So...as promised, here is the Cornish pasty recipe I've been wittering about on Facebook all week. This bout of culinary procrastination came about while I was writing some of the second book I'm contributing to Riptide's British shared world series (think Tucker Springs & Bluewater Bay, but with blokes and birds instead of dudes and chicks).
The Porthkennack books are set in North Cornwall in a fictional town near Constantine Bay. I was handed the cover art contracts for the seven contemporary jobs last week, and from the blurbs I've read, the series is going to be epic. And, in addition to the contemporaries, there are at least three historical on cards, including one by Joanna Chambers. Dude. I love her stuff.
Anyway, it was while writing Junk Yard Heart that I got hit with a massive part craving, though I think my end result might be technically classed as a Devon pasty--Cornish ones are sealed with an upright pleat, as Brix explains to Calum in my first book, House of Cards.
It's not essential to make your own pastry (400g store bought shortcrust will do) but for me it was part of the fun as it entitled me to a double lot of arsing around in the kitchen when I should've been doing a million other things, including feeding the cat, which earned me a paw-punch to the face and twenty-four hours of perpetual feline scowling.
The pastry I've made is quite sturdy and strong. There is a flakier variation you can make using lard, but I didn't have any in the house (honest). I like to add a grinding of black pepper to the dough, but it's entirely optional.
The filling is rigidly plain and traditional, but if you wanted to jazz it up you could add any number of herbs and spices. Thyme would work beautifully.
Top tip: make the pastry first, then set it aside to rest while you chop the filling.
Top tip: be sure to chop the filling thinly, no thicker than 3mm, or it won't cook before the pastry burns. There are few worse things to put in your mouth than a half cooked potato...
450g plain flour
125g cold butter, cubed
1 pinch black pepper
2tsp baking powder
2 egg yolks
125ml ice cold water
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, finely chopped
300g rump steak, fat/sinew discarded (stolen by cat), finely chopped
1tbs plain flour
1 egg, beaten
* Put flour, salt, butter, baking powder, and egg yolks in a processor or mixer and work until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
* Add the water bit by bit until the dough comes together in a ball.
* Pat into a disc, wrap in cling film, set aside in the fridge while you chop the filling.
* Mix all the ingredients well, seasoning generously.
* Preheat your oven to 220 C. Line a couple of baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
* Flour your work too, then cut your disc of pastry into 6 even-sized pieces
* Roll pastry pieces out into circles (ish) around 8 inches in diameter.
* Divide filling equally between pieces, placing it on one side of your circle.
* Brush water around the edges of the circle, then fold over the remaining side of pastry.
* Pleat or crimp in your preferred style. Smushing it with a fork is entirely acceptable.
* Make two slits in the top of the pasty to let the steam out.
* Transfer to baking trays.
* Glaze with beaten egg and a sprinkle of extra seasoning.
* Bake in the oven for 20 mins, then lower the temperature to 160 C and bake for a further 40 mins.
* Allow to rest for 20 mins before serving.
Note: pasties are even more delicious when left over night and eaten cold at the fridge door...preferably in your pyjamas.
Garrett Leigh is an award winning and LAMBDA nominated romance author, published with Riptide Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, and Fox Love Press.