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The Cornish Pasty

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The croust beetle

also known as 'that bleddy thing'

Keen readers will note mention of the 'Croust Beetle' in The Cornish Pasty web site - in Oggy Trelissick's learnings. The derivation of the word 'croust' be a mystery to many. Again, as with all these things to do with the Cornish pasty, the explanation is very simple. 'Croust' is a dialect word for 'crust'. The Cornish institution of 'croust-time' is the Cornish equivalent of the English 'tea-time'.

The difference is that in Cornwall it meant 'crust-time', in other words, 'drop your work and grab your crust', meaning the crust on your pasty. This is where the 'roll' of the crust was so very important if you didn't want trouble holding it. You didn't want to go and drop your pasty in the muck, did you? (for further information, see Hen & Cock Pasties)

The problem with the Croust Beetle was that the little bugger bored into the crust and honeycombed it so much, that when you picked up your pasty, it was so bored-out that it fell to pieces, usually in the muck, and you usually couldn't pick'n up again. So, you went hungry. Not a nice story but there it is.

I thought I should tell you that just in case you find a beetle in your crust - they are a notifiable pest and you should tell it to DEFRA (Plant Health Section). Information about pest risk management by DEFRA can be found HERE. The beetle looks very like the common woodworm beetle and is easily mistaken for it except that the croust beetle has big red eyes.  It is a close relative of Chrysophtharta bimaculata (Tasmanian eucalyptus leaf beetle) and information about that pest can be found HERE.

Information about Endopterygoia adipatophagus (Turkish Croust Beetle) is not given to the public.

The finding of beetles have to be reported urgently to DEFRA's Plant Health Section - Pasty Tree Health Unit (PTHU) or to their covert section (CIA - Crust Investigation Agency) at the CSL (Central Science Laboratory), because of the economic implications to the nation.  This should be done with great care because nobody wants to cause panic, but there could be another pasty famine

Croust beetle
Note large red eyes
Woodworm beetle
Note absence of large red eyes
Turkish Croust Beetle
Endopterygota adipatophagus )
Woodworm or Common Furniture Beetle
(Aanobium punctatum)


The beetle is believed to have been imported by troops returning from the Crimean War (1854-1856) after their contact with the Turks, hence the little bugger's name - the Turkish Croust Beetle, also known as 'you little turk' (hence the saying, in case you ever did wonder). You should always keep a weather eye open for the croust beetle when eating a pasty and you should tell this to your friends, too.

If you find a beetle then you may have to be kept in quarantine for some weeks to see if they have cross-infected you. The treatment, if they have infected you, is unspeakable and I cannot write it here.  Luckily, Cornish, and especially West Penwith, pasties are now resistant to croust beetle and I tell 'ee, we d'eat them merrily!

If the truth be told, they do occur only once in a 'blue moon', speaking of which, I will show you some pictures taken recently of a blue moon!

Lunar eclipse (total) - 3rd March 2007

Blue moon 9.56 pm Blue moon 10.03 pm Blue moon 10.017 pm
9.56 pm
10.03 pm
10.17 pm
Blue moon 10.026 pm Blue moon 10.053 pm Blue moon 10.58
10.26 pm

10.53 pm

10.58 pm
- it hardly looks blue, to me
- more like black ......

So, you see, once in a blue moon does happen!

And so, too, do the bleddy croust beetle.


Footnote - On the importance of the pasty's crust .....

This short extract is quoted verbatim from A short history of ... Cornish pasties | Food monthly | The Observer, written by Eric Shackle, 21 April 2001:

'The miners carried their pasties to work in a tin bucket which they heated by burning a candle underneath. They threw away the oggies' thick, wide pastry edges after eating the rest of their meal, to avoid being poisoned by tin or copper dust from their fingers.'

From this, it be obvious that 'ee didn't want any of that 'evvy-metal poisoning, did 'ee? The crust was bleddy important, at least to the miners and their families.

It was even more important later on in avoiding the arsenic that was produced when the tin ore was roasted in a calciner with the view of extracting that poisonous 'metal'. This was later in the tin industry when the tin itself became less profitable. You certainly didn't want arsenic with your pasty!

AND - from .....

'Tradition claims that the pasty was originally made as lunch ('croust' or 'crib' in the Cornish language) for Cornish miners who were unable to return to the surface to eat. The story goes that, covered in dirt from head to foot (including some arsenic often found with tin), they could hold the pasty by the folded crust and eat the rest of the pasty without touching it, discarding the dirty pastry. The pastry they threw away was supposed to appease the knockers, capricious spirits in the mines who might otherwise lead miners into danger ......'

You don't want to go having arsenic with your pasties, do you? So, make bleddy sure your pasty has a proper crust .....

There are the facts, brought to you by The Cornish Pasty.


Celtic spiral animation