My adventures in pregnancy, motherhood and beyond

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Cornish Pasties

If you've never had a pasty (rhymes with "nasty"), you have been missing out! These delicious culinary creations come from the British isles and were said to have come about as a hearty lunch for miners, with the crust giving them something to hold on to. I first read about these in a Cat by Lillian Jackson Braun and was lucky enough to stuff myself with them when I stud]ied abroad in Ireland. Most countries have some version of a meat and pastry dish, be is pasties, Jamaican patties or meat pies. All of them I have tried so far are delicious. Since I can't find pre-made pasties or anything similar here in California, James and I decided to make them this Sunday night.

My first attempt at Cornish Pasties (yum!)

We started by looking up a traditional recipe on and decided on the Emeril Lagasse recipe, which seemed to be the most traditional one. Here's the link to the recipe so you can try it yourselves:

We started with the dough around 3 in the afternoon. It wasn't too difficult. I didn't have a sifter, so I used a berry colander to sift through the flour, salt and sugar, and it worked like a charm! I "cut" the shortening into the dry ingredients with my fingers, which was messy, but fun. Basically, you mix it until it looks like big crumbly dough. After you add the egg and water, you can truly start to knead it, and it begins to look like a typical dough. We wrapped it in plastic wrap, put it on a plate and left it in the fridge for a few hours. If there are little white dots all over your dough when you pull it out of the fridge, don't worry, it's perfectly fine.

Frank, our jack-o-lantern
We decided to eat early, so James started dicing up the carrots and potatoes. While the recipe calls for 1/4" cubes, we cut them pretty small, and James managed to practically liquify the onion in the food processor. We mixed all of that with about .67 lbs of cubed chuck steak, salt and pepper. While James worked on that, I pulled out the dough and floured it very well (it is sticky!) and rolled it out. I used one of our saucers to cut out 6 rounds. I had to reroll the scraps a few times to get all 6 rounds, but I still have some dough left over. I then beat an egg and grabbed our silicone barbecuing brush (I wish I had a pastry brush). I took each round, brushed egg along half of the outside rim and then put a little handful of the meat mixture inside the center of the round, and off to one side. Then I folded the pastry in half and pinched the ends together. I continued this until all of the pasties were on a baking sheet. We brushed the tops with the egg, put little slices in the top of the pasties to prevent explosions and stuck them in the oven. We turned our temperature down a bit since our oven is crazy hot, but after about 35 minutes (during which we carved a jack-o-lantern) we had absolutely delicious pasties.

James and I each ate two pasties, meaning we have two left over, one of which was finished as my lunch. The only thing about the pasties is that they did not have a lot of seasoning or flavour to the meat in them. A little bit of garlic, or a marinade or a bit of searing would have helped a lot. So now that we have a basic recipe, we can play around with both seasonings and filling!

Pumpkin Spice cookies with cream cheese frosting

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