There are few dishes as quintessentially British as the humble pasty. Once the lunch of Cornish tin miners, the pasty has become an iconic favourite nationwide. These curried vegetable pasties are a twist on the classic, and perfect for vegetarians!
Whether you crimp the middle or the side, what you may not know is that the ‘crust’ was originally meant to be used as a handle to stop the miners getting their lunch dirty! Miners were often quite suspicious and so it was customary in many mines to throw one’s crust into the mine after you were finished eating to feed the faeries/pixies so that they would watch over the miners and protect them from collapses and other mining accidents.
Now, there is a reason I have not referred to these pasties as Cornish pasties and that is because they are not Cornish pasties. To be able to call these Cornish pasties they would need to have been made in Cornwall, using a traditional recipe. Why? Well, after much campaigning, the Cornish pasty was eventually granted protected geographical indication (PGI) status… and rightly so! That means that no pasty can be called a Cornish pasty unless it is just that… And that includes the gigantic pasties (the size of my head!) that we used to get when we were on holiday there! If there was one thing I could be sure of, it was that my Grandad would always want us to bring a giant pasty or two back from our summer holiday.
They weren’t always just filled with meat, though. The Cornish pasty was originally meant to be a full meal, divided in two, with a savoury side and a sweet side too! Whether it was apple, cherry, or some other seasonal fruit, one side of the traditional pasty was meant to be dessert! So, whilst these curried vegetable pasties aren’t sweet, they definitely tick the box for being different!
Curried Vegetable Pasties
For the pastry:
- 500 g plain flour
- 250 g butter salted
- 1 egg large
- 1-2 tbsp cold water (if required)
For the filling:
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 250 g sweet potato raw
- 1 carrot large
- 1 potato large
- 1 onion brown
- 1 tbsp curry powder medium/hot
- 1 tsp ras el hanout
- 1 tsp garlic dried
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 can chopped tomatoes (400g)
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
Let’s make pastry
- Preheat the oven to 200°C and line two baking sheets with grease-proof paper.
- In a mixing bowl, rub together the flour and butter until a fine breadcrumb is formed. Make a well in the centre.
- Beat the egg and add to the well in the centre of the breadcrumbs.
- Start bringing the pastry together slowly, kneading a little to help it combine. If the mixture is a bit short/crumbly, add enough of the cold water to just bring it together. Less is more here; if you add too much water, you will end up with a sticky dough that may end up tough.
- Finish by kneading the dough a couple of times to fully bring it together then cover with cling film and place in the fridge to chill whilst we make the filling.
Now for the filling
- First, dice each of the sweet potato, carrot and potato into approximately 1cm cubes.
- Heat the rapeseed oil on a medium-high heat in a large frying pan.
- Fry the onions until they start to brown before adding the diced vegetables and all of the spices.
- Add a can of tomatoes, the tomato puree. Use the tomato can to measure half a can of water and add this too.
- Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the sauce had reduced down to a thick, spoonable paste.
- Allow the filling to cool completely.
Time to fill and bake
- Divide the pastry into six equal pieces.
- Roll each piece of dough into an elongated circle (basically, an oval).
- Spoon enough filling into onto the pastry disc to fill one side of the disc whilst leaving a 3cm border around the edge.
- Brush a little water around the border before folding the top edge over to encase the filling.
- Push around the filling to stick the edges together and trim off any excess so a 3cm border remains.
- Crimp the edge in whatever way you like (so long as it seals the edge well!)
- Pierce the top of each pasty with a knife and place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.
- Brush with a little butter and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve hot or cold, with a side salad or some mango chutney.