Spiced beef and cheddar pasties

These are roughly based on a traditional Cornish recipe – which I adore, but I’ve spiced them up a bit and added chunks of melty cheddar. So they’re definitely not Cornish anymore, but they are nice!

Beef, veg and cheddar pasties

(I feel I ought to apologise for the state of my photography in these blogs! I may have been to art school for four years and hold a design degree, but I am fundamentally rubbish at photography. I’m so bad that I’ve not bothered to get a decent camera as it’ll be wasted on me… I am trying to get better though!)

Makes about 5 – 6

Equipment

Baking tray
Large saucepan
Saute pan
Grater or microplane
pastry brush
Rolling pin
Round plate or lid about 18 – 20 cm in diameter to use as a template
Large baking tray

Ingredients – for the pastry

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 120g unsalted butter – put a pat of butter into the freezer to harden before grating
  • 120g lard cubed (if you don’t want to use lard use 240g of butter instead but it’s definitely not the same rugged and savoury consistency) – put this into the freezer to harden before grating
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Enough cold water to bring it together (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 1 egg (for wash only)

Ingredients for the filling

  • 1 medium white onion (or about 4 shallots)
  • About 80g of swede
  • 1 medium slightly waxy potato – don’t use a floury potato or it will go to mush
  • Large handful of grated cheddar – about 65g
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Large grinding of pepper
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 level teaspoon mustard powder
  • About 300g of skirt beef (this is definitely the best cut for pasties as it has just the right consistency and flavour, if you can’t get it chuck steak is the next best thing)
  • Oil for frying – any veggie oil will do

Method – pastry

Make the pastry first so you can let it chill and rest while you construct the filling.

  1. Weigh out the flour add the salt and paprika
  2. Grate the hard butter and lard into it. Grating keeps the fat in small strands, making the rubbing-in method quicker and easier (alternatively you can just cut the fat into cubes). Keep tossing the grated fat in the flour as you go so it coats each strand of fat (otherwise you’ll just push it all together when you start rubbing in and it’ll negate the head start that grating gave you)
  3. Rub in the fat and flour until you get fine breadcrumbs, or alternatively pop it in a food processing and blitz for a couple of seconds
  4. Add the water one tablespoon at a time and knead the dough together until it is a typical heavy dough consistency – that is, it just comes together without crumbling and takes a bit of a push to shape it
  5. Flatten it into a disc, cover it in cling film or put in a plastic food bag and stick it in the fridge for up to a couple of hours, or if you’re short of time pop it in the freezer while you make the filling

Method – filling

  1. Pop a pan of salted water on to simmer
  2. Shred the beef skirt into very fine pieces, so that it will cook inside the pasty
  3. Chop up all the veg into small dice (3 or 4 mm cubes) – keep the onion separate
  4. Put all the diced veg into the saucepan (don’t include the onion) and simmer for a few minutes until they are just about to go tender (don’t let them get soft)
  5. Saute the onion over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes until glassy, then briefly add the beef and fry for a minute or two at the most. You just want some of it to start to change colour.
  6. Set the onion and beef aside to cool
  7. Drain the veg and put into a large bowl. Add the beef and onion
  8. Mix in the salt, pepper, cayenne and mustard powder into the veg and beef
  9. Leave to cool (until at most lukewarm) before using to fill the pasty

Method – constructing

  1. Put the oven on to about 220C conventional or 200C fan
  2. Retrieve the dough and roll out to about 2 – 3 mm thickness on a lightly floured surface (this is a bit thinner than traditional, but I like less pastry and you’re probably not going to transport this one down a tin mine so it doesn’t need to be so rugged)
  3. Cut out discs from the pastry using your plate/lid/etc as a template
  4. Whisk up the egg and brush some round the edges of each disc
  5. Divide the mix up equally between the pastry discs, spooning it into the middle of each disc and leaving about 1.5 cm space round the edge (where you brushed the egg wash). You may have a little left over (you can freeze this for your next batch or to add to either cottage pie, bolognese or chilli etc)
  6. Sprinkle the grated cheddar over the filling
  7. Fold over each pasty in half, sealing the edges. You now need to crimp the edge
  8. Crimp by starting at one corner. Pick up a corner in your index finger and thumb and place a finger from your other hand just the other side of this (not at the edge of the pasty, towards the centre). Folder the corner over your finger, remove your finger and tamp down. Now repeat by picking up the ‘new’ corner created by the first crimp. Work your way round the pasty. There are plenty of YouTube videos on how to do this – and it’s easier than it sounds – just Google ‘how to crimp a Cornish pasty’
  9. Once you’ve done all the pasties brush them all with the egg wash. Make sure there are no holes in the pastry – the idea of a pasty is that the filling steams while it cooks so it needs to be sealed
  10. Place on the baking tray and cook in the centre of the oven for about 30 mins. Retrieve when they are a golden brown
  11. Best eaten while still warm (careful – the centre is boiling hot straight out of the oven) but can be eaten cold
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