more chinese food

irksome1 said...

How are these different from empanadas?

nightsmusic said...

irksome1:

They're from Cornwall. They're not from Latin America/Europe. And I don't believe traditional empanadas are filled with either turnip or rutabaga. They also predate empanadas in historical cookbooks by at least 200 years.

And they're a little piece of food heaven in your hand. :)

Chris K. said...

Important tip: always remember to save the last bite for the tommyknockers.

Robert Pickett said...

Chef John, in this recipe you used egg wash made with water. In your apple hand-pie video, you used egg wash made with milk. What is the purpose of using one or the other?

Chef John said...

No real difference! If you use dairy it gets a little shinier.

David K said...

I'm making this as I write this. Well, actually I'm waiting for the pastry to chill and the filing is in the fridge. One question, can these be put together and frozen before cooking? P.S. I love your videos... great food and you always can make me smile... or burst out laughing...

jmilligan85 said...

Made a double batch of these yesterday exactly according to your method. They could not have come out better. Thanks! My family will have pasties for dinner until Christmas day!

Chef John said...

Thanks, all!

I've never tried to freeze, but seems to work for supermarket versions!

puttermuch said...

Thank you Chef John,
Pasties have become a Christmas Eve tradition in our family and your recipe looks even better than ours :)

We had to cut slits in ours and add water into those slits during baking.....ick ! Maybe the addition of the butter under the crust adds moisture? At any rate, we'll try your recipe next time.
Keep up the good work !

Alexia Cattnell said...

Chef John I was wondering if I could use lamb as a substitute and which would be better cubed or ground?

Burns Wattie said...

I was chatting with English friends the other day. They noted a couple of things about pasties: 1) since the miners in Cornwall worked in tin mines, their hands had arsenic on them.The crimped crusts on the pasties were really important handles for the pastie, and these were discarded at the end. 2) The miners had their own unique crimping patterns so they could tell in the dark by feel which one was theirs.

Chewy2 said...

I'm sure not traditional, but my grandmother's recipe added a little basil and garlic. These are the favorite of my four children and are requested for every birthday dinner.

jersey said...

Mine are in the oven right now and they smell wonderful! I changed two things:

I made them smaller (8 from the same recipe instead of 4) so they would be a good size for my children to bring to school for lunch.

I changed the filling to ground lamb (from our farm--it is what was in the freezer), potato, carrot onion and peas. Similar seasoning, though (salt, pepper, cayenne).

Dough was easy to handle and seems like it will be great. Can hardly wait the 30 minutes until they are done!

LdL said...

After watching 6 seasons of Doc Martin, I felt impelled to make these....I crimped and folded... Just popped them in the oven..... cant wait!

gripper999 said...

My Gran would make Cornish-style pasties and pork pies. I rendered leaf lard from my butcher using the method found on the Flying Pigs Farm web page. I made the crust as Chef John suggested. I seasoned the skirt with a bit more pepper, some powdered Colman's mustard, and some Knorr powdered beef bouillon. I used diced swede (rutabaga), parsnips and onions. I got 6 pasties out of the dough and wound up baking them quite a long time. Stupendous! I haven't had a proper pasty since I was a lad. Thank you Chef John.

David Schrock said...

You must definitely verify Arments Pie and Mash in case you are seeking the most effective curry and mash shop in London. Pies are a basic English food in the middle of way and our standard food of life, and Arments stay true-to that tradition and prices. Here you can find more information - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OahxXDeRGXA Highly recommended!

Tim Lebsack said...

I made it !!!
https://instagram.com/p/2Zhr2XGFue/?taken-by=tim_lebsack
I was making your No-Knead Ciabatta recipe for the second time and decided to use it for Cornish Pasty. It was a bit sticky to work but they tasted great!

Brenda said...

Hi John,

I come from Devon, on the border with Cornwall in the UK. Very good recipe but not quite, no cayenne!!!! Also, we tend to use swede (rutabaga to you UK friends), and when the pasty is ready for the oven, pour some single cream through the hole in the top before baking. Making my mouth water. btw, some Cornish ladies make the fold at the top instead of the side, and crimp thumb and finger.

PS I love your recipes, I now live in France, but never forget my Dvonshire roots.

Geoff Cooper said...

To Kathy Berken who mentioned the addition of a sweet component at one end, that sounds very much like what we call Bedfordshire Clanger( a google search of the name will reveal all), that was a sweet and savoury meal for men working out in the fields. One end was savoury and the other was sweet.

Nancy Troske said...

I am so excited to have made these and have them turn out perfectly! I have always loved these and seek them out every time I'm in England, but they are actually now getting harder to find than they were years ago. I guess since most British food has come such a long way that perhaps they are considere "old school." In any event, I have always wanted to make them and with your perfect instructions, Chef John, they came out so well! I love all your videos. You are my first "go to" person when I want to make something. Your Sloppy Joe
recipe is by far the best ever and I've shared it with many friends and family. Thank you so much for all the great eats I have made from your videos! I'm a true fan!

Robin Betts said...

I don't want to make an 'authenticity' quibble, but there is one thing that does actually make a difference. If you hack thinnish shards off the root veg. instead of dicing them, they cook better and the texture is much nicer. It's just one of the things that's not right about the mass produced pasties here in the UK.

SS4Kokoro said...

Out of curiosity, if you do not have any eggs (or egg substitute) but you still really want to make this recipe, is there something you can use in lieu of eggs/egg substitute to get the same effect?

Sheila said...

Chef John. YOU DID IT! This will FOREVER be the one and only pastie recipe I use until the day I die. I'm not from Cornwall. I am not concerned with the traditional aspect of this recipe. I was looking for the PERFECT crust and this is it. Growing up my Mom made Pasty in a cake pan and served it in pieces. She used hamburger (I know geez a cardinal sin). And, just potatoes and onion (again another cardinal sin). I was looking for a handheld version and yours was recommended. So I stuck with her filling, but used your crust. My family now thinks I on walk on Pasty water thanks to you!!! And, when they are running out the door to go fishing or hunting they have one of these babies in their hands! You can totally eat it with just a paper towel while driving down the road no fork! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!