Preparing and tasting foods that are popular in another country is a wonderful way to learn about that country's culture. From the types of ingredients common in the area to the methods of preparation used, foods are full of insights and teachable moments about what life is, or might have been like, in another are of the world.
As part of our virtual vacation to the United Kingdom, we prepared Cornish Pasties. A., age 8, was able to prepare the majority of the recipe on his own, and the final product was a hit with both the adults and the kids.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups butter
1 tsp salt
8 oz diced chuck steak or ground beef
1 potato, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup of peas (optional)
1/4 cup water (if desired, dissolve a beef bouillon cube in the water)
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the Dough
1. Add flour, salt and chilled cubed butter to food processor. Pulse until the mixture looks like fine cornmeal.
2. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of water, and mix with a rubber spatula until the dough sticks together. If dough appears too dry, add extra water one tablespoon at a time until a smooth consistency is reached.
3. Divide dough in two, and wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or for up to 3 days.
Prepare the Filling: (note, traditionally the filling is not precooked, but we prefer to soften the vegetables and brown the meat before preparing the pasties)
1. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, and spray with cooking spray. Add onions, and fry until just golden. Add beef to onion mixture, and cook until browned.
2. Add carrots, potato, rutabaga, peas (if using), water or broth, and seasonings to pan. Cook for approximately 10 minutes.
3. Transfer filling to a bowl, and allow to cool slightly.
Prepare the pasties:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove one package of dough out of the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, rough the dough out to 1/8 thickness.
2. Use a cookie cutter or large glass to cut dough into 6 inch circles.
3. Add approximately 1/3 cup of filling to center of each circle. Fold dough over and crimp the edges closed with a fork to seal. Prick the top of the pasty a few times with the tines of the fork, or use a knife to add a few slits to the top so that steam can escape.
4. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
5. Transfer pasties to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
6. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees, and cook pasties for an additional hour, or until golden brown.
7. Remove pasties from the oven, and allow to cool for several minutes before eating. Enjoy!