Indoors and Bored, Are Ye?

| November 14, 2020

Things that climate warming will do, starting with “kill off great tits”. If this doesn’t make you snort with laughter, nothing will.

And at this link, click on the left column for the blurb from the source in the righthand column.

And remember, Thanksgiving Day is the LAST week of the month, and apparently, we may be going back into lockdown or something equally panicky, so stock your pantry and freezer accordingly. You can freeze flour to keep it fresh, but get the size 5 lbs or less if you decide to do that.

Now, I have a real, downhome treat for all of you who like to cook. It comes from my Cornish past, and is as close to portable food as you can get. Cornish miners (some of the best hardrock miners in the world) took these to the mines with them and put them on the steam engines to heat them up. Yes, those are two grown men fighting over who gets the beef pasty. Hat tip to the Cornish Pasty Association for the photo. They have annual competitions to find out who makes the best pasty.

The pasty (pronounced “pass-tee”) is a purely Cornish invention. It’s Cornwall’s gift to the world of food, from Cornish housewives who had to use whatever was available for food for the family, and for the men who mined the copper and other metals until the mines shut down.

There’s also a dessert called figgy hobbin that will make you wish for more, but that’s for another day.

The coal mines were up in Wales. The copper mines were down in Cornwall.

The Welsh and the Cornish split off from each other long ago, but they have essentially the same origins. The split started with Rome’s invasion of the British Isles and went from there. Welsh is still a living language and Cornish, while it went out of style a while back, is reviving itself.

The following recipe is provided, most appropriately, by King Arthur Flour. If the legend is even vaguely accurate, Arthur came from Cornwall and had competition from the Welsh. I suggest making a bunch of these and putting a good movie into the appropriate video player.

If you use a recipe from a Cornish cookbook, you may find that it refers to swedes, which are turnips, or yellow swedes, which we call rutabagas. Your choice, but turnips do add considerable flavor to the mix. The Cornish cooks recommend skirt steak cut a minimum of one inch thick. If you like these (and I do) and want to make them ahead, make a batch and freeze them without cooking them. The pasty shell may be a bit soggy, but the food is good. And anyway, they’re better when they are freshly made.

Yes, this will make your mouth and tummy happy. Here you go:



  • 3 cups (361g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) lard, (traditional), 8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature, or 1/2 cup (92g) vegetable shortening
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons (43g to 71g) water
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar

Traditional miner’s filling

  • 3/4 pound (340g) cubed or diced lean beef (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup (113g) diced rutabagas, parsnips, or turnips
  • 1/2 cup (64g) diced onion
  • 1 cup (227g) peeled, diced baking potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • salt and pepper to taste

Egg wash

  • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Note: the Cornish cooks prefer what they call a “strong” flour, which would be bread flour, because it has a higher protein level than the non-bread flours.


  1. For the pastry: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Cut the fat into small pieces and distribute evenly over the flour. Cut the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the water and vinegar. Drizzle this over the flour mixture while tossing everything together with a fork.
  3. Gather the dough together (a dough scraper is ideal for this), folding it over on itself until it becomes cohesive. Sprinkle any dry or crumbly bits with water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Divide into six pieces, shape them into discs, wrap and chill while you prepare the filling
  4. For the filling: Stir all of the ingredients together in a large bowl (uncooked; they’ll cook in the oven).
  5. To assemble and bake: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
  6. Remove the wrapped pastry from the refrigerator and roll each piece into an 8″ circle. Place 1/2 cup of the filling in the center of each circle. Brush the edge of the circle with water, and bring two opposite sides up and over the filling to pinch together over the filling. Flute the seam as you would a piecrust, so it looks like the back of a dinosaur. turn up the ends a bit to look a little like devil’s horns.
  7. Cut a design (or initials) into one of the sides of the pasties to vent the steam. Place, fluted edges up, on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg wash.
  8. Bake at 400°F for the first 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for a further 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm, or chill to reheat later.
  9. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Tips from our Bakers

  • As a result of the kneading, you will develop the gluten somewhat, usually a “no-no” in making pastry. In this case, because these are hand-held pastries, you want a dough that will hold together.
  • For two-bite pasties, roll dough out into ten 3 1/2″ circles. Note that the smaller pasties will cook more quickly.


Category: "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", Cooking, Economy

Comments (8)

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  1. Skyjumper says:

    Whenever I make it up to the Michigan UP (up dere in the Yooper land wit da turdy point buck), if I’m near St. Ignace, I have a favorite pasties stop.

    Lehto’s Pasties shop is located in St. Ignace on Hwy.2 and has been in business since 1947. It was started by a WWII vet and is still family owned and operated. They are awesome!!

    Thanks for putting the “pastie bug” in my ear,
    Ex-PH2. Now I have a hankering for them, you rascal. (smile)

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Oh, I did NOT know about that place! My pleasure that it stirred your memories, Skyjumper.

      I can still get the pasties up in Mineral Point, WI, but now you’ve given me another destination.

      Thank you! There is still hope in the world!

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I may just order some from Lehto’s since they ship them frozen. From their door to my freezer, and I will be a happy, happy girl.

    • Wireman611 says:

      Yup, ya gotta go to da UP and listen to da Yoopers while ya do it!

  2. Berliner says:

    Like a supersized empanada. I prefer mine with ground beef or chicken filling.

    One business I visited when I spent last February in Philippines made theirs with a croissant like flaky crust. I’m going back for more once COVID is over.
    I just checked, although it’s their rainy season, it’s 79 degrees at 5 am there (Dauin, Philippines).

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Or maybe like a calzone with root veggies? Or a Runza like they make in Nebraska? Something different for us deep fried Gun Bunnies. Usually have our turnips chopped up with the greens and boiled with a nice ham hock floating in there. And a skillet of buttered buttermilk cornbread. I have had these pastys on one of my way out west trips. They were different, but quite tasty.

      The best news on all of this is we now have set the precedent of a Saturday Menu Choice, from your Magical Miracle Kitchen. Mondays, Thursdays, and now Saturdays. Good spread, we look forward to seeing the figgy hobbin next week.

      Gravity will kill off a great set of tits faster than globull warming. That’s why I prefer about a 34 B Cup size. Big enough to have and keep a nice form. Globull warming will be gone soon as the Harris administration has Hunter Biden to close out the selling of America to the Chinese Communists, the cars are all shut down, along with the factories, and the green energy Soylent Green Factories come on line. Resistance is futile. You will become assimilated into rations for the masses.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I think there are a thousand ways to make these choice items, and they are all good.

  3. OWB says:

    Heard somewhere that the womin folk packing pasties for their miner hubbies eventually started loading up one end with the dregs from the evening meal and put a little fruit or something in the other end so the min folk had both a savory and a sweet at work.