Introduction: Gluten Free Traditional Cornish Pasties
Gluten Free pastry is notoriously difficult to make due to the lack of elasticity normally provided by gluten. The sheer cost of pre-made gluten free produce from the local supermarket spurred me on to make this recipe.
After many failed attempts, here is a recipe for gluten free traditional Cornish pasties; the pastry for which can be used for most pastry recipes.
This recipe will make five to six good sized pasties.
Step 1: Ingredients
Ingredients for the pastry
- 500g gluten free plain flour
- 250g unsalted butter (chilled and cubed)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp gluten free Xanthum Gum or alternative binding agent
- 100ml Creme Fraiche (or 2 egg yolks)
- cold water
Ingredients for the filling
- 3 medium sized potatoes
- half of a small swede
- 1 medium onion
- 250g-300g of beef steak
- salt and ground black pepper
- unsalted butter
- gluten free plain flour
- 1 egg, beaten, for the glazing and sealing
Step 2: Making the Pastry
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the Xanthum Gum and salt. It's important to mix this well before continuing.
Rub in all of the butter with the tips of your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Some gluten free flours tend to be quite fine, so you may need to add a little more flour when reducing to breadcrumbs.
Using a fork, mix in the creme fraiche and then start adding cold water 1 tbsp at a time until a nice dough starts to form. Continue to mix using your hands, turning the dough into itself to ensure a nice blend. You don't want this to be too sticky - add a little more flour if it sticks to the bowl or your hands.
Now, take the dough and place it into a plastic container with a sealed lid. Place this into the fridge for at least one hour. It's important to note that the dough has to cool, and be kept cool, whilst making the pasties. As soon as the temperature rises it becomes sticky and harder to handle. Normally you'd wrap the dough in cling-film or similar, but having it in a container means that we can tear off enough dough to make one pasty - then come back to the fridge for the next - thus keeping the dough nice and cool.
Step 3: Preparing the Filling
The filling couldn't be simpler. There's no pre-cooking or messing with herbs and spices here!
Dice the potato and swede and place into a bowl. Finely chop the onion and add along with a nice helping of black pepper and a pinch or two of salt. Mix well.
In a separate bowl add two tablespoons of gluten free plain flour and mix with some salt and pepper. Add in the beef and mix well.
Step 4: Making a Pasty
Before starting, decide on the size of pasty you want to make. What you're after is a nice D-shape to the pasty so you'll want a round plate where the half moon of the plate will be the eventual size of the pasty.
Lightly grease a baking tray and pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.
Flour the worksurface well and take out a handful of dough from the fridge. Place the dough onto the surface and roll out until it's just larger than the plate you'll be using. You don't want this to be too thin - too thin and it'll tear and the ingredients will poke through. My kids prefer a nice bite to the crust so we aim for 4-5mm thickness.
Put the plate onto the rolled out dough and cut to make a nice round. Keep the remaining dough to one side. Using a large knife, carefully lift and remove from the worksurface and place onto a floured plate.
Brush around the edge of the base using the egg mix - this helps to "glue" the pasty together. Now place some of the vegetable mix onto one half of the pasty (leaving a gap at the edge). Then add some meat on top followed by a few small pieces of butter if desired.
Carefully lift the other half of the base over the first filled half. Note that this pastry does not stretch - it tears. Therefore if the two sides won't meet then remove a little filling until they do. Finally, close the two halves by pressing down with the finger followed by working around with a fork.
Lastly, make steam holes in the top using a fork and then brush the whole pasty with the egg wash. Place onto the baking tray.
Repeat until all of the pastry dough has been used up.
Any remaining dough from the above can now be worked together to make one final pasty - which could be a little smaller than the others but you don't want it to go to waste! Alternatively, mix some grated mature cheese into this and roll out - then cut into strips and bake for some awesome cheese straws! :)
Step 5: Time to Bake!
The pasties can now be placed into the oven for 40 minutes, or a little longer for a crispier and more golden crust.
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack - or straight onto a plate if you can't wait! :)
These pasties are delicious hot or cold and will freeze well, so it's worth doing a few and keeping some aside for a day out!
Why not try different fillings? Lamb and mint work amazingly well - or even apple and cinnamon with some custard?
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Do you have a suggestion for an alternative to xanthium gum to use as a binding source?
I've recently started using "Isabel's Gluten Free Baking Fix". Seems to be working better than Xanthum Gum too. http://isabelsfreefrom.co.uk/products/gluten-free-baking-fix/ I believe the main ingredient in is tapioca starch.
What brand and description of flour did you use?
I used Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour although have had the same success with a variety of brands.