We had half a pound of ground beef left over in the fridge, so I decided to make this recipe for Cornish Pasties. I had a lamb-and-mint pasty from a stand at Covent Garden two summers ago, and I still think back fondly on the experience -- warm, flaky crust encasing a wonderfully savory filling. I figured I wasn't going to work miracles my first try, but I did want to give it a shot.

The pastry dough came together very easily, and smelled wonderful due to the bits of dried sage that were thrown in. My version was sadly lacking in potatoes; we had one lone Yukon Gold in the pantry, and it turned out to have a bad spot in the middle. I cut around it, but didn't quite manage to salvage a full portion of potato for the filling. The beef would just have to compensate.

My biggest problem actually turned out to be finding a five-inch round plate to use as a pasty stencil. K finally dug up a bowl that would serve, after I measured and discarded almost every other plate or bowl in the house. The specified 1/3 cup of filling per pasty was pure fantasy; ours wouldn't close up around that much filling and we had to make them smaller. K made a tasty fried rice with the leftover filling, so it didn't go to waste.

The pasties turned out nicely, pale gold and flaky on the outside, hot and steamy inside. I may have to play with the flavorings a little though; the version as given didn't quite work for me. Instead of thyme-mustard-Worcestershire, I'd probably start with a bit of soy sauce and curry, and go on from there. We'll see.

I was very proud of my pastry dough, but K pointed out that we'd save quite a lot of time by buying pre-made pie dough. I didn't like the suggestion at first (I want to be badass enough to make my own pie dough!) but he's right; if we're pressed for time it would be a lot faster to just get some dough out of the freezer and cut circles and make whatever variation on the theme of "dumpling" we're working on, than to go to all the trouble of getting the dough together, letting it chill before using, and rolling it out. It's good to be practical.


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July 2011

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