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The Cornish Pasty

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Old cookery notes
Pastry coffyns

From Stefan's Florilegium

Period meat pies - Recipes

Quote .....

Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 01:45:22 -0800

From: "Anne-Marie Rousseau"

Subject: Re: SC - Pasties in Period?

"The concept of food wrapped in dough is extremely medieval. Every medieval source I've looked at has something that fits this description. I've sweet ones, like the Rapyes one that was posted earlier, and savory ones like the chicks in pastry from le Menagier or the 12th century Northern European source (mmm...pastellum...chicken wrapped in bacon and fresh sage leaves then baked in dough...). There's mushroom pasties from le Menagier, and rissoles (fried dough units filled with fruit and nuts and sometimes fish) .....

Of course, we all know about food being cooked in "coffyns", ie dishes made of dough (sometimes edible, sometimes not). 

In the medieval French, I am told that "pastez" can be pie or a small tart or even just "pastry", so I feel comfortable making them whatever size I need at the time. 

So I'd say yes, if you mean "pasty" as a small handheld food unit wrapped in dough, they're period. Of course, if you mean a small handheld food unit filled with a mixture of meat and vegetables, as in Cornish pasty, that's another thing altogether."


From: - Huff paste

Huff paste was a cooking technique involved making a stiff pie shell or coffyn using a mixture of flour, suet, and boiling water. The pastry when cooked created a tough protective layer around the food inside. When cooked, the pastry would be discarded as it was virtually inedible, However the shell became soaked with the meat juices and was often eaten by house servants after the meal had concluded.

Its main purpose being simply to create a solid container for the pie’s ingredients. The flour itself was stronger than normal flour, often made from coarsely ground rye, and suet, which was mixed with hot water to create an early form of hot-water crust pastry. Clean water was not always available and therefore people’s hands were often dirty which may have been a reason why the pastry cases were thrown away.

Huff paste could be moulded into a variety of shapes, called 'coffyns' or 'coffers', similar to a Cornish pasty. Another benefit of these early pies was that meat could be preserved for several months and the food contained within was protected from contamination. It also allowed food to be preserved so that country dwellers could sent it over long distances as gifts to their friends in other towns or other areas.

Occasionally shells of huff paste were baked empty, or "blind". After baking, the pastry was brushed with egg yolk to give it a golden color. Later, the shell was then filled with a mixture of meat and spices and then baked.

See also

This article contains material licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article - Huff paste

From: Daily Telegraph

Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival: leg of lamb baked in hay and a huff paste recipe
By Rose Prince
Published: 03 Sep 2009

Quotes .....

"For this recipe, Oetzman was inspired by the old method of wrapping something protective around food, to prevent burning or drying out. Once cooked, the lamb inside is unusually juicy and aromatic. The huff paste looks wonderful but it is not edible. ...... "

"Before roasting, roll out the pastry to about 40 x 60cm, and about 1cm thick. Lay half of the pastry over a large baking-tray. Place a flattened layer of soaked and squeezed-out hay on the dough, leaving at least 5cm around the edges in order to crimp the pastry together. Scatter over all the herbs. Brush the margins of the dough with a little water. ..... "

"Follow with the pastry, trying to leave the leg bone of the lamb protruding – this will allow heat to penetrate quickly into the centre of the joint along its length. It should look like a giant Cornish pasty, with the bone sticking out of one corner. Pinch, roll and crimp the edge of the dough, then brush with egg and leave to rest for about an hour. Bake for about ..... ..... ...... Leave to rest for 30 minutes after cooking, then crack open the crust and serve on a large plate with boiled carrots and potatoes and mushy courgettes and garlic."



See also: - How do you make huff paste?

Once again The Cornish Pasty brings you the facts .....


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