Last night, while Will was working late and the kids were up in bed (well, in their rooms at least) I realized that, although I had fed the kids, I had neglected to feed myself, and with Will bound to come home starving after a marathon call to clients in Australia, I did what any wife would do on a Virginia June evening. I made Cornish Pasties. Ok, so no one else in Virginia was probably making pasties at eight thirty at night in the middle of June. But the truth is, it has poured down rain all day and was actually a little cold, or maybe my AC was just on too high, either way, pasties sounded just the thing for a late night dinner with an even later night meal for Will.
The last time I had Cornish pasties I was, well, I was in Cornwall, and I wasn't even old enough for a driving permit much less my own stove, so this was my first go round with the recipe. And I can't really claim that they were authentic since I used sweet potato instead of regular potato, but whose counting?
For the dough I turned to my new best friend Joe's Pastry (really, really great place for anything pastry related) where I had noticed on one of my earlier visits that he had not one but two different versions of dough for these little darlings. I chose this one, which I'm not going to repeat here since he does such a great job of explaining.
After pulling together the dough, which was surprisingly fast, I shredded some cabbage, thinly sliced a sweet potato and chopped half an onion and four slices of breakfast steak, a relatively cheap cut that we buy regularly from our butcher since it cooks quickly and is pretty versatile.
Seasoning each layer, I piled the fillings in and sealed them closed. And as a side note, after my first two I realized that I could use a plate to cut perfect circles for a more attractive finished product. Of course that mean slightly less yummy buttery crust to nibble when they were fresh from the oven. The dough recipe is supposed to make five pasties but I chose to make four generous ones, two for dinner, two for the freezer.
The end result was delicious, light but filling and just right for a late night dinner. The crust, which is really very close to a pie crust, was flaky without being crumbly and I think I've realized that my aversion to using shortening is the reason I never like my own pie crusts. Since I had shortening on hand, which I normally don't, I went with the half butter, half shortening proportion the recipe called for and now I may have to try the pasty dough as a pie crust next time I make quiche. Or maybe I'll just be normal and use shortening in pie crust at last.
I do think that next time I'll experiment with the crust. Much as I liked it, I remember pasties having a dense and slightly chewy crust to them. That may have just been the pasties I ate, or my faulty memory, but even if that's the case, I like the idea of a chewy versus flaky hand pie, so we'll see how that goes.
I had planned to have another for lunch but since today is crazy humid and hot, it didn't seem quite as appealing as a big glass of iced tea and a cold sandwich. Ah well, it'll be there for another day...