A pasty is a simple, hand-held pie that is among the quintessential street foods of the UK, almost equal to kebabs and fish and chips.
A particular type of pasty, the Cornish pasty, has Protected Status. This means that only pasties made in Cornwall can be called a Cornish pasty. It’s also has a distinctive D shape and particular filling requirements. Having been a vegetarian for most of my adult life, I haven’t ever tried a traditional Cornish pasty. However, I have bought numerous vegetarian pasties over the years.
My favourite way to eat a pasty is served with a dollop of mashed potatoes and gravy. However, this lentil pasty is delicious all on its own. Warm and filling, it’s the perfect winter comfort food. It’s also ideal for road trips, which is why I made it last weekend, ahead of a trip to the mountains in search of snow.
I’m not particularly skilled at pastry dough, so I can’t offer any advice around using ice-cold water or a particular mix of butter and shortening. Instead, I typically turn to my favourite cookbook for a reliable recipe.
If you don’t already happen to have a favourite pastry recipe, here are a few suggestions:
- A savoury pie crust made with butter and shortening by Add a Pinch.
- A gluten-free pie crust by Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.
- Buy a pie crust from the freezer section of the grocery store.
A pasty can be made with any thickened stew. However, this lentil filling is particularly perfect. It tastes just like I bought it off of a street vendor in London.
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 1/2 cup of dried red lentils
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 potato, finely diced
- 2 tsp of bullion powder
- 1 tsp of dried oregano
- 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese
- 1/4 tsp salt, to taste
- Precook the lentils by boiling the lentils in 1 1/2 cups of water. The lentils will cook down to mush, so you won’t be able to drain off any excess water. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cook red lentils.
- Meanwhile, finely dice the vegetables. As long as the vegetables are small enough, they don’t need to be precooked.
- Once the lentils are cooked stir in the vegetables, oregano, cheese and bullion powder. Add the salt, taste, and add more salt if needed.
- Form the pastry either in a pie plate, or the half-moon shape of a Cornish pasty. You can make a few small individual pasties, or one large one.
- Make a few incisions on the top of the pasty to allow steam to escape.
- Brush the top of the pasty with 1 tbsp of milk.
- Bake at 400 C for 30 min for individual pasties or 45 minutes for one big pasty. It’s done when the filling is bubbling and the pastry is browned.