michel roux’s cornish pasties
I’m well aware that I’ve been opening every other post with some comment on the British weather, but seriously how schizophrenic has it been? After a blazing start to the week the sunny spells are now sporadically interrupted by sudden downpours and overcast skies, making meal times a bit of a conundrum. Shall we have something fresh and zesty, or warm and hearty? It’s by no means stew weather but with it so dreary outside a salad just doesn’t seem right. These Cornish Pasties from Roux’s Pastry are just the ticket – satisfying parcels of beef, potatoes and suede, made lighter by the inspired replacement of pâte brisé for the stodgier traditional lard-based pastry. Eat straight from the oven (watch those fingers!) or leave to cool, then wrap ‘em up to tote along to a picnic when the sun’s properly out again. Either way, they are YUM.
450g (1lb) braising beef, cut into 1.5cm cubes
450g (1lb) pâte brisé (recipe below)
1 potato (180g/6.3oz), cut into 5mm dice
1 swede (180g/6.3oz), cut into 5mm dice
1 onion (180g/6.3oz), thinly sliced
300ml (1 1/4 cup) beef stock
3 tbsp groundnut oil
eggwash (1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp water)
freshly ground black pepper
First make the filling. Heat the oil in a deep pan over a high heat and sear the beef, turning the pieces to brown all over. Pour away the fat, then add the stock and simmer gently for an hour until meat is tender and most of the stock has evaporated.
Tip the contents of pan into a bowl and leave to cool.
In another pan cook the diced vegetables in a little salted water for about 10 minutes, or until just tender. Leave to cool in the water, then drain and add to the cooked beef. The mixture should be moist (if it’s dry, add a couple tbsp of cooking water). Cover and pop in the fridge to chill for a few hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F).
To make the pasties, roll out the pastry to 2-3mm thickness. Use a 14cm cutter or plate as a guide and cut out 6 circles (you can also use a smaller circular template to yield smaller, and more pasties).
Spoon the filling into an oval in the centre of each pastry disc then brush the sides with eggwash, fold in half and pinch firmly all along the edge to seal with your fingers. Place on a baking tray and brush the tops with more eggwash. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Bake the pastries in the preheated oven for 25 minutes until nice and golden.
makes about 450g (1lb)
150g (5.3oz) unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
250g (1 cup) plain flour
a pinch of sugar
1 tsp fine salt
1 tbsp cold milk
Heap the flour on a work surface. Make a well in the the flour and place in the butter, salt, sugar and egg. Use your fingertips to mix and cream the ingredients together.
Slowly draw in the flour into the the centre, working the dough delicately until it has a grainy texture.
Add the milk and incorporate gently until it all begins to hold together.
Using the palm of your hand, work the dough by pushing it away from you, 4 or 5 times until smooth. Roll into a ball, then cling film and refrigerate until ready to use.
It will keep in an airtight container for us to a week in the fridge (or up to 3 months in the freezer).