Are any of you interested in genealogy? For years, I've been quite obsessive (though in spurts, I must add) about tracing our family tree. It's such an interesting insight to where an individual might have come from. Though I don't always believe blood is thicker than water, I do think that our ancestors leave footprints on our heart's desires. For instance, before I started digging around our family tree, I had always believed that most of my blood was German. My great grandparents on my father's side had come to the US from Germany during the second World War. They always talked about how proud they were to be German, and on my mother's side of the family there were some German roots as well. Well, with some digging, I discovered that most of my roots are in fact English. Over 75% of my ancestors crossed over to the US from England in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Quite a few of them were some of the first settlers in the 13 colonies, Connecticut being the most profound citing. I was shocked! As for my German grandparents... they were actually Polish, or so that's what the map says. The territory was often changing where they lived due to the war, but it had originated as Poland. So interesting! They're not alive now, but I am curious to see what they might say to that.
All of this information brings me to my one true love... Great Britain. It's a place that I've never visited but have always been fascinated with. All of my favorite things come from there. Television shows, movies, literature, fashion, food, etc. The history is so rich and interesting to me. My next winter project is to dig around and see if I have any ancestors from Scotland... though I'm probably just dreaming on that one.
While I was researching medieval recipes quite some time ago, I came across a recipe for Cornish Pasties. I had heard of pasties before (mostly due to Harry Potter), but when I saw that they involved crust, I was immediately out. Since then, I have now perfected my pie crust, and Cornish Pasties became a quick reality! And guess what... they were amazing. This is the perfect easy meal! Pasties are most associated with Cornwall but their origins are unclear. The earliest known mention of pasties in a cookbook is dated around the 14th century and even as early as the 13th century in a charter granted by Henry III. They are usually filled with meat, potatoes, turnips, and onions. Ready to try making some?
For the crust (Make this ahead of time!!!):
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 stick butter
- 3 tbsp ice water
For the filling:
- 3/4 lb chuck steak
- 2 russet potatoes
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- Fresh rosemary
- Fresh thyme
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp water
For the crust:
- Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Using a cheese grater, grate the butter into the flour mixture. With your fingers or a pastry blender, blend the butter and flour mixture until it comes together in pea sized amounts. Slowly add in the water, forming the dough together with your hands, until a dough forms. It should be slightly sticky, but not sticky enough that it clings to the sides of the bowl. Add more flour if necessary. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.
For the filling:
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Dice each of your filling ingredients, including the garlic. Mix all of them together in a large bowl, and sprinkle with fresh rosemary, thyme, and salt + pepper. Make sure everything is evenly coated. Pour in a bit of water to release the juices in the meat and vegetables. Let sit for a few minutes and then stir up a bit coating everything again.
- Roll our your dough and cut into 8" circles using the bottom of a plate or tupperware lid. Place your filling into the center of the circles. Brush the edges with water and fold in half to make a dumpling-like shape. Place your pasties onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the crusts with a beaten egg.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 335 and bake for another 40-45 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown.
- Eat warm and serve with your favorite soup!
Pasties were extremely popular in the 18th century for working men such as farmers and mine workers. They were the perfect all-in-one boxed lunch. There was no mess or fuss to be cleaned up or to have to carry. In short, my dad loved these the most out of all of us. I guess you can't beat a good man meal! I think this would have been perfect with a warm, creamy potato soup and some spiked apple cider (;