THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THESE CORNISH PASTIES
If you know me, you know my love of Downton Abbey runs deep. Yes, I wanted to celebrate the release of the Downton Abbey Movie this week by baking something really British. No, I couldn’t tackle kidney pie or any of the other concoctions Mrs. Patmore and Daisy whip up on a daily basis.
For years I’ve thought, “I should try making hand pies.” But I always get waylaid by wanting to make an actual pie. So, when I saw the recipe for Cornish pasties in the new Downton Abbey Cookbook, I knew the time had come to make savory hand pies.
LET’S MAKE A PIE CRUST
Making a pie dough may be intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but I promise it is easier than you think. While my preference is to mix the dough by hand, not everyone likes the feeling of wet dough stuck to their fingers. You can also use a food processor to mix the dough together, which is faster and less messy.
Once the ingredients are blended together to the point of holding together (not too dry and crumbly!), divide in half. Shape each half into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
GO CRAZY WITH THE FILLING
Traditional Cornish pasties are filled with beef and potatoes, but don’t be afraid to buck tradition! The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook suggests a hearty pork and apple filling, but it sounded a bit bland. So, I decided to shake things up a bit.
The beauty of pasty filling is you can adjust it to your mood and palette. Think of this as the English version of an empanada or samosa. Go crazy!
Be sure to check out my spoiler free review of the Downton Abbey movie & Sarah’s Madeleines from the Official Downton Abbey cookbook.
- Pie crust
- 4 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 7 1/2 oz vegetable shortening and/or unsalted butter
- 1 c. cold water
- Pork Filling
- 3/4 lb. boneless pork shoulder or pork chop diced into 1/2" cubes
- 1/4 lb. bacon minced
- 2 granny smith apples peeled, cored, and diced into 1/3" cubes
- 3 small Yukon gold potatoes peeled and diced into 1/3" cubes
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp dried sage
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sour cream optional
- STEP ONE - crust
- Stir flour and salt in large bowl until blended. Cut shortening into flour mixture using your fingers or a pastry knife until shortening pieces are the size of peas. (Note, I used a combo of butter and shortening.) Gradually add just enough water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough holds together and forms a smooth ball.
- STEP TWO - crust
- Divide dough in half and shape into two disks, about 1/2-inch thick. Wrap each dis in plastic wrap. Chill 2 hours or overnight.
- STEP THREE - filling
It may seem like a lot of dicing, but it goes quickly. The pork chunks should be about 1/2-inch cubes, with bacon, apple, potato, and onion all being diced a bit smaller, so the pasties are easier to fill. Place all the filling ingredients (except the sour cream) together in a bowl, and toss until well mixed.
- STEP FOUR - crust
- On lightly floured surface, roll out the dough from center outward. The dough should be about 1/8" thick. Use a 6-inch plate or bowl as a guide to cut out circles that will be the basis for the pasties. Between the two disks of dough, you should be able to get about 14 circles.
- Transfer 6" circles to a baking sheet covered in parchment or a baking mat.
- STEP FIVE - fill the crust
- Using a spoon, place about 1/4 cup of filling onto each dough circle.
- If you like a more gravy-like interior, place a dollop of sour cream on top of the filling.
- STEP SIX - fold
- Fold the circles in half, enclosing the filling. Using a fork, seal the edges of the dough together to prevent filling from leaking out.
- Poke the top of each pasty twice with a fork. These holes will help steam to escape and allow for even cooking.
- STEP 6 - bake
- Bake the pasties at 375-degrees for 20 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve hot.