vegetarian cornish pasties

Turnips!

We got some beautiful little turnips from our CSA, so I decided to make vegetarian cornish pasties. I’ve made them in the past, and I keep tweaking the recipe a bit to add more flavor. Potatoes and crust are both very understated and comforting, but I add some sharper flavors. I add shallots, mixed with herbs and sweetened with balsamic; and turnips, of course; and gruyere cheese, which is pleasantly sharp and nutty. And I added some greens this time, because I love them. I tried to maintain the uncooked-filling rule, though, because it intrigues me.

Here’s Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie, by Belle and Sebastian. I have no idea what they mean by it (and I’m not sure they do, either!) but it fits this blog, if by pastie you mean savory pie (no, Tom Waits, not those kinds of pasties) and by bourgeois you mean thoroughly ordinary.
Belle and Sebastian – Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie

If you’d like to see how it is really done, watch this video. It’s of Kay Bolitho, who cooks at the Port Eliot estate in Cornwall. I love everything about this video! The kitchen is beautiful, and I love the strange little objects around and about. And I love her gentle, measured voice.
Making Pasties in Cornwall

I don’t actually have a recipe for this, it’s more of a process. You begin with a batch of pate brisee. I add about a teaspoon of white pepper to the flour, for extra kick and flavor.

Then you peel and chop very finely about 5 small turnips, 4 small potatoes, and greens of your choice. I used arugula, to go with the turnip-y pepperiness, but I think I might use baby spinach next time, if I have it. You want to end up with about 1 1/2 cups each potatoes, turnips and greens. Then you grate some cheese. Ideally I’d use gruyere, but that’s expensive and I didn’t have it, so I used sharp cheddar.

Take a lump of dough about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. Roll it out to be 7 or 8 inches wide. Top with potatoes, then turnips, then shallots, then greens, then cheese, then more potatoes and turnips. About 1 heaping tablespoon of each thing.

Pull the dough up around the sides. Seal and crimp. (watch the video to see how this is done – she’s an expert!) Brush with egg. Cook at 425 for about 15 minutes, and then reduce heat and cook at 350 for 25 minutes to half an hour. Till nicely brown and crispy. And that’s it!

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13 thoughts on “vegetarian cornish pasties

  1. I really like the look of the vegetarian cornish pasties very much, but they look quite difficult to make. Maybe if I am brave I will try them at the weekend when my boyfriend will visit.

    I will tell you about it after ! ! !

    • Hello Sakura! They do take a bit of time to make – mostly chopping vegetables! And sealing and crimping the dough can be hard, because I tend to poke holes in the crust, or it tears. But you can always seal it up with little scraps of crust. The thing is that they look pretty good when they’re cooked no matter what kind of mess you make of them!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Hey Claire ! ! !

        I made them ! ! !

        They came out OK and were very tasty but the pastry did not work as well as I hoped that it would be. It tasted OK but it just broke into peices really almost as you touched it….

        Ummmm…I am not sure why that was…..

        But it was fun and my boyfriend liked them very much (he said)

        Thanks for sharing ! ! !

      • Sakura! Thanks for trying the recipe. I’m glad it was tasty. I wonder what happened with the pastry. Maybe there’s some difference in the butter or flour there? Maybe I got the amounts wrong? Who knows!!

        Thanks for trying it and letting me know how it worked.

  2. They look yummy. My Cornish grandmother makes lovely pasties, I remember, in my meat eating days, sitting beside her on the counter whilst she put them together, the most tasty thing ever, much better than shop bought ones. The main problem I’ve found with veggie ones is that the pastry has no animal fat in it and so is less stretchy and the lack of meat makes keeping the filling moist enough a problem.

    Still experimenting, but I’ve found soaking the prepared potato in water before construction, adding a blob of solid vegetable fat instead of beef dripping before crimping, and slightly frying the onions can help.

    I was brought up with the only seasoning being a pinch of salt and plenty of fresh parsley, and the ingredients being potato, swede, carrot and onion so that’s what we do. Your filling looks great though and I’m rubbish at pastry, I really admire yours!

    • What a nice memory! There’s something about the process — even the amount of time it takes — that makes it seem like a ritual, which is partly what I like about it.

      Are you vegan? Because the butter in the dough does help it to be more stretchy, I think. (I’ve made dough just with olive oil, and it is a little harder to work with). I think the stretchiest dough of all has a bit of yeast in it, but it’s a completely different texture when it’s cooked.

      I tried making one just with potato, turnip (that’s swede, right?) and shallot, but I find myself adding a bit more flavor every time. Not too much, though-I like the simplicity of it.

      Thanks for commenting, Beth!

      • Thanks for posting, I am enjoying your blog. I’m not a vegan (I think I’d die without veggie cheese), so I could use butter, but I’ve found TRex or other solid vegetable fat works best for pastry. Trouble is my grandmother likes really thin pastry, so I can’t really replicate her pasties without animal ingredients. I think brown pastry works quite well.

        Turnip/swede – what my Dad calls a swede is the bigger one with orangey flesh, but they are quite a similar flavour. Have you got a Cornish connection in the family?

      • What’s brown pastry? I love hearing about different kinds of pastry!

        I don’t have a cornish connection in the family. I went to Cornwall once, and I remember it as being magically beautiful. I had a really nice week there. And I like Doc Martin!

  3. Hi Steen,
    Just popping over from t’Spill! I make pasties using a very simple bread dough – and a dash of olive oil works just fine for with and in that – and stuff them with whatever leftovers are going! On the rare occasion I make them completely ‘from scratch’ I fill them with cheese and onions (usually a mixture of grated Whatever’sInTheFridge with a blob of Philly-type stuff, the onions fried slow and sweet) or red lentil/ground hazelnut/mango chutney mash – great for picknicks, lunchboxes and post-gig teenage fan club feasts!

    P.S. How do you find the time and energy to blog on top of everything else?!

    • Hello, anonymous! Thanks for stopping by. I’d offer you a glass of wine but it’s only 10:30 here.

      Red lentil/hazelnut/mango chutney sounds delicious! I love sweet and savory mixed. I’d never thought of adding chutney. Hmmm…

      And I shouldn’t probably spend so much time on this, but it has been fun!

      • This is very strange…
        Here is debby(m), aka Anonymous above, and I immediately replied to my own comment so’s you’d know who it was – but there’s nothing to be seen, hmm….

        10.30 your time is 4.30 where I live (I think!) so yes, maybe we’d better wait a little bit before bringing out the wine glasses.

        Completely irrelevant to this thread: do you still use your old hotmail account?

  4. Hi Claire ! ! !

    I just put them in the oven ! ! ! The pastry was difficult but I think it will be OK. My boyfriend will arrive soon so hopefully he will be so hungry he will eat anything ! ! !

    I will tell you how they come out ! ! !

    I really love the recipes – I will definitely try more ! ! !

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