I am lucky to have in-laws that live down in Cornwall which means a couple of times a year we pack the car up and trundle on down the motorway (hoping the traffic won’t be too bad) to a tiny little hamlet where all that can be found is a great local pub and a post office.
Whilst we’re down there we don’t do too much beyond take in the local towns with some nice walks and put our feet up with a good book and catch up in the evenings with a goblet of wine (if Will’s dad is serving). It’s just what you need and a lovely escape from our usual day-to-day lives.
It goes without saying, if we’re down in Cornwall it would be criminal not to visit a local bakery by the sea and purchase a traditional Cornish pasty. We normally visit Cornwall at Christmas time so a scorching hot Cornish pasty is just what you need against the bracing cold wind coming off the sea. It’s that perfect treat that you can hold with fingerless gloves on and the heat from the pastry seeps slowly out warming up your hands. The challenge of course is that it just smells so good that you want to dive in with a massive bite resulting in you burning the top of your mouth. Patience is definitely required and if you manage to go for a few nibbles of the pastry allowing some of the heat to escape, you’ll then enjoy the rich beef and potato filling even more.
We haven’t had the chance to make it down to Cornwall this summer (although we will be catching up in the Isle of Wight in a few weeks time) and therefore it seemed a shame to miss out on our bi-annual pasty.
Even with the warm weather we’re still enjoying, I thought I could get away with making a summer version of a Cornish pasty and set to work this weekend.
To me mint is a herb that delivers on freshness and has the advantage of being very adaptable as it can be enjoyed simply tossed with strawberries and of course it is the star of the show in a Pimms. It has that summer vibe that works so well with peas and bacon too.
These ingredients made the base of my pasty and whilst the pasty was incredibly filling (might have been due to the size I decided to make!) the ingredients were also surprisingly light and complemented each other so well.
The mascarpone and pecorino bound all the ingredients together and the pastry of course kept everything in order in buttery heaven.
The noise that comes as you break through the golden pastry is a joy to your ears and the sight of the filling oozing out on to your plate is something to behold.
Whilst Cornwall of course makes the best Cornish pasties around, I think this comes in a close second.
Hubbie was a happy man.
Bacon, Pea and Mint Summer Pasty
200g smoked lardons
100g smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces
250g frozen peas
50g pecorino cheese
2 medium eggs
Handful of chopped mint leaves
375g pack puff pastry
Plain flour for rolling
Heat oven to 200°C.
Put the lardons and chopped bacon in to a large frying pan, cook until crisp, then drain on kitchen paper.
Cook peas in boiling water, drain and leave to cool.
When the bacon and peas have cooled, combine in a large bowl and mash lightly to crush the peas and break up the bacon a little.
Stir in the mascarpone, 1 egg, pecorino followed by the mint and then season with black pepper.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a 20p coin.
Depending on the size of pasty you would like, you can either cut out circles using a 12cm cutter to make picnic size ones, or a larger cutter to make man-size ones! I made two man-size and 2 picnic sizes ones from my ingredients.
Spoon the filling into the centre of each, brush the edges with beaten egg and pinch the pastry together on one side to seal.
Brush the tops with more egg.
Place the pasties on two floured baking sheets and bake for 25-30 minutes at which point the pastry should be a golden brown.
Leave to cool a little (to prevent burning the top of your mouth!) and then enjoy or chill until ready to serve.