Cornish Pasties a la Ollie

There are many different versions of Cornish Pasties. You will also find Devon Pasty recipes which are similar to Cornish. Basically a Cornish Pasty is made up of a durable pastry crust called Shortcut Pastry (it is not the same as a pie crust) stuffed with meat, potatoes, turnip and onion. It is baked in a half-moon shape with crimped edges.

Purists do not crimp the top of the pasty, although that is much easier and helps prevent leakage. Edge crimping is preferable to the purist. But it's your choice!

Purists also do not add carrots, but many people do. Again, it's a personal choice. I also add spices and certain other ingredients which a purist would not. Too bad, I like my pasties the way I make them

The first thing I do is prepare my filling ingredients. I use sirloin tip beef and chunk it into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes. Remove any fat or stringy bits.

Check out this very cool interactive graphic of a cow showing cuts of meat and how best to use them. 

Next finely chop shallots if you have them (a kind of sweet onion) or just a regular onion. We are making 4 pasties today so you need about one large onion.

I like to slice my turnip and potatoes in very thin slices instead of chunking them. It's hard to say how much of each vegetable you need, but the ratio I use is about 3 times as many potatoes as turnip.

About 1 medium potato for every 2 pasties should do it.

I make a little "roux" next. Purists don't do this but I do! I take 1 Knorr-Swiss Chicken Bouillion Cube, 1 tsp. margarine and 1 tsp of powdered gravy. I use Knorr-Swiss powder gravy.

Put the margarine in a fry pan, bring it to a bubble, turn it down to simmer and add the other 2 ingredients. Mix it up quickly and turn the mixture off. You aren't cooking it, just mixing and getting it hot.  Set it aside.

Now you are ready to make the Shortcut Pastry. There's a standard recipe for this which does not use baking powder or vinegar but I make mine a little bit differently!

You need 3 1/2 c. flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 c. of lard or shortening (shortening is healthier, lard tastes better - you decide), 1/4 to 1/2 c. water and a wee smidgeon of either baking powder or vinegar
(smidgeon =1/4 tsp or so)

Mix flour, salt and baking powder (if using that) with two forks or pastry blender. Add the fat and keep mixing.  Then add a bit of water plus the vinegar if you are using that and keep mixing with two forks or a large spoon until it starts to form a ball. You have to judge how much water you need - just keep adding slowly until you have the right consistency, not too wet, and not too dry.

Cut the ball into 4 equal parts, cover it with a tea-towel and leave it alone for about an hour. Have a cup of tea or coffee or do your nails while you are waiting. The fun part is coming soon.

Rolling The Pastry Circles

Okay the hour is up, it's time to roll out your pastry. Spread some flour on a marble top if you have one (marble stays cold and is better for rolling out any kind of pastry), and start rolling one of your dough balls into a nice circle, about 9 inches in diameter. If the dough is sticking to your rolling pin sprinkle some flour on it. I use a marble rolling pin, it glides and is much less apt to stick.

Layering the Filling

You are almost ready to start layering in a half-moon shape. Some people like to lay their pastry circle with half draped over their rolling pin. I don't bother because I don't find it difficult to know where the middle is or to pull the other half up over the layers when I'm done.

Before you start layering, you should lightly brush some milk around the outer edges of your pastry circles. Let that sit while you go and reheat your roux and round up all your filling ingredients.

Your first layer is always meat. Make a nice thick layer about 1 inch thick. Be sure you leave about an inch of pastry free around the edge for sealing and crimping.

Next comes onions, followed by salt and pepper to taste, then a drizzle if the gravy-bouillon cube mixture you made. This is where I like to add another drizzle of HP Chicken 'n Ribs Sauce. If I can find HP Fruity I use it instead. I also add Fine Herbes at this point because I love the flavour they add.

You might like to use HP Bold Sauce if you like a bit more tang to your food. You could add Worcestershire sauce too but be careful not to put on too much liquid.

Next layer is potatoes and then the turnip. It's going to be thick, you can go about 1/2 inch thick of each, because as the pasty bakes those vegetable layers will squoosh down.
When you're done layering, sprinkle a little bit of flour on top. Done and ready to fold over and crimp those edges!

Once you have folded over the half of the pastry and sealed it (remember the milk you brushed on earlier? That's going to help seal the edges), you can gently crimp the edges. It helps to kind of seal, then turn the underneath edge UP so it forms a bit of a wall before you crimp. It helps prevent leakage and sogginess.

Now brush the top of each pasty with a bit of milk and pierce the top in 2 spots with a sharp knife. Place each finished pasty on a lightly floured baking sheet and bake in a 320-340' oven for about an hour. Be sure to use the middle rack so the bottom of your pasties don't burn. Watch them carefully as you may need to bake for a bit longer.

And here is the finished product just out of the oven.

They might not be pretty but they sure are yummy!

I cut one in half to show the inside. Mmmm so good!

For lunch you don't need anything more with these as they are quite filling. My husband likes to put a dollop of HP bold sauce or chili sauce on his plate for dipping, but I prefer mine just as you see them here.

When we have these for supper I do some steamed asparagus and maybe a little mashed turnip and carrots combined to put on the side.


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