There are few culinary delights to tickle the palet or to cause one to clutch one's tummy pain quite like a Westcountry pasty.
I state the above because there is nothing quite like a well-made pasty as there is a badly made one either:) Here we intend to show you how to make a 'real' pasty - be it Cornish or Devonshire ones. They are the same thing as they were principally hardrock miners' staple source of food. The folk lore surrounding the pasty has even 'crumbled over' into "Stargazzie Pie". Take no notice of that piffle. It has nothing to do with a pasty but a lot to do with the Cornish sense of fun when it comes to talking to strangers. You have been warned!
Firstly we will give the recipe for the wonderful flaky pastry. Not an originally used pasty covering as it contains fat that could well be in short supply to the average miner at the time.
To be able to create the best flaky pastry the lard must be grated from frozen into the flour and the water MUST be ICE cold. Mix with a knife if your hands are inclined to be hot(Ed.)
PASTRY - flaky... 3 lb plain flour 1.5 lb lard Must be frozen 1 level teaspoon salt Ice cold water. Sieve flour and add salt. Grate frozen lard into flour, mixing with a knife to seperate. Then add ice cold water in small amounts and mix to a firm dough. Roll out into a square on floured surface and fold into 3. Place dough into plastic bag or wrap in clingfilm and rest in fridge for one hour - preferably rest overnight. When rested, the dough, not you:-), but the dough, roll out on a floured surface and cut around a tea plate sized circular template. This will make 8 good sized individual pasties. This pastry is exceptional when micro-waved. can be used for apple pasties, pies, tarts etc too! FILLING... Slice/chip into minute slivers 5 medium potatoes, extremely finely. If it resembles snow you are a Champion Cook already. Keep the slices exceptionally small and thin. NEVER diced. NEVER! NEVER! Add a medium sized swede turnip (unless you don't like swede!) same as potato. 3 sliced and finely cut onions. 1.75lbs - 2lbs skirt of beef (MUST BE SKIRT!) NOT CHUCK STEAK...skirt!!!!!! Place a layer of potato, a layer of swede, a layer of onion and then lastly the meat. Pepper and salt to taste - ensuring that there is sufficient pastry available to crimp and seal across the top. Dampen edges of pastry ring with milk and/or egg yolk to seal. If you are conversant with pasty-making then crimp along edge, keeping ingredients in. Easier to handle when hot and easier to eat too! Throw away the 'handle' away later if the pastry is hard:) A small 'nib' of meat fat can be added to the top of inside filling to be discarded after cooking. (not much fat with skirt of beef!!!!) Find some fat from somewhere. Butter - if no other available. As an added bonus just sprinkle lightly with a crumbled beef stock cube before sealing - but be miserly - very very miserly with it. Just enough to taste. Imagine nutmeg... Pierce top with a single knife stab - 1/2 inch! Cook in hot oven for 3/4 hr and until golden brown on top. Eat hot for preference. As a special treat cut a small hole in top and pour in a sherry glassful of fresh milk. Sweet and beautiful! Really...Booooodiful!!!!!! If you don't create a mouth-watering feast, either hot or cold, then you have lost your zest for life and your taste buds need hot curry and black pepper to stimulate them. Shame on you!-) Enjoy!!!!!