A Cornish pasty is a sturdy pastry filled with meat and vegetables. I have a soft spot for pasties because they were the only food I was allowed to eat on the couch while watching television as a child.
Pasties have many relatives around the world: empanadas and samosas are all portable pastries containing tasty fillings. For pasties, the raw filling is placed in a pastry circle that is folded in half and then tightly crimped, so that the filling cooks in its own juices. Dripping Pastry is the best pastry to use for this dish, as it is strong enough to hold the filling and has a mild beefy flavor. Traditionally, pasties are formed with their crimped edge pointing skyward, but you can bake them lying down, too.
Serve these warm or at room temperature, with relish, chutney, or tomato sauce.–Jennifer McLagan
For the dripping pastry
- 4 cups (17 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 6 ounces beef dripping or diced rendered suet
- 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons ice-cold water
For the pasties
- 1 recipe dripping pastry
- 1 pound marbled sirloin steak
- 1 potato
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 small turnip
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
Make the pastry
- Combine the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the dripping and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
- Pour 1/4 cup of the water over the flour-dripping mixture and mix with a fork. Squeeze a bit of the dough between your fingers. If it holds together, tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface; if not, mix in the remaining 2 teaspoons of water and test again.
- Gently knead the dough into a ball. Divide the pastry in half and flatten into 2 disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
Make the pasties
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Remove the pastry from the refrigerator.
- Cut the meat into 1/2-inch cubes, removing any sinew, and place in a bowl. Peel and cut the potato, onion, carrot, and turnip into 1/4-inch dice. Add the vegetables to the meat, along with the parsley, rosemary, and salt. Season well with pepper and stir. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the water.
- On a floured surface, roll out the pastry about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out nine 6-inch circles, kneading the scraps together and rerolling the pastry as necessary. Take 1 circle and place 1/3 cup of the filling on half of the circle. Brush the edges of the circle with the egg wash and then fold over the pastry to make a half-moon shape. Crimp to seal the edges well and place the pasty on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining circles.
- Brush the pasties with the egg wash and use a fork to prick the pasties several times on the top side. Bake for 20 minutes, reduce the oven to 350°F (175°C), and continue cooking another 25 minutes, until they are golden brown and a little cooking juice has leaked from the holes in the pasties.
Originally published October 30, 2008