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Cornish Pastry

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A pasty, sometimes known as a pastie or British pasty in the United States, is a filled pastry case, associated in particular with Cornwall in Great Britain. It is made by placing the uncooked filling on a flat pastry circle, and folding it to wrap the filling, crimping the edge to form a seal. The result is a raised semicircular package.

The traditional Cornish pasty, which has Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in Europe, is filled with beef, sliced or diced potato, swede (also known as a yellow turnip) and onion, seasoned with salt and pepper, and is baked. Today, the pasty is the food most associated with Cornwall, regarded as its national dish, and accounts for 6% of the Cornish food economy. Pasties with many different fillings are made; some shops specialise in selling all sorts of pasties.

The pasty is regarded as the national dish of Cornwall. Following a nine year campaign by the Cornish Pasty Association, the trade organisation of about 50 pasty makers based in Cornwall, the name "Cornish Pasty" was awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status by the European Commission on 20 July 2011. According to the PGI status a Cornish Pasty should be shaped like a ‘D’ and crimped on one side, not on the top. Its ingredients should include uncooked beef, swede (called turnip in Cornwall), potato and onion, with a light seasoning of salt and pepper, keeping a chunky texture. The pastry should be golden and retain its shape when cooked and cooled. The PGI status also means that Cornish Pasties must be prepared in Cornwall. They do not have to be baked in Cornwall, nor do the ingredients have to come from the county, though the Cornish Pasty Association noted that there are strong links between pasty production and local suppliers of the ingredients. Packaging for pasties which conform to the requirements will be stamped with an authentication logo.

Recipes and ingredients

The recipe for a Cornish pasty, as defined by its protected status, includes diced or minced beef, onion, potato and swede in rough chunks along with some "light peppery" seasoning. The cut of beef used is generally skirt steak. Due to a local colloquialism, swede can be referred to and advertised as turnip whilst in a pasty, but only swede may appear in a pasty. Pasty ingredients are usually seasoned with salt and pepper, depending on individual taste. The use of carrot in a traditional Cornish pasty is regarded as a "no-no", though it does appear regularly in recipes.

The type of pastry used is not defined, as long as it is golden in colour and will not crack during the cooking or cooling, although modern pasties almost always use a short crust pastry. There is a humorous belief that the pastry on a good pasty should be strong enough to withstand a drop down a mine shaft, and indeed the barley flour that was usually used does make hard dense pastry.

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References

Pasty, www.wikipedia.org

What is a genuine cornish pasty?, www.cornishpastyassociation.co.uk

Cornish pasty, www.bbc.co.uk