Anger Burger

Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain – Early Autumn Cornish Pasties

Posted by Sunday on Oct 12, 2012 at 5:35 am

I asked Mike the Viking what item he wanted to cook from Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain, and he spent about five seconds flipping through maybe six or seven pages before slamming his massive, grizzled, hideous finger down onto the page and snarled “PASTIES.”

I glanced over his shoulder and was all, nope.  There was something off about it, and I’ll get to that in a minute, but before I said anything to him and as I looked up at him, I realized I should just let it happen.  Let this be a lesson to you: Sunday is the one that knows how to make meatpies.  Not Jamie Oliver.  Not Mike the Viking.  Sunday.

Problem the first: I cannot find a fucking skirt steak to save my life.  I mean, I tried two stores and gave up and used a flat iron steak, which is my go-to steak.  I even researched Cornish pasties online to see what other meat works, and all of them were like “Guuurl, you have to use skirt steak.”  Whatever.  But shit!  I am trying to follow my personal rule of making the recipe exactly as printed for an accurate review, but in this instance it is not happening.

So the thing is that the filling is not cooked first.  My eyes zeroed in on this and my hands started twitching in a feeble shadow effort to saute the onions at the very goddamn least, but no.  We are not doing that this time.  We are FOLLOWING THE FUCKING RECIPE.  I make the pastry, which has no resting time and no instructions to keep cold, and here is my now second violation of the Prime Directive: I put the pastry dough into the fridge while I do other stuff.

This proportion looks terrible.  It is all watery vegetables and maybe 10% meat bits, and an entire raw onion that the Viking will almost certainly beat me for.  And that is a gargantuan pile of filling!  I laughed aloud at the epic heap and how it was supposed to become only six pasties.

I did not take photos of rolling the dough into six individual rounds, nor folding those rounds over atop the TRULY HILARIOUS AND BY HILARIOUS I MEAN GENUINELY FRUSTRATING mounds of filling.  They weigh a pound each, easy.  I crowded them onto one tray because despite loving our dear oven Vader, he is not great at baking two trays of anything at once.  I did not want to handle the pastry hardly at all since it is literally almost 50% butter, so the crimped edges are very sloppy.  I didn’t give a shit.  This was going to be a miserable failure that for some reason I found satisfying, because I don’t know why.  Because any fool can look at those and deduce that nothing good will come of it.  There aren’t even vents cut into them.

I need to let out a very long sigh here.  Or better yet, let’s get disapproving Sunday back:

Because these are fucking excellent.  The pastry is crisp and thin and flaky and shattery and salty and rich.  The filling, which simply defies all logic, is soft and so very flavorful, just a masterpiece of both satisfying comfort and understatement.  It should not taste as good as it does, but it does.

This is clearly a Master Recipe, in the sense that my mind went breakneck to the next version: curry chicken thighs with peas and cauliflower.  Lamb with parsnips, carrots and mint.

We tried another one almost an hour later, still warm but closer to room temperature, and it was doubly as good as the first one.  They’d settled and mellowed and evened out even more, and I didn’t make it out of the kitchen to eat my half, I stood over the sink and let the waterfall of pastry shards rain down.

Jamie Oliver, you bastard.

Early Autumn Cornish Pasties
from Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain, paraphrased but otherwise unchanged by Anger Burger

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
8oz (two sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup ice water

12oz skirt steak (I used flat iron)
1 white onion, chopped
1 white potato, peeled and chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
7oz butternut squash, peeled and chopped (probably just the neck of the squash)
1/4 fresh whole grated nutmeg
2 big springs fresh thyme
1 big sprig fresh rosemary
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
olive oil

1 beaten egg

  • Begin by making the pastry.  In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt together, and using your thumbs and forefingers, rub the cubes of butter together quickly in the flour until all the pieces are broken down.  Add the ice water and quickly mix it up and press the dough together into a big wad.  Do not overwork the dough.  Add a splash more water if there is a lot of dry flour in the bottom of the bowl still.  Transfer the dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap and use the wrap to form the dough into a compact patty.  Place in fridge.
  • Cut the steak and veggies all to 1/3 inch pieces.  In a large bowl, toss the steak and veggies with the nutmeg, herbs, salt, pepper and a few glugs of olive oil.  Set aside.
  • Heat oven to 400°.  Line one or two baking sheets with parchment.
  • Cut the pastry into six equal portions for big giant pasties, and 12 portions for smaller ones.  On a flour-dusted surface, roll the dough out to the thickness of a quarter, about 8″ for large portions and 4″ for small ones.  Heap the middle of the pastry rounds with a lot of filling – if you don’t mind dirtying a thousand dishes, it is actually helpful to pre-proportion the filling so you get an idea of how much goes in each pasty, just use measuring cups to portion it out as evenly as possible.  It will be a struggle to get the dough over the pile of filling, but you must persevere.  Seal the edges first by folding them up around the pasty, then by pressing the edges with a fork.  Transfer to the baking sheet (this is easiest done by forming the pasty on a sheet of plastic wrap, then turning the whole thing upside down in one hand, peeling the plastic wrap off the bottom and dropping the pastry onto the baking sheet) and brush with beaten egg.  Bake 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
October 12th, 2012 | Make It So, True Story

