Yield: 8 servings
The below are from CORNISH RECIPES, ANCIENT AND MODERN, a pamphlet cookbook issued by the Cornwall Federation of Women's Institutes.
(The copy I have is dated 1959: the first edition was published in April 1929: this edition is the 20th.) MEAT AND POTATO PASTY
Always use fresh steak, potatoes cut small, salt and pepper, flavored with onion.
Use fleshy part of rabbit cut the same as meat, fairly small.
Turnips and potatoes, sometimes all turnip with a lump of butter or cream.
Or far bacon may be used.
Allow one to two mackerel to each pasty, and clean and boil them in the usual way. Then remove skin and bones, and lay on pastry: fill up with washed parsley, and add pepper and salt.
Prepare pastry as for ordinary pasty. Well wash equal quantities of parsley, bits [an unidentifiable local herb found only in North Cornwall], shallots, half quantity spinach, prepare some slices of bacon cut into small pieces and an egg well beaten. Pour boiling water over the parsley, bits and spinach that have been cut into small portions, and let stand for half an hour, well squeeze all moisture out. Put on pastry with the shallots cut finely and the bacon, pinch up the edges of pasty allowing a small portion left open for the egg to be added, finish pinching and bake.
[A variant on another famous Cornish dish, "Stargazy Pie", in which the fish heads look out at you from under the pie crust, around the edges of the pie.]
"Mawther used to get a herring, clean 'un, and put same stuffin' as what yow do have in mabiers (chicken); sew 'un up with niddle and cotton, put 'en in some daugh made of suet and flour; pinch the daugh up in the middle and lave the heid sticking out one end, and tail t'other. They was some nice pasties, too, cooked in a fringle fire with crock and brandis and old furzy tobs." Other variants also mentioned (essentially, just cut the ingredients up and put them in the pasty): apple with cinnamon and brown sugar (and sometimes blackberries as well): broccoli; chicken; dates; jam; pork; rice; parsley and lamb.
The cookbook also notes: "It is said that the Devil has never crossed the Tamar into Cornwall, on account of the well-known habit of Cornishwomen of putting everything they met into a pasty, and he was not sufficiently courageous to risk such a fate." And they quote the well-known poem which describes the basic pasty structure: "Pastry rolled out like a plate, Piled with 'turmut, tates, and mate', Doubled up and baked like fate, That's a 'Cornish Pasty'."