Cornish Pasty

David and I first had a Cornish Pasty in 1983 at a restaurant in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. When we went to England in 2009, we found a Cornish Pasty shop in Bath, England. Their  pasties came with all sorts of fillings. The pasty crust is flaky and the filling is a bit dry.  They are easy to hold and eat right out of your hand. They are great for picnics or school lunches. Cornish pasties are sometimes served with a thick and sweet chili sauce made with diced tomatoes, onions, peppers, vinegar and brown sugar.

Mineral Point is a historic town, 50 miles southwest of Madison, Wisconsin. Minerals and lead were discovered in the area in 1825 and the first “mineral rush” in the United States brought miners from as far away as Cornwall, England to the area. So many miners came that in 1830, Mineral Point had a larger population than Milwaukee and Chicago combined.

The Cornish miners brought their families and their knowledge of deep mining and hard rock skills. They built the quaint stone houses that still can be found in Mineral Point today. When the miners went into the lead mines, they took a warm Cornish Pasty, wrapped in a cloth, for their daily underground meal.

If you visit Mineral Point, you can have guided tours of nine original stone houses in an area of the city called Pendarvis. You will walk down Shake Rag Street and learn about the life and times of these Cornish mining families and visit the shops of local artists. This site is operated by the State Historical Society and well worth visiting. All of the area restaurants serve Cornish Pasties. My recipe makes four Cornish Pasties.

Crust for Four Pasties:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ¾ cup lard
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 Tbls. apple cider vinegar
  • ½ c. water

 Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together. Cut the lard into the flour mixture with a fork or pastry knife. Blend together the egg, vinegar and water. Stir this into the flour to create the dough. Divide into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into an 8” circle.

Filling:

  • 4 medium potatoes, diced in ½” pieces or thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound sirloin steak, cut in  ½” or 1” cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Optional addition: sliced carrots, rutabagas or turnips
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbls. of milk

Mix the filling ingredients, divide into four equal portions. Place on half of each circle of crust. Dot with 2 Tbls. of  butter. Fold over to form a half circle. Seal tightly by neatly rolling the edges or crimping them with a fork or your fingers. Prick the top to allow steam to escape while baking. Combine the egg and milk and brush on the top of each pasty to create a shine. Bake on a greased cookie sheet in a pre-heated  400° oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° and bake an additional 45 minutes.

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