Cornish Pasty - Pasties
Cornish Pasty History - Cornish Pasty Recipe

© copyright 2004 by Linda Stradley - United States Copyright TX 5-900-517- All rights reserved. This web site may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission and appropriate credit given. If you quote any of the history information contained below for research in writing a magazine or newspaper article, school work or college research, and/or television show production, you must give a reference to the author, Linda Stradley, and to the web site What's Cooking America. 


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History of Pasty - Cornish Pasty:

Pastie or Pasty (PASS-tee) - These are basically individual pies filled with meats and vegetables that are cooked together. They should weigh about two pounds or more. The identifying feature of the Cornish pasty is really the pastry and it’s crimping. When pasties are being made, each member of the family has their initials marked at one corner. This way each person’s favorite tastes can be catered to, identifying each pasty.

Pasty, Pastie

The solid ridge of pastry, hand crimped along the top of the pasty, was so designed that the miner or traveler could grasp the pastie for eating and then throw the crust away. By doing this, he did not run the risk of germs and contamination from dirty hands. The crusts weren't wasted though, as many miners were believers in ghosts or "knockers" that inhabited the mines, and left these crusts to keep the ghosts content. There is some truth to this rumor, because the early Cornish tin mines had large amounts of arsenic, by not eating the corner which the miners held, they kept themselves from consuming large amounts of arsenic.

One end of the pasty would usually contain a sweet filling which the wives would mark or initial so the miner wouldn't eat his dessert first, while the other end would contain meat and vegetables. The true Cornish way to eat a pasty is to hold it in your hands, and begin to eat it from the top down to the opposite end of the initialed part. That way its rightful owner could consume any left over portion later.

Pasties are one of the most ancient methods of cooking and of carrying cooked food. It is said that the early Irish Catholic Priests created them in order to transport food as they walked about the countryside preaching and aiding the people. The dish is mentioned in Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor (1598).

The earliest known reference to the pasty contribute it to the Cornish.  From 1150 to 1190, Chretien de Troyes, French poet, wrote several Arthurian romances for the Countess of Champagne.  In one of them, Eric and Enide, it mentions pasties:

Next Guivret opened a chest and took out two pasties.  "my friend," says he, "now try a little of these cold pasties And you shall drink wine mixed with water...." - Both Guivret and Eric came from various parts of what today is considered Cornwall.

Irish people that migrated to northern England took the art of pastie making with them. Soon every miner in northern England took pasties down into the mine for his noon lunch. Pasties were also called oggies by the miners of Cornwell, England. English sailors even took pastie making as far as the shores of Russia (known as piraski or piragies.

The Cornish people who immigrated to Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the United States in the middle of the 19th century to work in the mines made them. The miners reheated the pasties on shovels held over the candles worn on their hats. In Michigan, May 24th has been declared Michigan Pasty Day. In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan the pasty has gone from an ethnic food to a regional specialty.

In 1968, Governor George Romney declared May 24th as Michigan Pasty Day.
 

 



Cornish Pasty Recipe - How To Make Cornish Pasty:

This pasty recipe is courtesy of Kim Miller of Newberg, Oregon. a native of Traverse city, Michigan, Kim says that she does not know which family member this recipe originally came from, but that it has been passed down and shared by three generations of women in her family since the late 1930s.

Recipe Type: Beef, Pork, Sandwich, Vegetables
Cuisine: Cornish, Great Lakes
Yields: Makes 6 pasties
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 55 min


Ingredients:

Pasty Crust (recipe follows)
1 beef bouillon cube
1/2 cup hot water
5 1/2 cups diced potatoes
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced rutabaga*
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound lean ground pork
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Tomato ketchup

* Turnips may be substituted.


Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Make Pasty Crust.

In a large bowl, dissolve beef bouillon cube in hot water. Add potatoes, carrots, onion, rutabaga, ground beef, ground pork, pepper, and salt; gently stir until well mixed.

Place 1 1/2 cups of vegetable filling in the center of each rolled dough rectangle; bring short (6-inch) sides together and seal by crimping edges together. Makes 3 or 4 small slits in the top of the pasty to allow steam to escape during cooking.

Place pasties onto a large ungreased baking sheet. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown; remove from oven.

Can be served warm, but real Michiganities eat their pasties cold with tomato ketchup. they make a great sack lunch and freeze well.

Makes 6 pasties.


Pasty Crust:
4 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup solid vegetable shortening or lard
1 1/3 cups chilled water

In a large bowl, sift together flour and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut vegetable shortening into flour mixture until particles are the size of small peas. Sprinkle in water, a little at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry dough almost cleans side of bowl. Form dough into a ball and cut dough into 6 sections.

On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll out each section into 6 x 8-inch rectangles. Fill and bake as directed in recipe.


 


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