Not Quite a Cornish Pasty
Growing up in a far flung part of the country, the railway was a bit of a lifeline to the civilised world. Back along, the roads weren’t so good and leaving Cornwall was not for the faint hearted. Thankfully, we’ve always had a mainline train service that carried us up to Plymouth, Exeter and even London. Three cheers for Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his Great Western Railway! We were able to visit geographically distant relatives in East Anglia and Scotland without too much trouble thanks to the train. We also got to take in some pretty gorgeous countryside on the way.
This is all well and good, but what’s this got to do with pasties you may be wondering? Well, Great Western Railway (GWR) challenged me to make a Cornish Pasty to mark the Great Cornish Food Festival (GCFF) last month. GWR serve a variety of Cornish and other South West products on their trains and was also the key sponsor for this year’s GCFF. This is a not to be missed event in the Cornish food calendar and if you follow me on social media, you will know I made the trip down to Truro to ‘get the vibe”. For a taste of what it was like, take a look at CT’s guest post on a previous year’s festival.
I was sent a hamper with some of the aforementioned products which CT and I made short shrift of. I found Cornwall’s very own home grown tea from the Tregothnan Estate, a packet of Mr Filbert’s mixed nuts with Cornish Sea Salt and a lovely box of homemade Cornish fairings along with some saffron cakes. Amongst the other goodies, I was pleased to see two bottles of sparkling drinks from our favourite ginger beer maker, Luscombe and a bottle of Admiral’s Ale which made a fine accompaniment to our pasties. A GWR apron and a copy of Mitch Tonks’ My Little Black Book of Seafood were also included.
So to the pasty. A Cornish pasty is a pastry case filled with a cheap cut of beef steak, onion, floury potatoes and swede, usually referred to as turnip in these ‘ere parts. Traditionally, it had a ridged seal running along the top; this acted as a disposable handle for the miners so they could eat the pasty without contaminating it with the toxic metals on their hands. Being a vegetarian, making such a pasty was out for me, though CT and my mother would have been delighted.
As it’s pumpkin season, I decided I’d make one with squash, chilli, chard and feta – proper job! What a good idea that was. As I’d already gone completely off piste with the challenge, I also decided to make my ab fab flaky pastry once again – it’s just too good not to use. My one concession to the Cornish nature of the pasty was to make the pastry ridge across the top rather than along the side. This is much trickier to get right; I approached the business of filling with due care and attention and luckily pulled it off. Nevertheless, I insisted CT wash his hands before eating one. ‘Tis a pasty, but not as we know um, Jago.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium sized butternut squash (about 500g flesh) - cut into small cubes
- 3 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- 1 red chilli (seeds kept in or out depending on how hot you like your food) - finely chopped
- 10 fresh sage leaves - finely chopped
- bunch of chard (about 250g) - stalks finely sliced and greens roughly chopped
- a dash of tamari (or pinch of salt)
- a grinding of black pepper
- 200g feta cheese
- a few drops of lemon juice
- 125g wholemeal spelt flour
- 125g plain flour
- 150g unsalted butter
- pinch of Cornish sea salt
- 3 tbsp yoghurt
- Fry the pumpkin with the olive oil in a large pan for 5 minutes or so. Add the garlic, chilli and sage and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the chard stalks and stir fry for another couple of minutes, then add the chard greens, tamiri and pepper.
- Put a lid on the pan and cook gently for 5 minutes. You may need a splash of water if it's looking too dry.
- Take off the heat, allow to cool, then crumble in the feta cheese, add a squeeze of lemon juice and stir.
- Cut butter into flour, salt and cinnamon and either rub between finger tips or pulse in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Stir in the yoghurt with a knife until the mixture comes together into a ball,
- Cover and leave to rest in the fridge or a cool place for ½ hr.
- Roll out on a floured surface to about 2mm thick.
- Cut into 6 circles using a 17cm side plate as a guide, gathering the unused bits and re-rolling as necessary.
- Place a couple of heaped tbsp of the filling in the middle of the circles and bring the sides up around it to meet in the middle. You want a well stuffed pasty, so add a little more filling if you think it can take it. Crimp the pastry together with your fingers in true Cornish fashion.
- Place on a buttered baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes when the pastry should be golden on top and crisp underneath.
- Makes 6 x 17cm pasties.
As these provided three days worth of meals for the three of us, these pasties are also being shared with Cook Once Eat Twice over at Searching for Spice. We had them two days running and the other two are sitting in the freezer waiting to be eaten at some future date.
Other pasties and hand pies you might like
- Mincemeat hand pies via Family Friends Food
- Mini cheese & onion pasties via The Veg Space
- Spiced apple & rhubarb hand pies via Franglais Kitchen
- Spinach, goat’s cheese and chocolate filo pastries via Tin and Thyme
Disclaimer: I was sent a hamper of snacks and a shopping voucher in order to buy the ingredients needed for this recipe. I was not required to write a positive review and as always, all opinions are my own.