This quick recipe from last weekend was the outcome of a reduced-to-clear packet of ready made pastry from the supermarket and the results of a thought process that started with a ‘how hard could be it?’. Pasties make for good, portable food and haev a tradition stretching back many years. You can stick just about anything inside, but this one is a fairy simple yet still acceptable variant on cheese and onion.
Half a packet of ready made pastry
2 or 3 new potatoes
3 big or 4 medium shallots
100g mature cheddar
half a teaspoon smoked paprika
a medium egg
Boil the potatoes for about 7 minutes, or until they’re just tender all the way through, but not falling apart
Whilst they’re cooking, finely slice the shallots and start to gently sweat them off in a bit of olive oil or butter.
Chop up the cheese into thin slices
Split the pastry into two, and roll out into circles about 5mm thick. Not too thin, so that it can support its own weight when holding in your hands but not so thick you can’t fit any filling in.
When the potatoes are cooked, drain and leave them to cool, then slice them thinly.
Build up the filling in the middle, piling up the layers to get as much filling and as little air in as you can. Add a pinch of paprika on top to give a little colour.
The final step is where the controversy begins, how one folds and crimps one’s pasty is akin to how one wears one’s baseball cap. Allegedly.
I went for the fold it over horizontally and then crimp from the edges back towards the filling approach. Others heavily favour the fold both edges towards the middle and crimp across the top.
Thoroughly beat the egg and use a pastry brush to coat the topside of the pasty, including sealing the crimp. This also helps give a nice golden finish.
Bake in a moderate oven for about 25 minutes
I found a handful of good youtube videos showing how to do the traditional Cornish Rope ranging from expert presenters in their own kitchens to a commercial scale piece. You’ll just have to use your imagination for how I did mine (it’s the same, but on its side)
Mine turned out perfectly edible both fresh from the oven and cold for lunch the following day, but this recipe breaks from my tradition in that the readymade shortcrust pastry isn’t as good as properly home made lard pasty pastry for holding its own weight and texture.
About 4 minutes into this video is a good close up of the process: