On Saturday mornings, my husband and I set out on a dander. A stop for coffee to start the day off right and then off we go to some small town's market and a wander along its main street, hand in hand. Saturday lunch out on a sunny patio makes the day perfect. The farmer's markets are starting to burst with the beautiful bounty that we have all been chomping at the bit waiting for. It inspires me and lures me into the kitchen to play, despite the hot, humid temperatures. Summer weekends are just the best.
I've told you before about the carnivores I live with...a husband and two grown sons. A hungry lot - all the time! Sometimes I need to be creatively sneaky when cooking for this bunch, otherwise it would be meat and potatoes every single day, summer bounty or not! Seriously. So how does one get around this? Well last weekend it was Cornish Pasties with a simple salad of greens and heirloom tomatoes, that's how. What's not to like about what is essentially a hand-pie of meat and potatoes with a few vegetables thrown in? It was a hit with the brood - my husband said it was the finest pastry I had ever made and Iain, my youngest son, asked if I could use the same pastry and make panzerotti. Well! Kudos to Mum...bait and switch success. I was glad that I had made a double batch...lunch leftovers!
I know pastry is a bad word with some of you. It makes me say bad words sometimes too. But not this one. I promise. It was so beautiful to work with, even in the humidity. I made it on Saturday morning and left it to be rolled out until Sunday afternoon. It needs at least three hours in the fridge before you roll it out, so it does require a bit of planning ahead, but it is well worth it. You can play with the seasonings Dear Reader. This is a pretty simple combination, but I think a bit of garlic and thyme would be a nice addition too.
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
½ cup vegetable shortening, chilled
½ cup unsalted butter, chilled
1 cup cold water
1 egg, beaten
1 lb top sirloin, cut into ½ inch cubes
1½ cups potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
½ cup turnip, peeled and ½ inch cubes
½ cup carrot, peeled and cut into½ inch cubes
1 cup onion, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
4 tsp unsalted butter
In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Have one cup of very cold water ready. Add the shortening and butter and pulse until the mixture resembles small, pea-size pieces. With the processor running, add the water to mixture until the dough begins to pull together. (Alternatively, if making the dough by hand, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening and butter with two knives or pastry cutter. Add the cold water and knead until combined.)
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is uniform. Cut into 4 equal pieces and wrap each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a large bowl, stir together beef, potato, turnip, carrot, onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
Roll out dough 1 piece at a time. Roll on a floured surface to a circle about 10 inches wide. (I used a dinner plate as a guide) They are man-sized!
Brush some beaten egg around the edges of half the circle. (This will help to seal the dough)
Place a quarter of the meat mixture in the middle of the circle of dough, top with 1 tsp butter and lift half of the circle up and over the meat. Close the pasty and seal the edges with a fork or by crimping the edges with your fingers. Make sure that the pasty is sealed well. Using a knife, poke three small slits into the pasty to allow steam to escape.
Place pasty on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat process for the 3 remaining pasties. Brush pasties with beaten egg. This will give them a nice, glossy finish.
Bake pasties in oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 4 pasties