College Cookbook: Cornish pasties for the busy student

In Alaska, I’ve seen three places that sell pasties: A Pie Stop, Talkeetna Roadhouse and Butcher Block 9. Pasties were a staple food in my house growing up. My great-grandfather brought the recipe for Cornish pasties back to America with him, after his mission in England. We’ve been eating them ever since. They definitely weren’t my favorite as a kid, but as an adult, I have come to appreciate the accessibility and freedom a pasty can give. It’s handheld, you can eat it on the go and you can fill it with whatever your heart desires. Talkeetna Roadhouse has a pasty filled with wild rice and smoked salmon that I find myself dreaming about.

Cornish pasties were created to be easy and convenient. Wives of coal miners in Cornwall, England would make pasties and freeze them. They’d give them to their husbands to wrap up and stick in their pockets. As lunchtime came around, their meal was thawed and ready to eat. Some women would even fill half with a savory meat filling and half with a sweet filling. Students could learn from these Cornish coal miners, as freezer meals make for a quick and easy dinner.

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Cornish pasties (pronounced “pass-tees”) are a hand held pastry filled with savory or sweet fillings. They are easily frozen after cooking, making them an easy meal for coal miners and college students alike. Photo credit: David Johnson

Ingredients

  • 1 pie crust, either store-bought or your favorite recipe
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup potato, diced
  • 1 parsnip, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 pound of ground beef
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a skillet, melt the butter and the onion. Cook for about five minutes, or until soft. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, parsnip, potato and thyme, and mix together. Finish by seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Roll out the pie crust until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut into four circles. Stenciling a circle using the lip of a bowl will make this easier. The circles should be about 5 inches across.
  5. Fill each pastry circle with a 1/3 cup scoop of meat filling. Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg and fold in half, encasing the filling. Seal the pastry by pressing down the edges with a fork.
  6. Place each pasty on a baking sheet and brush the tops of each with the beaten egg.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the pastry has browned and the beef is cooked through.