Posted 4 April 2018
Previously on this blog I've tried to tempt you with Cornish cream teas, so now for something savoury: the Cornish Pasty. Have you tried one? I mean, a real one? If your experience of a Cornish Pasty so far is something you bought in a hurry at a petrol station, please keep an open mind.
Stuart Lee wrote about this in The Observer recently, and he had a point. I think he was on tour and had been stranded in the West Country by that Beast from the East, so no wonder he was hungry. The pasty is great comfort food, but also perfect picnic fare as it's portable, light (definitely not stodgy or greasy) and nutritious. When I'm walking the South West Coast Path or the Roseland countryside I love to stop at a bakery in St Mawes to buy a pasty for lunch; and when you're hungry after watersports or swimming in the sea, what better snack is there?
Think shortcrust pastry. Think a nice chunky but tender filling of beef, swede (or turnip), onion and potato, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Do not think carrots, because there shouldn't be any. Now this is the original version; vegetarian options are available, and very good they are too. And a true Cornish pasty is D-shaped and crimped in all the right places - that is, along one side, but definitely not on top. No way.
As to whether a pasty should be eaten hot or cold, I was told long ago that cold was correct, but if you reheat your pasty do it in the oven (not the microwave) so the pastry stays crisp. The same person also assured me that the A in pasty is pronounced long, like past, rather than pasta or paste. I didn't get it then, but now I'm familiar with Cornish dialects.
Hungry yet? You know, there's every chance of finding a local bakery near your Roseland holiday cottage where you can try this Cornish speciality. I'll probably be in the queue with you!