First, I must declare that everything should be baked in a flaky crust. I am a huge fan of pie crust. Especially one that encloses a moist, delicious filling. On this road trip, I couldn’t resist ordering a flaky item for my meal daily. And, after a few days of consuming heavy savory pies, my stomach hated me. Lesson learned.
From pies, tarts and pasties, there is so much to discuss. But, I’ll start off with the portable flakiness known as the pasty.
The pasty is a D-shaped baked pastry filled with meat and vegetables and typically associated with Cornwall – the south-western area of England. A traditional pasty is made with beef, potato, turnip, salt and pepper.
According to the history, pasties were a way for Cornish miners to take a energy-packed meal down to the dark mines. Its size and shape made it easy to carry and the crust was durable enough to withstand the trip. The distinctive crimped edge was formed to use as a handle for holding the pasty, then discarded. This was to avoid ingesting any arsenic that may have been on hands that were mining all day.
Pasties have been mentioned throughout British history; from Shakespeare to Jane Seymour. (One of Henry VIII’s wives, not the James Bond/Dr.Quinn actress. But that doesn’t mean the actress hasn’t mentioned or eaten the food at some point. But this I don’t know and I digress.)
Over the years, the popular ‘pocket’ meal has spread throughout England and can be found in pasty shops, bakeries and pubs all over. Modern varieties include fillings like chicken & leek, thai chicken or vegetable curry.
I personally didn’t make it to Cornwall this time around, but I happened upon pasties in the Cotswolds and throughout my road trip. And, I fell in absolute love with them. Of course, I do plan to attempt making a pasty in my home kitchen – we’ll see what happens. To be continued.
FACT: So, I was initially pronouncing the word pasty as pay-stee, but then someone told me that that word meant something else. (I’ll let you look that up on your own.) The correct pronunciation for the flaky treat is peh-stee. Don’t make the same mistake. ha!