A Stir The Pots Post


by | Jun 25, 2011 | Food

Looking through the weathered pages of my The New International Confectioner book recently, my eyes fell on a recipe for Cornish pasty. The origins and history are interesting, as being a basic dish of British miners, they included specific fillings that included "beef, potatoes and rutabaga (rutabagas were referred to as "swedes"). Recently the pasty has been designated "PGI," which stands for protected geographical indication. Whatever, these egg washed meat pies have ancient origins, and legend has it that miners would eat the ends, saving the middle half for later meals.  


My own introduction to this British staple came visiting England, finding them in a London kiosk during a walk. On that typically British wet and windy day, I found warmth and cheer in a "Guinness filled pasty," a huge flaky creature filled with beef morsels and a dark gravy.


 Pasties are great comfort food, and so this weekend – seekng comfort, I used that concept to prepare a batch, filling them with lamb rack trimmings, onion, diced potatoes, and a range of spices including, mace, mint, coriander, pepper, salt, and sumac. If you want to keep it simple, go with curry and add some vegetables.



Crimped edges are characteristic of basic pasties. That said, they are usually usally aso crimped in the middle. The tuck-and-weave is very similar to empanadas,so I had no problems turning out the model for a perfect pasty. Mind you, as I used duck confit and foie gras fat in my dough, it was richer than the basic miner's variety. .These pasties were rich, flaky, and simultaneously reminded me of strudel and a South American empanada. 



Actually, it seems the world has many variations on this type of food; pastel, pâté en croûte, empanada,burek, or samboosa. There are endless sources for a great meal, but I'll call this one a pasty.



  1. Kathy McClean

    Love it. I was told the crust was all about keeping the miners coal covered hands off the left overs inside. Yours look fab. Yum!

  2. Lester Fontayne

    I love that the pasties’ fillings were traditionally half savoury and half sweet. Lunch and dessert in one convenient package. Genius.

  3. Joanna

    My tuppence worth on the oggi – the Cornish pasty’s thick edge is supposed to be thrown away as if you are mining for tin as they were in the Cornish mines you apparently get arsenic on your hands. But I agree, absolutely, they are one of the most comforting foods around – we love them – and it’s a real treat to find a good one. Yours look brilliant 🙂

  4. Jeremy

    Tin’s fine with me….it’s iron that’s tougher! 😛
    Worth making in all shapes, sizes and fillings.


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