Pasties are basically pies folded into a half circle and sealed by crimping the sides. There are references to pasties in Europe since the Middle Ages, when they were enjoyed by royalty, but they became
particularly popular in Cornwall during the 18th and 19th century. Miners liked them because they were complete and portable meals, which managed to stay warm for several hours. Cornish miners took the concept of pasties wherever they immigrated to. Indeed, I made Hidalguense pasties when I visited the cuisine of that Mexican state.
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Today, pasties are considered Cornwall's national
dish. When I first visited London, you could buy them at train stations and stores all over, and they constituted a cheap, quick and delicious lunch.
Indeed, pasties seem to have much improved since they were first eaten by
Cornish miners, as the ones I made - following the official recipe by the Cornish Pasty Association, were not particularly tasty. Or maybe rutabaga is an acquired taste.
Still, they were quite bland, probably because the meat and onions are added raw, and thus don't have to opportunity to caramelize and develop more intense flavors.
I used a store bought pie crust to make these pasties, and it
was a pretty bad idea. The shell was both too hard and too fragile once baked. A better quality shell might have done the trick, but if you are going to try it, you probably should make your own.
- 1 recipe for short crust pastry or store-bought pie shells
- 1 lb skirt steak or sirloin, cubed
- salt & pepper to taste
- 12 oz potatoes, peeled and diced
- 4 oz rutabaga, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup sliced onions
- 1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Cut the short crust pastry into 6" to 10" discs, according to your preference.
Place some steak cubes in the bottom half of each disc, leaving a 1/2" rim. Season with salt and pepper. Add some potatoes, rutabaga and onions, seasoning after each addition. Fold the top half over the bottom half and crimp the sides. Brush with the beaten egg.
Place pasties on a baking sheet and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until golden brown.
Adapted from a recipe at the Cornish Pasty Association