The Cornish Pasty
The Cornish Pasty happened upon an old book in Hayle this summer (Sept. 2010) that says in its Preface that it is "the first printed CORNISH RECIPE BOOK".
The book belonged to Father-in-law and it was apparently his favourite book, it is well-used and the covers are missing: the first page is the Preface .....
"The first printed CORNISH RECIPE BOOK"
I have looked in second-hand bookshops and local libraries for old Cornish cookery books but this is the first I have found. From references on the internet, I have deduced that this must be Cornish Recipes, Ancient & Modern, Edith Martin, Truro, 1929 - an original 1st edition! It is very well worn. It is a publication of the Cornwall Federation of Womens' Institutes.
The section about pasties begins on page 27. The instructions for making a basic pasty are simple, with no surprises. What is surprising is the variety of fifteen recipes, all coming from Cornish ladies! They are .....
Apple pasty - apple and brown sugar, with blackberries in Summer (apple, used in the Cornish Miners' Pasty, after Mother!)
Broccolli pasty - boil broccolli until nearly cooked, add salt
Date pasty - stone the dates (tried in the Cornish Miners' Pasty, after Mother!)
Eggy pasty - diced bacon, parsley and one or two eggs
Herby pasty - parsley, bits*, early shallots,
half-quantity of spinach, slices of chopped bacon and an egg
well-beaten. There is a boiling watertreatment for some ingredients.
*Bits - this might be Poor Man's Pepper i.e. cress to spice up the otherwise-bland mixture. Alternatively, an Australian plant established in Cornwall was the mountain pepperbush (Tasmannia lanceolata), a plant with peppery-flavoured leaves that became known as the ‘Cornish pepperleaf,’ and was a flavoursome part of Cornish cuisine.
Jam pasty - smaller pasties, made with any sort of jam
Mackerel pasty - one or two cleaned and boiled. Then remove skin and bones. Fill with washed parsley, pepper and salt.
Meat & potato pasty - no swede
Parsley pasty - with lamb or mutton
Pork pasty - flavoured with onion sage or thyme
Rabbity pasty - using rabbit as the meat
Rice pasty - rice cooked in milk, sweetened and mixed with an egg
Star-gazing pasties - you need to read the book for this one, its fashioned somewhat after starry-gazy pie.
Turnip pasty - turnip and potatoes or sometimes all turnip. This could be the tiddy-oggy of poor times, when no meat was available?
The intriguing thing about this 91-year old book, with its fifteen recipes for Cornish pasties, is that there is no recipe for a pasty containing meat, potato and swede - because 'swede' isn't a Cornish word, 'tis tunip! Approximately 68 million of these pasties are made commercially in Cornwall each year and it is this recipe that is universally accepted as being THE traditional Cornish pasty.