15 Responses to Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain – Early Autumn Cornish Pasties

  1. KamiKaze says:

    Those pasties look amazing! I can see how you were hesitant about the process, I know I would be. No directions for resting the dough? No browning the meat? Jeez, I would probably break those rules, but I am glad it turned out great. I think I might have to try this too once I get paid again, especially if it is anything like Jamaican pasties–those were great if you like spicy. They put curry in the dough and in the filling!

    Also, have you tried citron tea yet? It is essentially marmalade that the Korean’s put in hot water to make this amazing citrusy tea. They come in other flavors too, like ginger. You should look it up if you ever hit an Asian market. Plus, it isn’t too bad on toast.

    • Sunday says:

      I have never heard of citron tea, and now I am totally interested. We have a decent Korean grocery in town here, I am going to go look for the it this weekend.

      • cassie says:

        second on the citron tea. put a big scoop of the marmalade in a mug and pour hot water over it. it doesn’t make any sense but damn, it is good.

  2. KF says:

    I was nodding reading this–my mom taught me how to make pasties years ago, but the raw filling STILL makes me nervous to this day.

    You can freeze those puppies after forming them (on the tray, then wrap in foil) and before cooking them and they’ll keep for a blustery day for at least 6 months.

    • Sunday says:

      You can freeeeze them! Jesus why didn’t that occur to me. Not that Mike minded having to eat six pasties in four days, but still. Thanks for telling me this.

      • KF says:

        Hahahahahaha. You’re welcome–freezing didn’t occur to me until my mom made a pile of them for us when I had our second kid. In the morning I’d pull however many we wanted for dinner, put them on a tray in the fridge to thaw a bit, and then pop them in the oven when I got home from work.

        On the other hand, we like to eat them 6 at a time too . . .

  3. Elsa says:

    Wha? I was on tenterhooks all the way through, waiting for the inevitable mess and uncertain whether I felt smug (on your behalf) or cross (on your behalf).

    But they do look delicious, so I GRUDGINGLY SUPPOSE that’s good. Right?

  4. Erin says:

    Wait, they’re FREEZABLE!?! My husband is going to freaking fall in love with me all over again when I make these for him. My son, too, come to think of it. Now I really want to read Jamie Oliver’s new book.

  5. Carla says:

    I’m so glad you’re back! I did love the guest posts by MTV but, lets face it, Anger Burger isn’t Anger Burger without Sunday :)

  6. Melody says:

    I’m joining in the chorus. SO GLAD YOU’RE BACK. Even though Mike was truly, and equally, entertaining. If you ever stop writing for real, my boyfriend Martin and I will probably fall into some conjoined, angsty depression and end up in some swedish, sociorealistic, Grey Gardens-y situation where we yell and sing incoherently at each other in some dreary room that smells like cat urine.
    So…uh… keep writing! Good work! Party on! Stay black!

  7. Brook says:

    Those look so much better than the pasties I’ve stubbornly kept trying over the years. The filling for those ones has always reminded me of cat food.

  8. Heather says:

    Another name for skirt steak is flank steak – so it may be easier to find with another name, but it’s the same thing. I am making these this weekend. Thanks for the info.

  9. Heather says:

    Another name for skirt steak is flank steak – so it may be easier to find under that name, but it’s the same thing. I am making these this weekend. Thanks for the info.

  10. Raine says:

    Empanadas! That’s what we call them over here in the Philippines and we have savoury as well as sweet versions. Ohhh I am craving for one right now!

  11. Glenny says:

    I just love your pasties. Last winter I started making them and selling them in my lunchbar. They flew out the door. I live in New Zealand and we have alot of English people here now, but I tell you the common Kiwi variety love them too. In NZ what we call a Cornish Pastie is disgusting, mince, sausage meat and a few mixed vegetable, yuk. But I’m trying to teach them. I will soon be back to making 20 a day, that’s alot, it isn’t too cold were I live.

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