Thursday, 28 October 2010

Cornish Pasty Pie

I still seem to be insanely busy since I came back from France so thought I'd post an old favourite I haven't made for a while which comes from my book Meat and Two Veg. Since you can now buy it for 4p on Amazon (how humiliating is that?) I might as well give it away.

You might not be convinced of the virtues of making your own Cornish pasties given the number of pasty shops nowadays but I promise you that the taste of this freshly baked pie and the smell coming from the oven as it cooks will make you change your mind. I’ve made it as a pie as it’s much easier than trying to cram the filling into individual pasties (and also less fattening, I kid myself)

Do use good quality beef for it - the traditional skirt is perfect. And don’t be tempted to put the veg and meat through a food processor. They really are better chopped by hand.

Serves 4-6

400-425g beef skirt or lean braising beef, trimmed of fat
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Half a small swede, peeled (about 225g)
450g waxy potatoes, peeled (e.g. Desirée)
2 medium sized onions, peeled (about 225g)
1 rounded tsp sea salt
1 rounded tsp white or black peppercorns, freshly ground
For the pastry
250g plain flour
110g block margarine (e.g. Stork) or butter
75g Cookeen or other vegetable shortening
A good pinch of salt
4-5 tbsp iced water
1 medium egg lightly beaten

You will need a large shallow pie dish

Measure out the margarine or butter and lard, wrap each piece in foil and place in the freezer to harden for at least half an hour. Cut the beef into very small cubes, put in a large bowl and mix with the Worcestershire sauce. Cut the swede into similar sized cubes, quarter and finely slice the potatoes and finely chop the onion. Add the vegetables to the meat, season well with salt and pepper and mix well.

Measure the flour into a bowl and grate in the semi-frozen fats, dipping each block into the fat as you go. Cut the fat into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs then sprinkle over 4 tbsp of the iced water. Work in the liquid with a flat-bladed knife, adding enough extra liquid to enable you to pull the mixture together into a ball. Put the pastry onto a floured board, shape it into a flat disc then place in a plastic bag and chill it in the fridge for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Grease the inside of the pie dish lightly with margarine or butter, tip the filling into it and pack it down well. Moisten the rim of the pie dish with water. Roll out the pastry to a circle slightly wider than the diameter of the dish and carefully lay it over the meat mixture. Press it down lightly inside the rim and trim off any overhanging pieces with a sharp knife. Cut a slit in the centre of the pie and brush the surface with the beaten egg. Decorate the pie with the trimmings if you feel inspired.

Bake the pie for 30 minutes then turn the heat down to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and bake another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with a simple green or mixed salad.

There's been a bit of a ding dong on Twitter over whether I should have called this Cornish Pasty Pie. Two Cornishmen (well, one man, one woman) were outraged but my argument would be that it's a pie with a Cornish pasty-type filling - hence the name. What do you reckon - and what would you call it?


Sarah said...

Mmm, sounds delicious. I've stopped buying industrial pre-made pastry because I've gone off the taste. I've gone back to making my own pastry again (using butter) and so each pie is divine. Actually, I use unsalted butter and add salt crystals which seem to stay whole and give a lovely crunchy salty texture/taste. God it's good!

There's just no substitute for a home-made shortcrust pastry.

Your book is on my Christmas list! I'm rather obliged to be a frugal cook...

Fiona Beckett said...

Wow - great idea about using unsalted butter and salt crystals, Sarah. Bet that's good

Nora said...

What a great idea! All the Cornish pasty goodness in one big pie.
I'm not sure I'm qualified to discuss whether you're allowed to call it Cornish pasty pie, not being remotely Cornish, but it seems to me to be the perfect name - explaining exactly what it is in three little words!

maggiedon said...

Firstly, great that you are back blogging Fiona. Secondly, I agree with Nora, Cornish Pasty Pie does what it says on the (pie) tin. Lovely recipe. I've made something similar to this but with pastry underneath too and as a big flat circular pie on a baking sheet, with the top piece of pastry crimped to the bottom - you can feed a lot with it, and it is great for the lads watching rugby or F1 on the telly to just plonk it in front of them with loads of napkins and a big knife to cut off what they want.

Fiona Beckett said...

@Nora, @maggiedon - Agree: this is a deeply comforting recipe. It's worth making for the smell as you bake it alone. You can't have too many pies IMHO

daphne said...

looks heaven. .This looks like such a simple, quick recipe, ill have to try it soon!

daphne said...

simple recipe and sounds delicious! 100% going to try it out this week. Thanks. . .