Recipe: Smoked Haddock, Celeriac, Leek and Bacon Cornish Pasty

The Cornish pasty. One of life’s greatest pleasures and one of the first things Gemma seeks out when she arrives back in Cornwall. The pasty was originally created to be a self-contained lunch for Cornish miners, each one had the miner initials into the pastry and the crimping acted as a handle. Now the crimped handle is one of the best parts, but back then the miner hands were covered in arsenic so they needed a disposable handle. Not that tasty sounding.

The Cornish pride themselves on their pasties and every person has their favourite. For Gemma it’s got to be Malcolm Barnecutt’s – if you head down to Cornwall you have to try their pasties. Nothing beats them (her London freezer is currently filled with pasties from her last trip home).

Drooling aside we wanted to find a way to give a Gills twist to the classic Cornish pasty and came up with the below recipe. The celeriac and bacon are a match made in heaven for the smoked haddock, and when wrapped up in the crispy pastry it’s a winner.

We have used shortcrust pastry for ease, but the Cornish Pasty Association (yes it’s a serious business for us Cornish folk) have a recipe for pastry if you want to go the extra mile. They also have a step by step guide for getting the perfect crimp (something we could do with some practice on!).

This recipe makes 12 medium pasties, but you can obviously halve the quantities if you don’t want that many! We served it alongside our homemade aioli, using some truffle oil and removing the garlic. Yeah it’s fancy but it tastes damn good.

Gills - pasty filling
The pasty filling

Ingredients (makes 12 medium sized pasties):

  • 2 x 500g packs of short crust pastry
  • 1 small celeriac
  • 6 rashers of smoked bacon
  • 2 leeks
  • 250g smoked haddock
  • 1 egg (to wash the pastry)

Gills - haddock pasty

Method:

  1. Start off by taking out the pastry from the fridge for 15 minutes so you can work with it.
  2. Peel the celeriac and chop into fine pieces (about 1cm squares) and add to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Slice the leek into thin rounds and add to the mixing bowl.
  4. Dice the smoked bacon and add to the bowl.
  5. Finally, chop the smoked haddock into chunks and add to the mixture. Season with lots of pepper and a little salt (bear in mind the mixture already has the bacon). Mix well.
  6. Set the mixture to one side whilst you work on the pastry.
  7. Divide each pastry block into six.
  8. Roll out to around the depth of a pound coin. Use a small bowl as your template by placing on top of the pastry and tracing around with a knife. Fill the circle with a couple spoonfuls of the mixture, and pull half over to get a kind of half moon.
  9. Press the layers together to seal the pastry.
  10. Starting at one end gather the pastry with your forefinger and thumb, pulling into the pasty as you go (worth checking out the Cornish Pasty Association’s step by step images to help you if you are stuck).
  11. Repeat until you have used up all of the mixture and the pastry.
  12. Fork the top of each one so that the steam has somewhere to escape.
  13. Preheat the oven to 200C, with a greased baking tray inside. Once the tray is piping hot add the pasties and quickly egg wash the top of all of the pasties.
  14. Leave to bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
  15. Cool for 10 minutes until serving to your guests.

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