Wednesday, January 28, 2009


A certain Old Grey Poet is to blame for the advent of these gorgeous critters. All he had to do was mention pasties and I was yearning, lusting, craving my own meal of this ancient and totally satisfying treat. We speak, Coffee Mates, of the famous Cornish Pasty.

If you are new to the phenomenon, you need to know they are pronounced PASS-tee. If you pronounce them PACE-tee, you're talking about the doodads strippers attach to their bazooms and that's a whole nuther endeavor entirely. If you pronounce them PAWS-tee, you might be from Australia. Or, I been told, certain locations in Montana. For information on pasty history (a long and honorable one), pictures and recipes, all you need do is Google Cornish Pasty and you'll have a ton of links to follow and enjoy.

I first learned about them when living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where the standard filling was diced meat, diced potatoes, onions and turnips. Sometimes carrots. If you prefer, you can use ground meat instead of diced and you can add whatever blend of vegetables you have on hand that appeals to you. The result is a full meal you can eat in your hand -- sort of the original Hot Pockets, only better.

The filling I used was a mixture of elk meat, potato and onion, seasoned with salt, pepper and onion powder, and topped with a few thin pats of butter. I'd have loved to add some turnip or rutabaga but didn't have any. So be it. Oh! Almost forgot -- I baked 'em at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

The neat thing I want to share with you, though, is the crust recipe I tried for the first time. I think it's absolutely perfect for a pasty crust. There are variations you can Google but this is basically what I did:


2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1/4 to 1/2 cup sour cream

Cut butter into flour and salt. Whisk egg and sour cream together and stir rapidly into flour mixture, just until dough forms. You may or may not have to add more sour cream. Play it by ear. When dough has formed, divide in half, form into patties, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least an hour.

About the sour cream: I started with a quarter cup and kept adding more, a heaping spoonful at a time. One never knows how much moisture flour is going to need on a given day. You just sort of feel it out and go with the flow. You can leave the dough in the refrigerator for a couple of days before using. I made this batch yesterday so it was 24 hours before I took it out. It rolls out easily and smoothly, handles like a dream and bakes up tender and flaky. The important thing here is, although tender, it's still sturdy enough so it holds up without falling apart in your hands while you're trying to eat.

Yes, you eat pasties with your hands. Put the silverware back in the drawer.

See the photo below? I was going to eat the whole dinner plate-sized critter. That's how hungry I was. I only got two-thirds of the way through one half. That's how filling pasties are. Sometimes I like to make a hot dipping sauce to go with a pasty meal but tonight I elected to just eat it naked. I mean the pasty was naked. I was fully clothed. No need to frighten the horses.

Fortunately, pasties are just as good cold as they are hot so I can go back to the uneaten half later without having to heat anything up. Maybe I'll fix some chipotle cheese sauce to go with the other pasty tomorrow. In any case, thank you, John, for such a lovely, beguiling suggestion. Even my tummy is smiling tonight.


John Bailey said...

Wonderful pasties, Dee! I think you deserve a Certificate of Genuine Cornishness for this one... ;-)

kate et jim said...

I agree - they look fantastic! So delicious - my mouth is watering...

The Old Guy said...

OK, I was going to eat breakfast, but looking at them filled me up.

Have you tried the great Canadian treat, butter tarts? Jo made some. Before we can get the camera out, they're gone.

They're gluten-free but not glutton-free.

bonnie said...

I'm sure glad you put the pronunciation and other info about these pasties. I'm so naive about so much!

Wait til you see the recipe story I put up today. lol

Dee said...

Thanks, John and Kate. I'd happily share if I could only reach that far.

Bill, did you tell me about the famous butter tarts before? Because the recipe and back story look very familiar. I should have thought of those tarts at holiday time. Maybe Valentine's Day would be a good time to try 'em out.

Bonnie, I'm looking forward to your recipe story. I'm being patient. Ignore my tapping foot and frequent glances at my watch. (smile)

Jo said...

You'll have to forgive the Old Guy for his one-track mind on butter tarts. Ever since I made him a batch a year ago or so he's been quite daffy about them nagging me ever so often about the wonders of them and how he'd love to pop one in his mouth again. He can't believe that you can't walk in an American grocery store and can't buy them. So, he has to wait now till I make them. And, sorry, hon, they aren't gluten-free because of the flour used in them.

Wendy said...

Oh, Dee, that crust sounds so wonderful! This one was bookmarked quick as quick. Thanks!

Dee said...

That makes me giggle, Jo. And what a wonderful lever you have for Honey Do chores.

Wendy, I hope you like that crust as much as I do. There's really no limit to the kinds of fillings one could put in a turnover so it's good to have a crust that can handle it with elegance.

~ Sil in Corea said...

I'm saving this pasty recipe for when I get back to a country that has ovens! ;-) I just love things you can eat with your bare hands.

Hugs from across the ocean blue,
~ Sil in Corea

~ Sil in Corea said...

P. S. I think Bostonians and people from Hahvahd Yahd might say "PAHS-tee." :snicker: