Monday, October 18, 2010

Poldark and Pasties: Cinematic and Culinary Cornwall

Today, it finally feels as though the weather has changed--the air is cool, the lawn is covered in orange leaves and it's fifteen 'til five and gray and dreary and wonderful. I'm absolutely delighted. The best things happen in autumn and winter.

One of those things is curling up and watching a BBC miniseries, like Poldark.  Made in 1975, Poldark is the story of a man (Ross Poldark) who returns from fighting in the American Revolution to discover that his estate in Cornwall has gone to rack and ruin.  I couldn't wait for each disc to arrive and I usually watched all the episodes on a single disc the day it arrived from Netflix.  Yes, it's soapy and it was obviously taped rather than filmed, but Poldark is an entertaining and enjoyable 821 minutes (and it moves a lot faster than The Pallisers).  Note: this is only a review of series 1.  Series 2 comes out on DVD next Tuesday, so I haven't seen it yet!

While you're devoting almost 14 hours of your life to Poldark, you might get hungry.  How about a Cornish pasty?

Download a PDF of this recipe here.


Makes 8

Shortcrust Pastry x 1.5 (go ahead and make a double batch...stay tuned) (recipe here or download here)
1 lb steak (a cheap cut), trimmed of fat and cut into small pieces (1/2"x1/2")
1/2 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1/4 lb rutabaga or turnip, peeled and cut into smaller-than-1/2" cubes
1 medium onion, diced
mixture of dried thyme, marjoram, savoury and rosemary (or use Herbes de Provence)
salt and pepper

Divide the pastry into 8 individual discs and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a mixing bowl, combine the steak, potatoes, rutabaga, onion, herbs and salt and pepper.  Stir to combine and set aside.

Roll out each disc of pastry to about 1/8" thickness.  Place 1/8 of steak mixture in the middle of the pastry round, bring two ends of the circle together, seal and flute the edges.  Place on a baking sheet and keep in the refrigerator until all of the pasties are prepared.  Repeat for the remaining seven pasties.  You'll need two baking sheets.

Bake pasties for 20 minutes at 425, then turn the heat down to 350 and bake another 45 minutes.  Cover the pasties with tin foil if they start to get too brown.

Adapted from Paul Richardson's Cornucopia: A Gastronomic Tour of BritainFavourite Dorset Recipes and Tea & Sympathy.

And now, an idea for the leftover 1/2 recipe of shortcrust pastry...

Yes, you most certainly are allowed to make a one-crust pie with it.  May I suggest my Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie; Artichoke, Bacon and Cheddar Quiche or Blackberry-and-Apple Pie?

However, if you'd like something new, I have just made my first batch of Jam Tarts (adapted from The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket).

There's no recipe, just a few instructions.  Each batch of shortcrust pastry will make approximately 32 tarts, but you can use however much dough you have.  (The 1/2 batch of dough you have left over from the pasties will make 16 tarts in a standard-sized muffin tin.)

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Roll the pastry dough out to 1/8" thickness.
  • Cut out rounds of pastry with a 3 1/4" diameter circle cookie cutter.
  • Place rounds in the wells of a standard muffin tin.
  • Fill each tart with 1 teaspoon jam (any kind, I happened to have strawberry preserves).
  • Bake 12-15 minutes, or until pastry has browned slightly.
  • Cool on a wire rack.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, favorite! Love your pictures and info about the Poldarks. I haven't seen that one. Love you!


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