Monday, July 25, 2011

Cornish Pasties

Ms Lawson specifically insisted on using lard when making these pasties. She said, "...Cornish pasties are not fancy French baked goods meant to exude the flavour of expensive butter, and lard gives you the fluttery lightness you need." She's spot-on. Let's start with the pastry. It was light and almost biscuity. I expected pastry made from lard to be oilier but it wasn't at all. If anything, it was dry. I made them to be fat daddies as she recommended and you need light cold fingers to handle this pastry. But they held the filling in very well. For the filling, a tablespoon of lard was again recommended to cook the beef. I got some resistance while browning the diced beef and with the onions, potatoes and swede that followed after that, it was drying out. With the heat down, I seasoned the mix with mace, mustard, salt and pepper and let it slow cook for about 20 minutes. The filling didn't have much flavour except smelling annoyingly porky! I don't like that smell at all... I'm not sure if the British pigs are less porkier than ours to have lard used in both the pastry and the filling but I'd stick to using olive oil for my beef next time. So, to save the filling I added Worchesteshire sauce. That gave it the aroma I was looking for and some moisture. The pasties baked beautifully and we had it for dinner with a bowl of creamy mushroom soup. I didn't have time to cook some brown sauce to pour on the pasties and we found it too dry to eat it on its own. The kids even suggested that I add mushrooms in the filling. Aren't they smart? Mushrooms will produce some liquid when sauteed and that'll help moisten the dry filling. All in all, these pasties were too rusticly English countryside for me... J'aime goût de beurre chers (I like to taste expensive butter).

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