Cornish pasties originated as a portable lunch for farmers, fishermen and tin miners at work. Housewives of the workers would make one pastie for each member of the house; marking their initials on one end of the pastry. Cornish pasties do vary slightly in content in different parts of Cornwall, and also across the country where they are well known; Bedfordshire, for instance, where they put fruit in one end of the pasty to make a dessert called Bedfordshire Clangers.
Cornish pasties can be made with a prime cut of meat, such as rump, however, blade is often used instead due to the high expense of using rump.
Preparation time 20 minutes,
Cooking time 1 hour,
Oven temperature 190°C, 375°F, gas 5,
Calories 510 per pasty
225 g (8 oz) plain flour
pinch of salt
100 g (4 oz) margarine
2 - 3 tablespoons cold water
beaten egg to glaze
for the filling
225 g (8 oz) braising steak 1 potato
225 g (8 oz) swede
2 tablespoons beef stock
salt and pepper
for the shortcrust pastry
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut the margarine into small pieces and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough water to mix to a soft dough.
1. Make the shortcrust pastry and chill while preparing the filling. Cut the meat and potato into small cubes. Chop the onion and swede. Mix the meat and vegetables with the stock and season generously.
2. Grease a baking tray. Divide the pastry into four pieces and roll each piece out to a 15 cm 6 in circle. Divide the meat mixture between the pastry circles and dampen the edges with water.
3. Bring the edges together over the middle of the filling and seal, making a fluted pattern with your fingertips, to form an enclosed pasty.
4. Place on the baking tray and brush with beaten egg. Bake in a moderately hot oven for 1 hour. Serve hot or cold, with a salad and pickles.
For economy, substitute minced beef for the braising steak. Carrots or turnips can be used instead of swedes.
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