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Do You Know Your Pasties From Your Pies?

Thursday, Jul 17, 2014

The Cornish pasty has become a globally recognised foodstuff enjoyed the world over. It is a highly profitable enterprise, with around 120 million pasties made per year, creating a £300 million turnover.

But it wasn’t always so, as the beloved pasty has humble origins. References first appear in the 13th century, and by the 1800s the pasty was firmly established as part of Cornwall’s identity. It was the staple diet of workers across the county, and miners in particular found the pasty a convenient and fulfilling lunch that would see them through the long hours underground.

It is now an important part of Cornish cuisine, something which was officially recognised in 2011 when the pasty was given Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) by the European Union. This means that only pasties made in Cornwall and made with the traditional recipe and legally be called a ‘Cornish pasty’.

But how do you define a genuine Cornish pasty? The Cornish Pasty Association explains all:

“A genuine Cornish pasty has a distinctive ‘D’ shape and is crimped on one side. The texture of the filling for the pasty is chunky, made up of uncooked mince or roughly cut chunks of beef (not less than 12.5%), swede, potato and onion and a light peppery seasoning.

“The pastry casing is golden in colour, savoury, glazed with milk or egg and robust enough to retain its shape throughout the cooking and cooling process without splitting or cracking. The whole pasty is slow-baked to ensure that flavours from the raw ingredients are maximised. No flavourings or additives must be used. And, perhaps most importantly, it must also be made in Cornwall.”

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