Cornish Pasties originated in Cornwall, England as a convenient way for the tin miners to take a hearty lunch to work. Originally one end of the pasty contained meat and vegetables and the other end contained fruit or jam so that the miner could have both a main dish and dessert.
Nowadays, these pies can be found everywhere in England, including bakeries, pubs, restaurants, and grocery stores. Because they are eaten out of hand, they make great picnic food. Pasties are good eaten at room temperature or warmed, and are very versatile since the fillings can be varied according to taste.
For an authentic pasty, all of the filling ingredients must be raw. The meat should be chopped, and the vegetables sliced thinly.
Pasties are mentioned in the Harry Potter books, and they are a great make-ahead dish to serve at your Harry Potter party. If you’re planning to serve pasties with several other dishes, you may want to make them in a miniature size like in the picture below. Cut your dough rounds 4-5” in diameter.
Although the crust is very fast and easy to make in a food processor, you may substitute already rolled pie crusts (eight of them) and use a whole one for each pasty. You can either cut the dough into 8” rounds, or make your pasties a little bigger by using the entire crust for each. Traditionally, the crust is quite thick to hold the substantial ingredients.
8 large pasties
3 cups flour
1 1/2 sticks butter, cold and cut into bits
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
1 pound top sirloin steaks, cut into small dice
1 pound boneless pork loin, cut into small dice
3 carrots, thinly sliced
2 onions, quartered and thinly sliced
2 medium potato, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 cup swede (rutabaga), peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced (or substitute turnip)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dough: In food processor, combine flour, butter, and salt. Pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. Slowly pour into the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together. Place the dough onto a floured board and divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into an 8" circle.
Filling: Combine all filling ingredients and mix well.
Assembly: Place about a cup of filling on half of each round. Moisten the edges and fold the unfilled half over the filling to enclose it. Pinch the edges together to seal them, and crimp them decoratively with a fork or flute them. Transfer the pastries to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cut several slits in the top. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and put one teaspoon of butter through a slit in each pasty; return to the oven and continue baking about 30 minutes more or until browned. Remove from oven, cover with a damp tea towel, and cool for 15 minutes.
The pasties can be wrapped and frozen for up to two months.