December 2, 2011

Tasty Little Pasty

Cornish Pasty is a delicious treat, full of steaming curried chicken or winter veg. We are lucky as there is a genuine pasty shop in the strangely charming ally off our main street. It is a respectable establishment with a Union Jack on the façade and gleaming wood. Pasty is just the thing on a Friday night when you don’t feel like pizza or cooking.

Behold. Though the photo does not do pasty justice (the flaky crust and steamy aroma are heavenly!).

Cornish Pasty from Pure Pasty in Vienna
My mind wondered, as it often does, and I am convinced that with the right recipe I can create pasties in my own kitchen. Though I am still searching for the right recipe to try (if you have one, do be so dear and send it my way), I learned some fascinating pasty facts along the way.

For one, humble pasty now has a Protected Geographical Indication status. Yes, as of this year only a pasty that originates in Cornwall and following traditional recipe can in fact be called Cornish. And Cornish pasty is in good company – other foods holding such European distinction are Gorgonzola, Parmesan-Reggiano, Cornish clotted cream, and Arbroath Smokies (Smokies I will have to learn more about!).  It is fitting as even Shakespeare is said to have referenced the very pasty more than once. 


Cornwall by all accounts is a charming seaside place.  Falmouth Docks photo by Andy Roberts from East London.
But pasty is not fancy, miners often took pasties with them since they were easy to reheat underground.  A true Cornish pasty is shaped like letter D and crimped on the side (NEVER on top). According to the authorities on the subject (Cornish Pasty Association) the filling must be “hunky, made up of uncooked minced or roughly cut chunks of beef (not less than 12.5%), swede, potato, and onion with a light seasoning. The pastry casing is golden in colour, savoury, glazed with milk or egg and robust enough to retain its shape throughout the cooking and cooling process without splitting or cracking." Chew on that or better yet go get yourself a wonderful little Cornish-style pasty!


  1. I love the pasty place in Vienna! I don't have a recipe to send, but would be an eager and willing taste tester if you come across any!

  2. Maybe that's a January project! I will try to find a recipe without lard!



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