Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ann's September Pie - Cornish Pasties

I've been interested in making a savory pie since the beginning of the year, despite my knowledge that Sue Anne , the pie maven, looks down upon them. However, I am devoted to a restaurant at home that has opened since I moved away called The Cornish Pasty Co., and decided to try my own traditional pasty. (Some of the best pasties at the restaurant are unusual variations like chicken tikka masala and carne adovada...seriously, this is one of the few things I look forward to when I go home).

So I invited my friend Ol' Blue Eyes over for some hand pie. He lived by an exclusive source of hand pies until recently and would often supply me with copious amounts of discount cherry pies during movie watching. I'm not sure if this was a good thing, but in any case, it seemed fun to make a theme out of the evening with both savory and sweet hand pies. It was also my first opportunity to premiere my new pride and joy:

"Jeg ønsker mig så'rn Foodprocessor!"
That is a joke for my brother.

Yes, my mother gave me a food processor for my birthday this month. I was soooo excited - no more grating butter for me!!!!!!

I looked for recipes for pasties online and found one from a blog called The Barefoot Kitchen Witch. I liked her step by step instructions, and I really love home food blogs. It seemed like a more authentically British story than many of the other recipes I found (most of them came from Michigan mining traditions, which is fine, but not exactly what I wanted). I decided to adapt her recipe to my own uses.

I got my ingredients at the grocery store (who knew that you couldn't find turnips in Kroger?) and went to work cutting up steak, potatoes, rutabagas, and onions. I mixed up my pastry, and got it to a consistency I thought would work. However....

I didn't put nearly enough water in the dough to make it form together, and rolling it out was impossible. I ended up pinching pieces together, placing bits of meat and vegetables on them, splashing it all with Worcestershire sauce, dried parsley, salt and pepper, and then pinching more dough pieces on top. You can see the filling peaking through in the picture. At one point, I was just pressing the crust onto the filling like I was making mud pies or something. This was the most frustrating pie I've made, and I was very afraid of the result.

The pie gods have once again smiled upon me, because these turned out surprisingly well. The dough had a nice flavor, and was crisp, flaky, and golden, and the filling was good. I've definitely had better pasties before, and I would have liked more of a gravy inside, but it was good enough to get a review of "if this were a girl, I would ask her out" from Ol' Blue Eyes.

Control had just returned from a performance of Sweeney Todd. I'm quite surprised she was interested in eating a meat pie afterward. I swear I didn't plan these events to happen the same night.

He is naturally suspicious. This is nothing new.

Me with dessert: apple hand pie.

Cornish Pasties

4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups chilled vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
8-12 (or more) T ice water

Combine the flour and salt in the food processor, add the shortening, and pulse until the mixture looks like small peas of flour. Add the water in batches until the dough forms into small clumps. Pat it into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

Cut up 1 lb of steak into small pieces, slice 4-5 potatoes, 1 rutabaga, and 1 onion. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. When the pastry is ready, separate it into 8 even pieces, and roll out each piece into a 1/8-inch thick circle. On one half of each circle, place enough meat and vegetables to fill the pastry, but leave room on the edges to seal the crust together. Splash with Worcestershire sauce, and sprinkle with dried parsley, salt, and pepper. Fold over the other half of the pastry over the filling and roll the edges together to seal them. Place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment. Pierce with a knife to vent the dough, and brush with an egg wash for color. Bake for 30 minutes, checking every five minutes thereafter to see if they are done. They should be golden brown.


DeskSet said...

Ol' Blue Eyes looks kind of like an alien in that picture. He has antennas!

Also, I wouldn't have known these pies were so difficult to make if you hadn't mentioned anything. The crust truly was delectable!

Way to go!

Control said...

These were a tasty change from your usual sweet pies. And the Sweeney Todd element just made them more interesting! How often do you happen to see Sweeney Todd and come home to meat-filled hand pies, huh? You have to take advantage of these kinds of opportunities.

Jonathan said...

The voice inflection of "I would ask her out" is totally lost...

BTW I am an alien...

Elizabeth said...

Those look seriously tasty. I want one right now.