Cornish pasties are a food about which many myths circulate. The modern version generally contains beef, potato, and onions, with a rich, fat-based pastry, and has been given protected status. However, pasties have medieval origins and were widespread in the United Kingdom until the nineteenth century. Early pasties could contain any number of things, and most had very little meat, as it was so expensive. The Cornish pasty as we now know it emerged in London in the late nineteenth century and was more middle class than its vegetable-based country cousin. It spread rapidly throughout Britain and abroad, to the extent that earlier versions were almost forgotten. However, during the First World War, some authors revived pasties, as they were practical to make, could be filled with all sorts of ingredients, and were suitable for both elegant luncheons and marching off to the front, depending on their size, filling, and the chunkiness of their pastry. These are of the former type.
To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt, and suet in a large bowl and quickly mix with your fingertips until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Using a pastry blender or fork, mix in the water a bit at a time until the dough can be formed into a ball. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate while you make the filling.
To make the filling, combine the apples, pork, bacon, ketchup, and sage in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
Flour a work surface generously. Roll out 1 disk about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Using a saucer as a guide, cut out 6 circles, each about 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. (If needed, gather the scraps and re-roll until you have 6 circles.) Divide half of the filling evenly among the circles, spooning in onto half of each circle and leaving 1/2 inch (12 mm) uncovered around the edge. Dampen the edge of each circle with water, fold the circles in half, and press down on the edge to seal. Crimp the edges with a fork or with your fingers. Prick the tops several times with a fork to vent and arrange on a prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling.
Bake until barely golden on top and a thermometer inserted into the center of pasty registers 165 degrees F (74 degrees C), about 20 minutes. Serve the pasties warm or at room temperature.
You can use almost any filling in these, but you do need a balance between meat and vegetables. Other Downton-era possibilities include squab (pigeon) and rutabaga (swede), chicken and mushrooms, and of course, beef and potato. The crust is good for sweet pasties, too: mincemeat works well (see Mincemeat pie recipe), as does apple, especially with a little dried fruit and some spice added.
Cornish Pasties https://whatscookingamerica.net/elleneaston/downton-abbey-cookbook-preview.htm